Q&A with Odeal

With the release of 24/48 Odeal continues to solidify himself as one of the U.K. scene's most multi-faceted song writers. The heartfelt track about love and loss sees him plea to a scorned partner to commit to the life he's envisaged for the pair of them. We were lucky enough to grab an interview with the London based, German born artist of Nigerian heritage to get an insight in to his worldwide upbringing that has contributed to a truly continental sound. 

Video: YouTube/Odeal Music

First of all how are you? Coming off your last single More Life you seemed to be in a pretty introspective headspace

I'm good thanks, definitely feel more at ease. The vibe around this time of year isn’t the best but is certainly better than it has been the past couple months with everything going on. I feel like everyone was in the same headspace around the time more life was released.

24/48 feels like a return to a more soul searching r&b sound. As an artist do you sit down and think "I'm going to make an r&b song" or do you just make music and leave the categorisation to the listeners?

I like to leave the categorisation to the listeners, music to me is subjective. I make music based on how I feel at a certain time or place. If I listen back to it and realise its an r&b track I’ve made then that’s probably the genre (subconsciously) I believe expresses the feeling the beat gives me best.

Photo: Carlos Arbe

Is 24/48 based on a real situation you've found yourself in? 

I've been asked this a few times, it's partly personal but it was from a place of thought. I thought about how it’d feel to lose the love and comfort of someone who genuinely makes you the happiest (especially at a time like this where you might be alone ) & translated it into a song. So yeah, it’s partly personal but was more from place of imagination of what it’d be like if the person you loved was to say their done at this particular time of the year. All pride would have to go out the window.

I’d say I’m more of a story teller, every song stems from a personal place but I won’t realise how much the song relates to a certain situation I’ve experienced till later on. I even end up making songs about situations that haven’t even happened yet. Which is funny to me because I then wonder if I’m speaking things into existence or if they’re just stages I was always bound to pass through. I don’t run to the mic with a certain situation in mind though I feel like it limits the creativity. If a certain feeling from the past comes out while I’m recording & sounds good we go with it. 

Your music feels super personal, especially the songs pertaining to romance. Do you talk to partners about the fact they're going to be the subject of a song, and is it difficult being so transparent about your emotions for the world to hear?

An important thing for me is allowing the listeners of my music to know where my head is/has been at so being transparent isn’t a problem for me. The more transparent the better.

As an artist you're super multifaceted, we can see that even from you being featured not only on Spotify's R&B UK playlist, but also the Afro Bashment playlist. What are the pros and cons of working across different sounds?

The main con is some who are new to my sound may try to put me in a box based off a single they’ve just heard & I can’t change that perception till they listen to my whole catalogue of music or till they hear a new single which sounds different. Never saw it as crossing genres till I was asked to categorise my own music and even I found it difficult myself. I always just did what I felt on a beat and let my  influences (from R&B & acrobats to dancehall & hiphop) came into play.
The pro’s about my style of music is that is brings the real music lovers of different demographics together. I like to think I’ve built a community of supporters from different parts of life who have one common interest which is good music which can evoke real (& in some cases surreal) feelings & imaginations. Another thing is that I’m never limited to the type of beats I can use, I’m always ready to experiment.

Homegrown R&B artists traditionally struggle in the U.S. with many opting to try their luck overseas, even though American R&B artists tend to do really well here. Have you ever thought about this and why do you think that is?

 I feel like as artists we can’t just rely on the streaming success and Instagram followers to cary us through our careers. The US are world leaders in music, what ever they do the world hears. Artists are more focused on record sales & performances over there so when they do well over there we’re bound to hear about it here. It seams like it's not as easy for U.K. artists to achieve that level of success but if more U.K. artists took the rest of Europe in consideration, treated these other European countries like home, the US would definitely hear about them more. Another thing is staying original to your sound and continue to improve. There’ll always be a market for you & it’ll always get bigger. I feel as if it’s so easy to get complacent with success in the U.K. that people forget tat there’s so much more the world has to offer. But in order to continue growing  you need to be prepared to take the next steps.

We know you're German born, with Nigerian heritage, now operating out of the U.K. How has each individual culture impacted your approach to making music?

I feel like the different countries I’ve lived in helped me understand the importance of culture and how different people take in music. With that knowledge I’m less likely to limit myself to what/how I create. It's also the memory of my time in these places that’s influenced my sound and made be be able to connect with my supporters from different parts of the world more.


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