Charlotte Harding catches up with Tom Odell ahead of his latest tour.
He may only be 27 but singer Tom Odell’s third album Jubilee Road has been described as ‘career-defining’.
But it seems it nearly didn’t happen.
“At the time I was actually thinking about taking a break from music,” the Chichester born singer reveals.
“I was thinking about stepping back for six months, but then I moved into this house and just felt inspired by the neighbours and the community I was living in and actually wrote the album pretty quickly.”
The fictional Jubilee Road intertwines real life stories of the time Tom spent living in a house in East London.
From the opener Jubilee Road’s scene-setting of the street’s colourful community and the whiskey-shaking gamblers in the local betting shop (Queen Of Diamonds), to the bittersweet celebration of Wedding Day.
“I think it is a more complete album as it is about storytelling,” Tom says.
“The lyrics are inspired by the lives of the friends I made whilst living there. I recorded most the songs in the living room of the house and if I listen back closely, I can still hear the sound of the old man’s television shows coming through the walls from next door, the kids from the house opposite playing football in the street below and the sound of my girlfriend’s footsteps on the wooden floorboards above.
“I don’t live there anymore, my life has changed somewhat, but I will always remember the time fondly.
“I am really proud of the album and so excited about it coming out and people hearing it all.”
Over the summer Tom has been playing a number of festivals testing out new songs on audience members.
The album is out October 12 and the tour starts on the same day in Glasgow and sees Tom play all over the UK from Dublin to Newcastle, Southampton to Manchester and Brighton Centre on October 25.
“I really think hearing the album live is like hearing it in its purest form,” he explains.
“Where you can really experience it and hear it how it should sound.”
As this is his third album when touring Tom admits that it gives him a lot more scope of songs to play than when he started.
“With your debut album it is like 45 to 50 minutes long and you are headlining these sets so you have to elongate them with covers and trying out new songs,” he says.
“Now it is about looking at the set list and putting new songs next to old and seeing if they work.
“I think the band is the best it has ever been, and the show is constantly evolving so we can change set lists if we need to.”
With family still in West Sussex he adds that he tries to come back as often as he can to Chichester, and also tries to explore the places he plays.
“I at least get the day there,” he says.
“But as we are playing places for maybe the third or fourth time I get to tick a few things of my list.”
Tom first hit TV screens in November 2012 when he performed on Later...with Jools Holland. In the following year he was nominated in BBC Sound of 2013 and won the BRITs Critics Choice Award, which has been won by Adele, Florence and the Machine and Rag’n’Bone Man. He debut album Long Way Down was released in June 2013.
In 2014 his version of The Beatles song Real Love was used in the John Lewis Christmas advert, he also won songwriter of the year at the Ivor Novello Awards and his second album Wrong Crowd was released in 2016.
As he is ‘constantly touring’ he enjoys being on the road and seeing familiar faces.
“I recognise people in the crowd,” he smiles.
“It is nice to think I have been a part of their life, maybe they have been to university or got married or are bringing someone new to one of my gigs,
“I feel as if we have grown up together.”
For more information on the album and tour, visit www.tomodell.com