A broken heart can splinter into any number of self-destructive paths: alcohol and sex binges, self-loathing, sleeping until 2p.m. If you’re Tom Odell, though, it means writing songs, smashing away at your piano by day, and scouring Brighton, England for local pubs and venues to play in by night. And it worked: Lily Allen discovered and signed him.
Past love experiences, a tiny bedsit flat, a dirty kitchen and generally feeling like shit served as inspiration for his debut EP, Songs From Another Love, released in late 2012. Now 22, Odell has received much acclaim from MTV, BBC, won the 2013 BRIT Awards Critics’ Choice, and opened the Burberry Fall 2013 show, proving he can do just fine on his own, thanks.
Shannon and the Clams: What is your current nerdiest secret? How do you keep it a secret and is it hard? Is the fact that it’s secret make it more addicting and harder to quit? Tom Odell: I do a lot of travelling with all this music I’m doing so I stay in a lot of hotels, and I’ve got this strange obsession with always taking something from the minibar. Even when I’m not thirsty or hungry, I have to take something. I get this rush, and I think it comes from the fact my parents never let me go in there, and now I can...even though it costs me a fortune and I really can’t afford it.
Who is your creepiest most reprehensible or weirdest crush? Why on earth do you like them so much? I probably couldn’t name a single one of his songs, but I definitely do have a touch of the Bieber fever. He just kinda fascinates me, that level of fame. And I think he copes with it all pretty well, considering. I think people are a bit cruel, let’s give Bieber a break, I say.
If you had to have a makeover and you could pick whatever wild secret look you’ve always wanted to wear but didn’t have the guts before, what would it be? Paint us a clear picture. Errrmm could get very ‘90s: Brylcreem hair, *NSYNC vibes.
If you had to be a pet, which kind of animal would you be and what kind of master would you have? Explain why. I would be a lion and my master and I would be in the circus. Then one day, even though I loved him, I would eat him.
If you got sentenced to life in prison, and you got to choose a cellmate out of any high profile criminals from the past ten years, who would your cellie be? Tell us why. I’m not very up to date with my high profile criminals, but would love to share a cell with Phil Spector, because he’s made some of my favorite albums. And maybe we could build a small studio and make music together.
If you found a VHS time machine that let you travel back in time, but only to insert yourself as an extra into the background of an old movie, which movie would it be and which scene and what would you be doing? It has to be a movie that has been released on VHS. That’s how the machine works. My favorite film is Badlands by Terrence Malick. And I would be one of the people that got brutally but insignificantly murdered by the couple.
Photographer: Guy Lowndes at GuyLowndes.com. Stylist: Zoe Costello for Artmixbeauty.com. Groomer: Paul Rizzo for BumbleandBumble.com.