Payton Odom

Tell us your real names, country of birth, date of birth and childhood experience. 

My name’s Payton, I’m an 80s kid, and I was born in and grew up around Dallas, Texas. I think like so many others, most memories I have are tied to music—swelling pipe organs from the Baptist church I went to in elementary school, Clapton’s guitar riffs coming from my Dad’s garage-turned-mancave studio, The Temptations and Linda Ronstadtduring chores, 90s R&B playing from a friend’s tinny car stereo while we bummed around suburbia, ate bad fast food and wondered what it would be like to be able to wake up and leave town whenever we wanted.

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Tell us about your music career, band name, musical background, experience and skills. 

I mean, in most ways I’m just at the start of taking music more seriously, while in others, it’s been a longer time coming. I grew up singing in church choir, musicals, jazz ensembles—local stuff. I had a brief flirtation with American Idol in college—after making it to the televised rounds, the judges said I was “too Disney” and passed. At the time, of course I was devastated, despite my friend’s attempts to try and trace some silver lining, but looking back, how hilariously humbling. I was over trying, not sure of my style and too content to sing others’ stories. After college, I went through your standard young-adult identity crisis, ponied up for guitar and piano lessons, and finally turned to writing lyrics to make sense of what I felt so acutely but could never say in conversation.

Over the next couple years, I mainly performed in coffee shops singing Adele covers and pop mashups, occasionally sneaking in to open mic nights or songwriter feedback sessions with my own music, exploring a sound that was darker and less certain than I’d ever convey in other performances, all nerves and shallow breaths as I strummed out my own stuff for the first time and felt that rush of vulnerability and connection.

That said, I was content to keep music in creative-outlet territory, comfortable with telling others that I’d record “someday” (everyone’s favorite day). I moved abroad to Mexico City for work, spent a lot of time on buses and pretending to know what was being said to me, went through a tough heartbreak, and had little else but a nylon-string classical guitar I picked up at a market and my iPhone voice memos to hold the fallout and disorientation. 

I came back stateside with some material that I really believed in and started to work my old open mic nights with more structure, but shortly after came down with what I thought was laryngitis that never quite left. I went through a year of doctor’s visit and exams, medicines, vocal rest, surgery and recovery to get back to singing condition, haunted the whole way that I let the line fall slack on creating something cohesive with my music. 

During my “quiet year”, as I call it, I made the move from Dallas to Brooklyn and started putting the pieces together for a debut effort after I got the all-clear to sing again, and now I’m beyond stoked to start sharing!

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Tell us about your genre, concept and idea behind your music video and the song. 

I’d describe my songs as singer-songwriter at the core, with heavy overlays of a tapestry of sounds I’ve been influenced by and am exploring: modern R&B, future soul, jazz. I wrote ‘At My Door’ while rumbling underneath the East River on my morning train ride from Brooklyn to Manhattan, which is always a bit of a lucid dream. For me, the song is about knowing how to stay safe by staying alone, and wondering about whether the push-pull of a relationship will ever settle.

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Tell us everything that we need to know about you as a musician and the ups and downs you have faced in the music business. 

I love a good tight rhyme and an unexpected turn of phrase. I get stage fright. I lost my voice, and then got it back. I can almost pull off that riff Usher does in the second verse of ‘Superstar’.  

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Tell us about other members of your band, music producer, crew or music video director, how the song was recorded and how the music video was shot. 

Being in Brooklyn, you almost have to try to avoid creative community—there’s such a critical mass of people making quality stuff here. I was incredibly fortunate to get linked up through a mutual friend with producer Jeremy McDonald, who was gracious enough to grab a beer with me and listen to my thirty-second voice memos. We got to talking about our current playlists and inspirations, and from the get-go I could tell there was a common palette. Fast forward a couple of weeks and we’re in a South Brooklyn brownstone with a band digging in. It was such a privilege to be able to collaborate with him on the EP—he mellowed out my tendency to overdo it vocally, looked out for the pocket in each track and really brought these songs to life. 

‘At My Door’ was the last song written for the EP and made its way from a more straightforward ballad at the beginning of the process into a mid-tempo synth-y groove at the end. I think I had this feeling in some form with every track, but it was especially strong on ‘At My Door’—the intuition that a song has arrived, the sense that it could never have been anything else than what you’re hearing. It was such a ride putting it together, and I hope that others dig the vibe, too.

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Tell us how long you have been in the music industry, your experience and your future goal. 

I’m such a novice—as I mentioned above, I’ve been on the margins of music in a professional sense for most of my life and am now stepping in closer, just looking forward to sharing this track and the rest of the EP, playing some shows around New York, continuing to explore my sound and seeing where it goes!

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Tell us what inspires you to write, compose and sing. 

Just observing the contours of everyday life and relationships, looking inward, making melody from the open questions and the unfinished stories.

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Tell us the secret behind making a hit song. 

I could not be less qualified to answer this—no idea about a hit song, but I love listening to songs that don’t hide behind generalities. You can keep your well-worn phrases, give me the question that rushes in while you’re waiting in line at the movies—that’s where the good stuff is.

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Tell us the message you will like to pass to your fans out there. 

Love you, Mom!

Honestly, every kind word, repost and listen means the world. To know that there’s connection on the other side of really pouring myself into something that’s been so personal is solid gold. 

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Tell the kind of advice you will give to an upcoming artist. 

Don’t wait. Write all the time. Learn your scales. Don’t wait.

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Elaborate on your music careers, albums, songs, tours, recognition or awards you might have obtained. 

Still getting there on the ‘Awards, Tours, and Recognition’ front. You know I love a good build-up.

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Tell us how you write your lyrics, compose, sing and record in the studio. 

I have a monthly lyrics catch-all note on my iPhone that I am constantly jotting in—crammed in the subway, in between sets at the gym, waiting for a drink in a too-loud bar in SoHo. Then, I crop out large blocks of time to just lurk around my apartment until I’ve done enough chores and thought enough thoughts to feel that fleeting balance of boredom and curiosity, which is when I sit down with my guitar or at my piano, press record and just noodle. Most things from those stream-of-consciousness sessions never see life beyond my bedroom, but occasionally, I catch a wave and write frantically, as though I’m hearing the lyrics read in double time from the next room, faint and fast. Once the lyrics, melody and structure are mostly there, I try to shift from creating to crafting, really focusing on whether the song pulls its weight and how to carve a space for it. For this EP, I would show Jeremy the acoustic cut, we’d bring in musicians and roam through some references and jams until the pieces would start to fall into place.

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Name five biggest artists that you like. 

Oof. Too many. D’Angelo. Tom Misch. Patty Griffin. Donnie Hathaway. Is it wrong to close it out with Taylor Dayne? Six-year old me lived and died to “Tell It to My Heart”. Whatever, man. She has the range. 

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Name the artists you have collaborated with before in your songs or artists you are willing to collaborate with in the future if you have the chance to do so. 

I fan hard after my favorites; I’d need to get past that to share some studio time with wish-list collaborators: Emily King, Disclosure, Kamasi Washington, RKCB, Jordan Rakei. I always wanted a gospel choir on a track—can you imagine writing a song and getting the Soweto Gospel Choir for the outro? They just reverberate power—sometimes, when the weather’s bad or I just feel discontent, I’ll stream their live albums through the headphones and goose bump my way back to firmer ground.

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Give us the links to your website and your entire social network. 

Website

www.paytonodom.com

 


SoundCloud

www. soundcloud.com/payton-odom 

 


Facebook      

www.fb.me/ paytonodommusic

 


Twitter           

www.twitter.com/_ paytonodom

 

 


Instagram

www. instagram.com/payton_odom

 

 

Apple Music

http://itunes.apple. com/album/id/1320241030

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Give us the links to your various stores for fans to buy your music. 

Amazon
Apple Music
Google Play

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Tell us about your happiest day and saddest day. 

I’m a pretty emotional guy, so each day is a little journey in itself—honestly, treasures in heaven to all my friends and family for bearing with this person-in-progress.

I’d say one of my happiest was graduating college, just looking ridiculous in what had to be a black polyester bed sheet with a goofy cap and tassel, hugging my family and friends. The saddest in my memory are all touched by death—death of a childhood friend, the family dog, a relationship, innocence. Even thinking back to them reminds me of how fortunate I’ve been to have the good days far, far outweigh the bad ones. 

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Tell us how you will spend a million dollars.

Student loans, Mama’s mortgage, plenty to charity, invest the rest. Maybe a one-way ticket for two.

 

Published by

Kolade Olamide

I am a poet , writer, beat maker, chef, songwriter, web designer, music promoter,digital marketer, blogger and director.

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