Here’s something that you probably don’t know about me — I get very defensive when people cover Adele. I subscribe to the belief that it is almost always a bad idea. I can think of only a handful of instances in which I’ve been proven wrong. Kylie Odetta is one of those instances. She took “Someone Like You,” a song that is so beautiful but is usually sung one specific way (exactly like Adele), and made it her own. Not only do I give her mad props for this, but I am so impressed with her vocally.
To balance things out so to speak, something that you might not know about Kylie is that she has one of those voices that would allow her to sing whatever genre she wanted. If she were to send any record label a demo of her singing any genre, they would believe that that genre was what she was meant to sing. I heard her live at The Sutler during a writer’s round, so naturally everything was stripped down. Kylie’s performance was just her and the piano (with the occasional accompaniment of the George Twins). They played a song that they cowrote together called “Stuck on Yellow” and it was both fabulous and witty. Overall, I was just so enamored by her talent. Her vocals reminded me of that of Christina Aguilera, and I would SO turn my chair for Kylie on The Voice.
Kylie had been on my radar since I started this project, but she wasn’t from Nashville, so I never contacted her and her team about setting up an interview. Right after I heard her cover, I messaged her manager. Kylie comes to Nashville a lot and performs around town, so I decided that now was the time to expand my reach. Sometimes things work out perfectly, because by the time I set up this interview, Kylie had just finished her new EP, which will be released early next year.
MusicDash: I know that you’re from South Carolina but you come to Nashville quite a lot. What has been your favorite performance here?
Kylie Odessa: My favorite performance so far was a writers round that I did with Moriah Domby and Eli Rhodes at Belcourt Taps. Moriah, Eli, and I actually met while playing a show in Asheville, NC and so it was really fun to re-connect with them for my first show in Nashville last year,
MusicDash: What drew you to Nashville?
Kylie Odetta: I first came to Nashville to record an EP when I was 13 years old and it was such an eye-opening experience. I had never been in a city that was so focused and centered around music. Since then I have been back many times over the years and I find something new that makes it more welcoming each time. I also know a lot of good friends and fellow musicians who live there so it’s nice to come and write – essentially the amount of things going on musically in this town is what drew me to it,
MusicDash: I know that your first release was in 2014 and you will have another EP released in 2016. How have these processes been different?
Kylie Odetta: I released an album in 2014, an EP in 2015, and now I will be releasing another EP in 2016! Each time I go into the studio to record something new, the process is different. For my first album, “Waiting Game” I was really focused on showing people something that was more true to who I was as an artist and would separate me from the “pop” world. We messed around with a lot of different vibes but everything still had an underlying theme. That followed into the next EP “Breaking Habits” where I went into the studio with an open mind to see where the music might lead me. That allowed for some of the songs to turn out fantastic but not necessarily in a style that I felt able to or comfortable with replicating in a live show. The purpose behind this upcoming EP is to break things down and focus on the piano, vocals, and lyrics. Now there is production behind some of them but it’s much less than in the past and everything has a more organic feel. I was hoping to capture the essence of what I do in a live setting and my heart for these songs.
MusicDash: Tell us a little bit about how you got your start in music!
Kylie Odetta: I began playing piano when I was 6 and I started writing songs when I was 8. the only answer that I have as to how it all came about is definitely God. I STILL don’t know how I am able to write these lyrics and melodies that come out of myself and onto the paper! I recorded my very first EP at age 12 in a family friend’s attic and fro there I went on to play at open mics and my school talent show and the county fair. This life is a journey and I certainly can attest to that – one thing continued to lead to another and my first EP got me to work with the producer for my 2nd EP and first music video at 13 which then allowed me to perform in a showcase where I met my now producer and made even more music. Those songs and the shows I had begun to play around town, getting my name out there, evolved into me getting the opportunity open up for bigger artists when they came in town for shows through my local radio station. And so on and so forth… hat’s the beginning of things I suppose but there’s a million little steps and trials and triumphs that I have gone through throughout the years.
MusicDash: Tell us about your affiliation with BMI.
Kylie Odetta: When it came time to decide which PRO to go with we did our research on them all and talked to a few fellow musicians and then settles on going with BMI! I’ve always been told that to own your publishing is an extremely helpful thing so that is why I created a “publishing company” with BMI.
MusicDash: What is your usual writing process like?
Kylie Odetta: Typically I will be sitting at the piano, practicing, and I will end up coming up with a little riff then following it through writing a song. Other times lyrics will hit me throughout the day and I will joy them down in my notes app on my phone and go back to it. The lyrics, the melody, and piano chords usually all come at the sam time, in the same sitting though.
MusicDash: Favorite spot in Nashville?
Kylie Odetta: I don’t remember the name of the restaurant but there’s this place that has cookie dough egg rolls for dessert and it is quite literally the most amazing bite you’ll ever put in your mouth. [editior’s note — Kylie was talking about Jackson’s Bar & Bistro]
MusicDash: What’s coming up next for you?
Kylie Odetta: I’ve been traveling a lot lately and playing a ton of shows so up next for me is the holidays and spending time with family! I’ll also be focusing on getting all of our ducks in a row with press, shooting a music video for the EP release, finalizing the edits of the songs, an promoting it. It’s set to come out either late January or early February.
You can find Kylie at:
YouTube: Kylie Odetta