Tom Odell’s stress antidote

How the singer-songwriter stays sane on the road

Tom Odell’s piano-driven melodies stand out in today’s sea of synth beats and superficial lyrics. The 27-year-old first broke out in 2010 with “Another Love” and subsequently became a star in his native UK, opening up for the likes of Billy Joel and The Rolling Stones. Ahead of his third album Jubilee Road (out October 12th), Furthermore caught up with Odell to discuss what inspires him, how meditation grounds him, and the way he channels his feelings into his songs. Read more below and check out his travel and wellness essentials here.

Many people travel to find inspiration but you wrote your new album while at home. Why?

For so many years, I lived out of a suitcase and was never in one place for more than a couple days. Some have to partake in adventure, but there just came a time when I wanted to stay home for a bit. I discovered that comfort of putting the key in the door and feeling like you’re entering your own little world. I had so much inspiration right on my doorstep.

How do you stay sane when you’re on the road?

I like to read a lot, so I’ll pick out some books before I head out on tour. I like to jog, do yoga, and meditate. I started doing transcendental meditation about two years ago.

How does incorporating meditation impact your daily life?

It has a massive, positive effect. I do it once or twice a day. It’s perfect for someone with my lifestyle, constantly traveling and in studios. It’s an antidote to all of that; it gives me a calm mind. I feel very lucky that I’ve found meditation.

Your single “If You Wanna Love Somebody” is a raw track about love. How do you channel your feelings into lyrics?

I don’t know if it’s conscious, but I’m searching for the truest thing I can say. It’s quite instinctual. It’s always a weird process for me and each song is different. For “If You Wanna Love Somebody,” I wrote a few pages of verses, which is quite common. I’ll write more lyrics than I’ll use. Then I’ll go through singing them and try to feel which ones work.

Who are your musical idols and what have you learned from them?

If I listen to anything by Bruce Springsteen, I feel inspired. The same thing happens with Leonard Cohen, Joan Armatrading, Nina Simone, Tom Petty, and Tom Waits. There’s a richness to their music. If someone were to go through my record collection, you wouldn’t find lighter music. I like heavier songs with meaning, where you can keep peeling back layers and finding more and more and more. Anything marginally superficial, I’m immediately turned off by it. I’ve always felt like a slight outsider with music. I’ve never really followed the tide.