Updated: Dec 19, 2022
I'm immensely fortunate to have just had the fantastic experience of working with the brilliant Tom Odell. Tom's just begun touring in support of his lovely new album "Best Day Of My Life" (out 28th October - the title track is out now). This record, and Tom's previous album "Monsters", were co-written/produced with the amazing Laurie Blundell, who I've known for many years (mainly in the completely different musical "universe" of Brazilian samba and choro - Laurie's an incredible pianist and cavaquinho player!).
For this UK tour Tom decided to put together a choir to sing alongside his stunning voice and piano and I was fortunate to be in the right place/right time for Laurie to approach me to do the arrangements for the choir. I sketched out the arrangements over the course of a fairly intense week or so and then pulled into shape in a couple of lovely rehearsal sessions before the tour kicked off at London's Union Chapel last Saturday (22nd October).
Although at first sight adding a live choir might seem a bit unusual, all of Tom's albums right back to Long Way Down (2013) have beautiful multi-layered backing vocals, sometimes adding conventional harmony and backing lines but also often used as effects and enriching the often mesmerising, atmosopheric sound that characterises so much of his music. So, mirroring this we've used the live choir in some unconventional ways as well as providing more traditional "backing vocals"!
The other great opportunity with the choir was to bring out the beautiful, almost hymn-like side of Tom's music. From the first rehearsal with the choir (last Wednesday!) songs like "Heal", "Can't Pretend" and "Streets of Heaven" felt absolutely spine-tingling ...
Coupled with this, some of the venues on this tour (tour dates here) are churches and halls where the choir just sounds - well, perfect!
Finally, all of this wouldn't have come together without the amazing efforts of brilliant choir director Dominic Stichbury. He's assembled an amazing lineup of singers, many of whom are great soloists in their own right, such as the fabulous Ineza KerschKamp, who you can catch in the London Jazz Festival in November.
Thanks Tom, thanks Dominic and all the team, and have a great tour!