‘Please, something is inside and must come out’: Odette’s songwriting is an emotional release

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‘Please, something is inside and must come out’: Odette’s songwriting is an emotional release

Words by Ashlynn Hannah

Calling from the town of Vigonza, Georgia Odette Sallybanks has been lapping up the Italian sun a few days after releasing her newest piece of music into the world.

“I’ve been working on this for so long with my creative partner, Kiah. We’ve worked so hard with nothing fueling us except our desire to create,” Odette tells me.

The first track since her sophomore album Herald, Reverence is as cathartic for the listener as it was for Odette to make. Born out of a long recording session for another song, Odette says she felt the track brewing inside her.

Odette Tour Dates

  • Fri 20 Sep – Brunswick Ballroom, Naarm/Melbourne (Tickets
  • Fri 27 Sep –  The Old Museum, Meanjin/Brisbane (Tickets)
  • Sat 5 Oct – The Great Club, Eora/Sydney (Tickets)

Keep up with the latest music news, features, festivals, interviews and reviews here.

“It was the end of the track. Kiah was knackered,” she explains. “He was like ‘I need to go home’, and I was like ‘No, record right now’. He was like ‘Georgia’, and I was like ‘Please, something is inside and must come out’. We did this one take of the whole thing and the first part of the song is that recording and then it cuts into a different vocal.”

Raised in Sydney’s inner west, Odette has never been someone to let conventional boundaries limit her creativity. The raw and enigmatic emotions tethered to the lyrics of Reverence mark a new era where no feeling is left unturned in her music.

“I was very angry when I wrote it,” she tells me. “I was having a hard time at that point so when I wrote the song it was the moment I remembered how it felt to write something in one go, which I did a lot in my childhood and my adolescence.”

As someone who entered the music industry as a teenager, Odette is no stranger to the fine line between creativity and business. She likened being signed to entering high school where making music slowly became like study, feeling more like work than passion.

Now as an independent artist, it is evident she’s claimed back her passion and is not holding back when it comes to having fun as an artist. She’s fierce but gentle, earnest but unapologetic and absolutely captivating in the music video for Reverence.

In the video, Odette’s dressed in leopard print, sexy lingerie and bright pink high heels. She admits, “My dream is for Jennifer Coolidge to notice me.” While the leopard print is an ode to Coolidge, the creative direction of the video was influenced by the four months Odette spent being the ‘vocalist in residence’ for Gatsby at the Green Light.

“I’m surrounded by beautiful burlesque performers who were constantly taking off their clothes, and I was like, ‘Excuse me, I don’t have the qualifications for this but I’m gonna do it in my own way and have fun with it,’” she says.

“Being around people who are so liberated and just so confident kind of reignited a big spark in my belly and I really wanted to pay homage to that. You know, just shake my tatas.”

The music video has many little meanings through its intricate details which Odette says people will see again. As Odette allows me small intel on the symbolism of some of the visuals, her warm-hearted nature and quick wit radiate through the call. 

When talking about her recent creative process, Odette opens up: “Unfortunately I have been pretty mentally ill for the last hot minute so I kind of lost a bit of connection with myself which I’m only now really just getting back,” she says.

Odette, through social media, in her music and real life always brings the same transparency when it comes to her mental health journey. “I was in hospital the day after we shot Reverence. I was admitted because I was unstable,” Odette tells me.

“Reverence was shot because I was like ‘I just need to feel good. I need to feel joy. Why do I feel so horrid all the time?’ It turns out I had been on the wrong medication so as soon as I came off it, I was like, ‘Oh my God, this is happiness.’ I forgot how this felt. I forgot how joy felt. I forgot how relief felt.”

Odette’s lived experiences merge with her desire to create art, and she has been busy making music that speaks to how she feels. “I have written a ridiculous amount of songs in the last two years. There is definitely an album in the works,” she says.

Nearly a year since her To A Stranger anniversary tour, Odette is eager to get back on the road and play more new tracks – released and unreleased. As much as she is excited to wear outfits and have fun, Odette’s favourite part of performing live is watching the audience relax.

“I just really like to see how everyone connects and it feels like the room becomes one. It’s really special,” she says.

To keep up with Odette, follow her on Instagram