Q&A with Odina
If you are not familiar with the music of Blanca Romeo aka Odina, here is a bit of a warning: her music can hit you with a raw emotional intensity, that is hard to shrug off. You could feel this special kind of intimacy and honesty in each of the songs she has released over the last four years. Now finally her brilliant debut album “What I Never Told You” came out a week ago (listen here) and we are eager to learn more about Odina and her work. She was so kind to answer a few questions, but first listen to “Hey, Hey” from her new album:
Do you remember the moment when you first felt the desire to write music yourself? Is there a song or an artist you could name as an early inspiration?
I was probably 13 or so, I think more than a desire it came like a necessity. My dad listened to a lot of Bruce Springsteen when I was growing up, and I also loved his music so he was probably an early inspiration.
Barcelona is widely considered a great city to live in. What made you move to London? Certainly not the weather.
I was born in Barcelona but I grew up in a smaller city called Tarragona. It’s a lovely place to grow up in, by the sea, and I miss it a lot, but I think I needed a bigger city to live in, and considering a lot of the music I had grown up listening to came from the UK, London seemed like a good place to try and be to do music.
Relocating into a different country is a big step. What was one of the biggest surprises living in London so far?
I have been in London for 5 years now and it still surprises me everyday. I think just discovering new areas of London that have their own little charm, and little local things going on that I had maybe never heard of, is always a good surprise- it’s such a big city, I don’t think I will ever know all of it.
You did a few, very intriguing cover songs. How do you select the music you want to reimagine?
Sometimes, like with the Joy Division cover, it was a decision I took after thinking about it a lot, ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’ was a song that had become very close to my heart, to the point where it felt natural to cover it. Other times, like when I covered a Sugababes song, it was more of an impulsive decision.
Many of your songs shine with a beautiful build: they draw you in softly, but then become orchestral and lead to a different place. When you write a song, do you have the arrangement in your mind from the beginning or does it come later with the production?
I think it depends on the song, but it usually comes later. Maybe when I’m producing it, or maybe when I’m playing a song live, I start feeling a need for certain sections to grow bigger, to have more impact and to enable more of an emotional release.
Intimacy is a trademark of your music. When touring becomes possible again, how do you want your show to look like? A solo set or something bigger?
I would love to perform with my band, I think the best way to present the new album live would be with a band, as after all that’s the sounds of the new record. We started playing some of it live before Covid happened, and it was just the most incredible feeling being able to recreate the record in a live format. I think I will probably also do some solo shows, they can be the most intimate, but I don’t think that intimacy would get lost with my band, in any case, it reinforces it.
Is there any past decade where you would feel at home regarding its music, style, art etc.?
Right now it feels like it would be the 60s.
Thank you, Blanca, for the insight. We love your new album and cannot wait to see your performing is one day live on stage.