Tom Odell talks dating celebs, feeling broody and duetting with Ariana Grande

Hi, Tom! What’s the songwriting process like for you?

Slow! I’ve been working on a song for the past month. Inspiration strikes whenever, so I write stuff in notebooks. But I absolutely love it.

I’m probably less open in my real life than I am in my songwriting to be honest.

Do the best songs come from painful experiences?

It’s certainly true to some extent – look at artists like Amy Winehouse.

The thing that drives me to write music is a slight restlessness, and this feeling that I’m on the outside looking in.

Was winning the Critics’ Choice award at The Brits in 2013 the moment you realised you’d made it?

Not really. Looking back I wish I had felt that. But now I feel like I have a career.

Showbusiness is such a fickle industry, but at least I’ve reached a point where I don’t think it’s all going to end tomorrow.

Have you had to make sacrifices to get here?

Oh yeah, huge ones. I wouldn’t change it but I’m away for eight months of the year, so trying to have a life or start a relationship is a nightmare.

I’m surprised I have any friends left because I go away for so long.

What’s the best thing about what you do?

I adore making music and getting to tour and see all these places. Since the beginning of January I’ve been to 22 countries.

Do you get recognised a lot?

I do if I walk down Oxford Street or get on the Tube, but never in an annoying way.

People tell me they got married to Grow Old With Me, which is lovely.

Are you close to your family?

I am. My sister just had a baby called Albie and I really like being an uncle. It’s different to friends’ babies.

As soon as I picked him up, I felt this insatiable love.

Is it making you broody?

Yeah, I think so. Seeing the joy on my sister’s face is like nothing else.

You were dating Taylor Swift for a while and described the paparazzi attention as terrifying. Would you ever want to be that famous?

I didn’t get into this to be the biggest artist in the world.

I don’t want to be on billboards. I just want to be good.

What’s been your biggest extravagance?

When I got my first album advance I bought an old Mini Cooper for cash. It was racing green and I loved it.

But someone nicked it after a few weeks.

Also I’m such a terrible cook – I literally can’t make anything – so I eat out a lot, but that’s about it.

I don’t really spend a lot and I despise shopping.

What’s the most surprising thing on your Spotify?

I listen to everything. I like Drake, and I love Ariana Grande’s new album. It’s just so good.

Maybe you could do a duet?

I’d jump at the chance, believe me.

  • Tom is supporting Julius Meinl’s Pay With A Poem initiative for World Poetry Day on Thursday.


  • Tom’s sister, Sam, called him during our chat and we all got on FaceTime together.
  • He made his own cuppa (milk, no sugar).
  • Tom was discovered by Lily Allen, who first signed him.

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