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Interview with singer and songwriter Janet Odani

Janet Odani is a singer/songwriter currently based in Sydney in Australia. As a young girl, she always loved music, wrote her first song at the age of six and she was always keen to be part of school musicals and choirs. Over the years, she has developed her own style of music and she still enjoys singing and songwriting. Her debut album, Transparency, is a rich blend of both inspirational songs and love songs. Following release of her single ‘Significant Mistake’ in October 2016, she was featured in American Pride magazine. We have conducted an interview with her about her second album, Mismatched Planets.

How different is your second music album 'Mismatched Planets' to your debut album?

When I was writing songs for the album Mismatched Planets I realized the focus of most of the songs was on relationships.The songs on this album stem from to a point of indecision at which one can either decide to hold onto a relationship or let go for whatever reason. Majority of the songs on this album take what I can describe as ‘a pendulum swing’ from a ‘should I hold on’ phase to an ‘I’m letting go’ phase and I tried as much as possible to portray this from several points of view in the different songs on the album. ‘Significant Mistake’, ‘Why’ and ‘Scream’ focus on ‘ after effects’ of a relationship. ‘Mismatched Planets’ and ‘Time for Separation’ talk about intentions to discontinue a relationship. ‘Ripples of my Love’ and ‘Keep on Keeping On’ focus on persistence despite less than ideal situations. The last song on the album ‘Me and My Dreams’ has a more inspirational feel to it and I decided to include it to show that whilst trying to figure out all the uncertain things relationships sometimes offer I believe it is still important to be grounded in oneself, stay true to oneself and most importantly do what you love to do.

My debut album, Transparency, has songs that I still cherish and it focuses on vulnerabilities. Some songs on Transparency have a religious meaning and other songs are love songs. Songs like ‘God of Mercy’, ‘Like Moses’, ‘Make it Alright’, ‘Peace’, ‘Angel’s Wings’ have inspirational narrative themes whilst other songs like ‘Woman in Love’, ‘Come Home’, and ‘Bittersweet Memories’ are love songs.

When did you write your first song? What activities encourage you to songwriting and how did you know how to write songs?

I wrote my first song when I was about six and I still remember the lyrics and tune and it was at that moment that I figured out I could write a song.

In regards to activities that encourage me to write songs, I just do the things I enjoy doing. I love music and I find that listening to different genres which could be from an online source or live music concerts or musicals, opens up my mind to express lyrics in different ways. I also enjoy hiking, nature photography, road trips just to mention a few and I often discover new experiences or see things in a different light and I find myself wanting to express this new experience in song. It also hurt to collaborate with other people - an experience I have found interesting and rewarding as there is always so much to learn. It also doesn’t hurt to read a book or take a course on songwriting.

Songwriting is something I’ve been working at over the years and I am still learning a lot from this craft. The most important lesson I have learned personally is honesty. What I mean by this is being honest in the lyrics whether it's a disappointing situation or about a happy time. I find it’s that same standard of being real in the moment of putting lyrics to paper that will help me express the song to the best of my potential - this may come out as poetry or an analogy but if I lose sight of the original idea for the song, the direction in songwriting because a bit hazy. The songwriting experience tends to differ and at times I have a song structure that alternates between verses and chorus and at times I would write a song with verses only. I believe when it comes to creativity there is no set rule really and that's the beauty of creativity bearing in mind at the end of the day there must be some sort of structure to the whole song. My experience is that some songs I have written come together in one sitting and some songs have taken a while. At times I would only have the tune without words or vice versa. In such cases, I have learned to keep all the bits and pieces in ‘one sewing box’ (if I may call it that) and after a while, which may take days to years, the pieces are eventually sewn together to form a song. With creativity no idea can be wasted - you never know it might come in handy with something else you’ll create in the future! I have come to understand a song has a life of its own and when it all comes together, it’s very exciting to sing a brand new song!

What is in love songs that move you personally?

Love songs have the ability take you back to moments of intense emotion be it moments of a blossoming romance or being heartbroken and I think a lot of people can relate to love songs. What moves me personally about love songs is that there are so many ways to say ‘I love you’ and it never gets old.

Why did you choose inspirational song writing? Has it to do with your first Single 'Significant Mistake'?

I chose inspirational songwriting because I sing about my faith in God. The song ‘Like Moses’ on my debut album sheds a lot more light on this. I also believe inspirational songwriting opens the door to emotional healing and as such my songs also carry this message. Inspirational song writing began for me way before I started releasing music albums and still remains very close to my heart. I will continue to write and release inspirational songs. My choice to write inspirational songs has nothing to do with my first single, 'Significant Mistake'.

Which part of your song 'Mismatched Planets' is your favorite? Why do you like this particular part of the song?

The songwriting process for Mismatched Planets took a slightly different approach as I found the use of analogies the best way to express what I felt the song should say. I really like the chorus because I feel it encompasses the whole message behind the song and ties everything together quite nicely.
Interview with singer and songwriter Janet Odani Reviewed by JaamZIN on 12:50:00 PM Rating: 5
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