Artist Spotlight: Oddboy Ten
It’s not everyday that a new artist comes along and immediately grabs our undivided attention but Oddboy TEN definitely achieved that. His debut EP Ulogy is the epitome of musical artistry from the accompanying visuals to the deep insight within the work itself. We had the pleasure of catching up with Oddboy to dig deeper into this enigma.
Tramell: What is the story behind your name and how you got into music?
Oddboy TEN: There are multiple personal meanings to the name ‘Oddboy TEN’ but there’s a general theme which holds them all. I noticed a pattern, before anything was known or understood there was a state before it that was lawless and turbulent. When I’m in that place I’m in “Oddboy”, a human being in unknowns. Embarrassing this time of obscurity eventually leads to wisdom and clarity, so when I’ve gained knowledge I’m in “TEN”. And then we start all over again. It’s the process, it’s life. Music started off the same way really, not really knowing what I was doing, sitting behind pianos, playing and singing anything that came to mind. The sound and feeling of my creations became addictive.
Who are some key players in your life that have inspired and helped you with your artform?
My form tutor in secondary school was an art teacher called Mr. Loughrell. He encouraged my creative direction but still challenged me to grow as an artist and as a person. He made an impact on other pupils too. He often went far beyond his job description to support and guide his students. He’d have lunch in his classroom so we had somewhere other than the playground to be at lunch or break time. We could do some work, read or just be social. We were privileged to be his class and everyone in school knew it.
Rhythm and Reason are my musical family. Most of us met around 2008/9ish. We all loved that soulful, hip-hop, true to life sound. Mostly all living in South London we were bound to connect. Soon we were making songs and performing together across London and beyond. Over the years I’ve had amazing experiences with the guys, on and off stage.
Ulogy is such a wonderful piece of work - It flows like one body of music and really tells an insightful story into you as an artist. What were your thoughts in the planning stages of executing this EP?
Initially I was creating a completely different project. During a session a couple of us got way too gassed over a lick from the clarinet player and in the excitement dragged the table with all the equipment on it. My 2TB harddrive with all the songs and beats I’d ever created in my life plus my entire digital history fell to the ground. I knew it was over. After that, all it was good for was the sound of mechanical pain I’d hear when I plugged it in. I had to accept the loss. But it sent me into a quarry space. I had to assess who I was and what I planned to do on the planet, with myself and my craft. Must i create? And it was in that frame I created the EP; from the scraps I recovered from the emails I sent out after sessions. I realised I’d been hesitant to execute. It took a huge loss to realise you have to give before you can’t. I found what I could, reworked it and created the ‘Ulogy’. A testament to my old self and my deceased harddrive.
'The Parable of Oddboy' is an incredible photo series you completed as a prelude to your latest EP - give us a bit more insight into the photo project.
‘The parable of Oddboy’ has four chapters representing four significant universal stages we all experience as people. (Adolescence, Independence, Indulgence and Self Realisation). After the harddrive accident I wanted to create a visual tale to illustrate the journey of life and the journey of art. The parable was my way to tell the full story and bridge the two.
What are some of the overarching themes of this project?
Ulogy deals with identity, culture, purpose, family and becoming. I was in a dry mental space while reworking the tracks. Everything was being questioned to determine its value to me. At times I was filled with gratitude, for family and parents. (‘The Opening’ is a conversation I had with my Dad and the divine masculine spirit while ‘Iya’ is an ode to my Mum and the divine feminine). I grow in awareness; of things I had no hand in but were having a positive impact on me everyday and others that made life worse. I also saw my own hand in the scale. It’s all these things I wanted to express on ‘Ulogy’, a testament to everything that made me.
You have two fantastic features on Ulogy that we're big fans of - Sue Lily & Lex Amor. How did you decide on them being part of the project?
At the time they were two artists I wanted to work with. I enjoyed their work and eventually we connected and got to creating. It was their characters and their personalities that made me include the tracks we created in the EP. Both Lex and SueLily speak and create from a true place. Their words resonate with my life story, like narrators. It made sense.
The instrumentation is so complex and rich - you have to shout out the producers and musicians you worked with!
I’ll shout out the ancestors and every album I’ve ever listened to. I produced the entire EP.
Earlier this year, you performed alongside Caleb Femi at the Jazz Cafe for Kojey Radical's ENDLESS show. How was that experience?
It was an exceptional show but waiting to go up was tense. Finally jumping on stage, all that fell away. We’d performed together before so it was like clock work for us but we added small details to resonate and carry our message. I remember singing the words “Rice and Stew” from my track ‘Iya’ and hearing a couple people in the crowd get excited. It was dope sharing my perspective and experiences with all those people.
What are some of your bucket list goals for the next 5 years?
Perform in every continent (including Antarctica). Seeing the world is an important part of personal development; there’s only so much you can learn in one environment. I’d also like to free fall and do things to experience being close to death. I remember when I went skinny dipping in a friends pool whilst everyone was asleep. I jumped into the deep~end and didn’t resurface. I realised I could drown. I had seconds to remember how to swim. I flailed my limbs to jolt myself into remembering and once I’d got it, swam to the edge. What an amazing feeling.
Who's on your top 3 list of creatives we need to know about?
Aiden Harmitt Williams is an amazing photographer. He brings stillness and an attention to detail that means I’m always discovering new things within his work.
Sabodé is a fashion designer I’ve paid attention to for a while now. I’m attracted by the way she uses form, patterns and shape to tell her story and express her experiences.
Angela Chilufya is an artist I’ve recently discovered. She captures the human form with a style that echoes our nature to continuously change, grow, flow.
We all know social media is like a movie. What are some of the “Behind The Scenes” moments of Oddboy Ten? Any weird quirks?
I really like toast.
What can we expect from you next?
Be ready to explore yourselves, your mind and all you are.
Check out Ulogy below and follow Oddboy TEN on the socials to ride along his journey.