BWW Interview: Kevin Odekirk Releases SEASON OF HOPE
Actor/singer Kevin Odekirk has been delighting audiences worldwide with his stage appearances in musicals such as Miss Saigon, concert venues and with his amazing CD Unheard. He now has a Christmas album called Season of Hope. Odekirk took time from a hectic holiday schedule to tell us about the album.
Why did you want to record a Christmas album? And why at this point in time?
I have been so lucky to connect with so many great fans and friends over the years, and every year many request a Holiday CD for them to enjoy themselves and for gifts. This year, I had the chance to put together a solo Christmas program for a large private VIP Gala in Los Angeles. We were putting so much effort into new arrangements and new rendtions of these amazing songs, it only made sense to put them down on disc for more people to enjoy. Combine that with the opportunity to work with my amazing composer/arranger Jonathan Keith, and I just couldn't not share!
You seem to have a very serene personality. Where does most of your musical inspiration come from?
Well, that is really nice of you! I think some days I'm better at that than others, especially with four kids.
Music has always played a really important role in my life. I don't think, for me at least, that many other things have the power to affect my emotions and my spirit as strongly as music. Happiness, sadness, heartache, elation, loneliness, and love...nothing makes me feel things as deeply as a good song. When I can share that with others, it's even better. I want to create things people will feel, but to be honest, I create things that make me feel first. I can only create things that connect with my spirit, and then just hope others feel something unique for them.
There are several very religious hymns included. Do you have a favorite? Explain your choice.
There are a lot of religious hymns on this CD. I feel like it's really easy, for me at least, to get sucked into all the other things related to Christmas, and maybe this was my way of reminding myself what really mattered. Every song on this CD is a prayer. Really, that was my guide through this. I wanted Season of Hope to be an intimate look at prayers we all can connect with this time of year, no matter what your religion.
At the same time, I had this idea that I mention in my liner notes, this concept that most normal people (i.e non performers) may never get the chance to work through a sitzrobe. The very first time musicians and vocalists perform together on a new work is amazing to me. Nothing is flashy, everything is new. Everthing is foreign and familiar all at once. And there, without costumes or sets or sound deisgn, we get to connect to the music and to each other. I love it, and I wanted to share that. Big songs, performed really intimately. Piano quintet (mostly) and a voice.
How does "Bring Him Home" fit into a Christmas album in your opinion?
To me, the catalogue of musical theater is full of prayers, stuff so heartfelt, so empassioned that they easily reach that level. In the Dead of Darkness from Kristina is one such example, with a man separated from his wife and family on a horrible journey across the ocean. How could he do anything other than pray? "Bring Him Home" is maybe the quintessential prayer, though. I'm not sure I can think of anything more appropriate for a holiday season than thinking about someone else more than yourself, praying for them, wanting for them, and being willing to sacrifice everything for them and their happiness.
You should record more often. Do you have a plan for a future project? Share if you will.
Well, I am so grateful you would even say that. I think as long as I have interesting and valuable things to say, I will have a strong desire to try and say them. I don't want to add to the mountain of similar stuff already out there. My first CD, UNHEARD, was neat because we got to share some totally new and ultra-rare songs that any musical theater lover would enjoy. I want to really contribute something. I love getting to share, but I am not always sure I have things worth sharing. (Hence the mountains of demos buried on my hard drive - stuff the world will never hear. lol) That may not be fashionable or sound cool. But it's true. (Too honest, maybe.) We all get to see other people and their infinitely Instagrammable lives, and then we sit back and think we are the only ones struggling or doubting or grinding. I struggle. I doubt. But I love singing, sharing, and connecting with people so much that I keep trying. I hope people keep listening.
Who was the motivational force in your career choice to be a singer? Were your parents supportive?
My family was a sports family. Most of my cousins, uncles, and my dad all played professional baseball at one level or another. It was rather expected I'd go that way. (I still can turn a mean double play.) So when I joined a musical theater class my junior year of high school to be near a hot girl I wanted, I think they were all a little shocked. Turns out, I loved it, and loved studying what the voice could do.
Here's the amazing thing, my athletic father without a bit of artisitc experience immediately threw his support behind me, even going as far as joining the board of a local arts organization. I can only hope that I'll show my kids the kind of love my mom and dad showed me.
And thank you to that hot girl that I don't think I ever had the guts to even talk to!
Any plans to possibly do a musical? You were so good in Miss Saigon. I would love to see you do another show. Are you possibly looking at Les Miserables?
Are you casting? lol
That is so nice of you about Miss Saigon. I had such a great time in that show. I grew up singing that music. It was one of the very first musicals I saw, so I really wanted to do that show. Great music. And we had an amazing cast. I felt really lucky to be part of that.
Honestly, I've been so busy with other projects, concerts and recording work, that it made it hard to devote the time to a show or a tour. I'm hopeful I can make that work again soon, either on tour or back on Broadway. Let's make this happen!
What is your wish for Christmas?
LOL Dolls. Oh sorry, I'm channelling my daughter. (Seriously, since when did girls toys sell out so quickly!?)
Um... for Christmas this year I hope someone listens to Season of Hope and feels something good for them. That would make me smile. And a new baseball glove. But mainly the happiness for other people.
Anything you care to add?
I'm grateful for those that continue to support me and listen to my music and see my concerts and shows. Happy Holiday to everyone out there!
Season of Hope is available at amazon.com/ to listen, visit: