Leslie Odom Jr.: 2019
Paul Cavalconte and Leslie Odom Jr. (photo by Gus Philippas, WFUV)
Tony and Grammy Award-winner Leslie Odom Jr. joins me for a live performance and conversation. The Hamilton star (he created the role of Aaron Burr) has enjoyed success with album releases that settled in the American Songbook and Christmas cache, but on Mr, his newly released album, Odom channels Nat King Cole in a different way, imagining that the '50s pop crooner was a modern artist, plugged into hip hop as well as jazz.
Those worlds converge on "Go Crazy," performed in Studio A with a brass section, upright bass, and turntablist doing just that. For "Under Pressure," Odom pushes his vocal range and brings the beats in another original song that leaves the door open for exploration of the past. In our conversation, we discuss new songs that affectionately wink at the standards, but also push forward into a new fusion of Leslie's own muse.
Odom is also a movie star these days, appearing in "Harriet," the powerful biopic of pioneering African-American activist Harriet Tubman. His Studio A session drew quite a crowd, even by FUV Live standards; our staff crammed the control room to watch the strikingly handsome and energetic star give a knockout performance.
Stream audio of the session in the player above, and watch the videos below.
[Session recorded: 11/5/19; Engineers: Jim O'Hara and Jordan Purvis]