Alongside death and taxes, transformation feels like one of life’s few guarantees. Whether we’re conscious of it or not, we’re constantly evolving and refining the things that define us. The changes we undergo give us an opportunity for perspective – to see how far we’ve come, to honor our former selves, and to understand our current self. New Orleans-based singer/songwriter Julie Odell thinks a lot about transformation, and it’s a word she uses to sum up her debut album Autumn Eve, out this fall via Frenchkiss Records.
For Odell, her biggest transformation was becoming a mother, which sparked a chain reaction of other changes in her life. “Because I started writing the songs when I was traveling from place to place and working on farms, I felt very foundationless and uprooted,” Odell says. But when she gave birth to her daughter, she wanted to put down roots, and she felt it was the perfect chance to live a simpler, healthier life. “I was 26 when I had her, and I was just a baby having a baby,” Odell says. “There was so much growing I had to do when she was born … I was just too reckless with my life before that.” She says motherhood has made her more understanding of other people and it’s also made her more willing to stand her ground and advocate for her needs.
Odell wrote roughly half of the songs that make up Autumn Eve several years before becoming a mother and the other half afterwards, which means half of the songs predate these personal transformations and half were written while in the thick of things. As a result, listeners are introduced to several versions of Odell, with the album functioning as a rich tapestry of her emotional growth. This also means that some songs have double meanings for Odell, who now views her pre-mother self with much more compassion.