Interview with an MC - O.D.D.I.T.Y. - Love is ____. Album Release

Smart Boy Studios - ODDITY - Interview.jpg

Jeffrey McClure, aka O.D.D.I.T.Y., is a hip-hop artist from Indianapolis whose last project, entitled Me., was my personal introduction for this very lyrical, very introspective artist. Between the warm production and content on self-contemplation and self-explanation, he easily gained my attention as I held on to every word out of his mouth, begging me to learn more about him. I’ve also had the pleasure of seeing O.D.D.I.T.Y. perform live on a couple of occasions, and having him in front you strengthens the connection that he brings with his delivery and lyrical message. This talented guy has a new album coming Saturday June 9th, so I got in touch with him to find out a little bit more and pick his brain. Check it out below!

So you spell your name, O.D.D.I.T.Y., as an acronym. Does it stand for something?

O.D.D.I.T.Y is spelled purposely to appear as an acronym, moreso for aesthetic than anything. However, it isn't actually an acronym. It was originally spelled Oddity, but that seemed too generic and less personally identifiable than its current form. As for what the name means; I always told myself that when the time was right to present that information I would know. For now, I like the mystique attached to it.

I know that your brother is an artist as well. Did that influence you in any particular way? Do you guys share friendly competition or do you guys see it differently?

Yes my brother goes by Rhetoryk, and we both grew up writing poetry and expressing the tough parts of our childhood through writing. I believe I was the first to start recording and, naturally as the younger brother, he picked it up as well. During college, it became a background hobby as soccer was my focal point. He started to excel and thrive with music and actually was the first to make a name for himself in the Indy scene. I wouldn't say we compete with each other, but both of us being lyrical artists, we definitely used each other's work to push ourselves to become better writers. In college, he and fellow Indy Hip Hop artists DisTinct and Blxck King developed a creative collective called 3rd4low, which I am now a part of as well. So I think we feed off each other's progress.

Based on your single “Fall” and what I’ve seen around, it seems like you’re going for a more soulful, live, and mood on this album. Can you speak on what inspired this direction for you?

Yes, "Fall" is definitely more soulful and live-feeling. The album as a whole, while it has some solid production, has that same feel. I have always been influenced by live instrumentation and the energy it gives off. I knew with this project that I wanted production that felt as real as the content was. I believe that they both match and create this world that listeners will be able to dive into from start to finish.

This new album is titled “Love is ____.” - I’d love to hear more about where this title came from and what it means, in your words.

The title, "Love is ___.", was originally "Love is..." On the surface there doesn't seem like there's much difference, but the latter doesn't engage with the audience as much in my opinion. Once I added the underscores, I knew that I would be able to develop a high level of engagement just simply using the title in marketing and advertising. The title also really fit the concept of the album as “Love” is a very ambiguous word that is hard to give a solid definition for. When I created the album cover idea, it also connected perfectly with the title - having myself pictured reaching up towards the blank.

I saw that you’ve been working with a live band. How did that come about and how has it transformed your music?

Initially when I started right [sic] the album I had no intent of performing it with a live band. It wasn't until I got accepted into Steadfast Music Festival (Columbus, Ohio) back in early December that the idea crossed my mind. Upon doing my research on the festival, I discovered that all acts performed with bands and that I would likely be one of the only Hip Hop acts. I didn't want to be that cliche rapper, performing solo over instrumentals. I think it worked, as the feedback was great from people who came out to watch. I reached out to a bunch of dope musicians in Indy and it worked out. I think the process of getting everyone together for rehearsals has made me a better performer, as well as made me pay attention to details in terms of the planning and work it takes to not just perform, but put on a great show.

You have a degree in graphic design, but seemed to have focused in on music rather than design work. What led to the change of heart? Do you see yourself trying to really capitalize on both skill sets?

Yes, I have a Bachelor’s in graphic design, which up until recently (for my own promotion), I hadn't used aside from school. After graduating undergrad, I took 2 years off to pursue professional soccer, and eventually that led me to go for a Masters in Physical Education. I've been working as a teacher the past two years. Focusing on music was a very recent thing, as I had never performed until September of 2017. I think being a teacher has given me a decent income and allowed me a set schedule with lots of week long breaks to really tackle projects. So it has worked out well.

I ask every artist this, what industry artist and producer would you like to work with most? What underground/regional/local artist and producer would you like to work with most?

As far as national artist that I have always wanted to work with and who has inspired my music the would have to be Childish Gambino. I could see us creating a dope ass song together! Also would love to work with Pharrell as both an artist and producer. Locally, I would still like to work with Theon Lee, Tribe Soul, and Joshua Powell (we have something coming soon).

Do you still play soccer? Do you have a favorite team?

I retired from soccer, I guess you could say, two years ago after a stint with Indy Eleven. I still play pick-up soccer and play in various men's leagues around the city, but the serious soccer days are gone lol. Growing up, my favorite team was Arsenal. I was a huge Thierry Henry fan. Ronaldo from Brazil, is my all time favorite player and that 2002 Brazilian World Cup team is my favorite all-time team.

What was your favorite thing in France?

In 2014, I lived in Zurich, Switzerland for 3 months and was able to travel to Paris, France and Milan, Italy. While the touristy things were cool, it was more so the walkability combined with the public trans system that I loved the most about Europe. I think I only was in a car like 3 times my entire time overseas. France is also very similar to the U.S in terms of its pop culture and you can tell U.S Hip Hop culture has a massive influence as well.

I believe you’ve been working on music in some capacity for around 8 years now, right? What REALLY got you started? What led to the first time you recorded anything?

In terms of actually writing down lyrics and attempted to record, I would say I've been doing this for roughly 10 years. My first recorded song was in high school with a few buddies one weekend on their Mac. I believe it was about 2010 when I recorded my first mixtape which I think I still have somewhere. In 2012, I recorded a mixtape which, to me, was my first true album, and it was 25 tracks long. To be honest, I always grew up around music. I was in choir for a few years as a kid and never knew anything different than Hip Hop and R&B. It wasn't until I went to college and got exposed to different styles of music that I began pulling in alternative rock and other genres into my own style.

Do you have any events or announcements you need the people to hear? And where can people find you and listen to you?

I have been heavily promoting my first official album called, "Love is ___." which majorly features Okara Imani. The album release show for the album was Saturday, May 18th at Healer which is a very progressive, artistic venue. The album is set to release on June 9th, everywhere you can listen to music. People can find me basically anywhere that music exists. I'm on Spotify, Apple Music, iTunes, Google Play, Amazon, Tidal, Soundcloud, Youtube, as well as Instagram @oddity_3rd, Facebook under Jeffrey Junior and O D D I T Y, and Twitter under O.D.D.I.T.Y.

Ash Matthews