Tom Odell was born in Chichester, West Sussex, England, to a primary-school teacher mother and an airline pilot father.
He briefly lived in New Zealand, where the airline stationed his father, before returning to Chichester and attending the fee-paying Seaford College and Brighton Institute of Modern Music.
Odell took piano lessons from childhood but by Grade 7 was bored with classical music and began writing his own songs, storing all his ideas on a Dictaphone. "I kept it a complete secret," he told The Mail on Sunday. "'In Chichester they think the only thing you should be doing is playing football. Even at home I'd sing my songs so quietly that mum and dad thought I was just practicing piano."
He studied at the British and Irish Modern Music Institute playing as part of the band Tom and the Tides before moving to London in 2010. Odell was discovered there by Lily Allen. She introduced the young singer to some A&R people at Columbia who signed him up to the label.
His debut single, "Another Love
," reached the UK Top 10 helped by the BBC using the tune to advertise their 2013 schedule.
Tom Odell unwinds by watching airplanes. "I'm a bit of an aviation anorak," he told Britain's Cosmopolitan magazine. "My dad was a pilot and I know a lot about planes. Sometimes I look at videos of them on YouTube taking off in heavy winds. I should never have admitted this."