Acoostic Sessions: Live musical performances done in and around Montreal. Season three is presented in conjunction with Seratone Studio.
19-years-old, born in the Ukraine, now living in Montreal via Gatineau. Yeah, Anastasiya Odudko’s story is a unique one. Inspired by her roots and her current surroundings simultaneously, Ana’s is a raw, precocious talent that’s growing at a rapid rate, and those cultural influences are producing a truly exciting young artist.
“Sun Is Low, We Are High” is the type of track of which a young Lana Del Ray would be proud, so it’s no surprise to learn that Ana is a huge fan, although she is beginning to carve out an identity that’s completely her own.
After performing “Sun Is Low, We Are High” for Acoostic Sessions on the Seratone Studio stage, Ana stuck around to chat about adapting to Montreal, the story behind her guitar, how music has influenced her life, and certain Eastern European artists that everyone should know.
Can you describe your journey from Ukraine to Montreal? How did you end up here?
Anastasiya Odudko: So I moved to Canada around four years ago with my parents – it was their decision – and I stayed in Gatineau for three years, and a few months ago I moved to Montreal. It was a long way here.
AO: Yeah, by myself.
Why did you go from the Ukraine to Canada?
AO: It was my parents’ decision. I kind of just went with it. More opportunities here, definitely, for me and my family.
How have you found adapting to this city?
AO: Honestly, I love Montreal. It really matches my lifestyle and my mentality. I love people. I love all the art and music going on all around Montreal. I love it.
Can you see yourself staying here for the foreseeable future, for long?
AO: I want to, but you never know where life brings you so…
That is actually very true. And how has music influenced your life? Has it always been a constant since you can remember?
AO: Well, of course I’ve always liked music. But honestly, I went to music school when I was young – I was like 12 or something – and I totally hated it. I didn’t like all the classes, so I never thought I would do it professionally and it’s actually going to be my biggest passion. And around two years ago I learned how to play guitar and I was like, “High time, it’s now or never.” So I started writing songs and around six months ago, a year ago, I started performing here and there a little bit, and it’s my biggest passion. It’s my life right now.
And tell us a little bit about your guitar. There’s a great story behind that, right?
AO: It’s very special for me because my best Brazilian friend’s dad gave it to me right before moving back to Brazil, and it was his guitar when he was my age and even younger. He was like 16 or something, so this guitar is pretty old. Before leaving he said, “I want this guitar to stay in the family” and he gave it to me. So it’s my baby. It’s very special for me.
You’ve got a very distinctive voice and a great sound. Can you describe any artists or musical influences that have been inspiring for you?
AO: Well I guess my biggest inspiration in terms of energy and stage presence is Lana Del Ray. I really like her and her songs. I’m a big fan. But you know, I listen to a lot of different music, and lately I’ve been listening to classic rock which I think has influenced my latest songs. Also definitely Ukrainian and Russian, and just Eastern European music in general has a very big influence on my music. I would even say that my songs sound like Eastern European songs – but in English.
Are there any particular Eastern-European or Ukranian artists that we all should know about? That we should all check out right away?
AO: Well it’s different for you guys since you don’t speak the language. But there is one artist who recently released an English-speaking album. His name is Ivan Dorn and the album is OTD. It’s not the same music that I play, and not even that I listen to. It’s more like electro-soul-funk. But he’s great and he’s going to be a big thing all around the world one day. He’s a big thing in Ukraine now.
Electro-soul-funk is a big three genres to fuse together. That’s exceptional. But what about more traditional Eastern European people? Regardless of the language, I’m sure there are some that would transcend understanding language. Is there anyone that’s close to your heart in that way?
AO: There’s a Ukrainian singer and piano player, his stage name is PianoBoy. Back in Ukraine I listened to him a lot. He was my Lana Del Ray in Ukraine. There’s this great Russian artist, also legend in Russia, her name is Zemfira. You know, it’s hard to say because there are so many, so many. But they’re the ones that just popped in my head right now.
And what about Sun Is Low, We Are Higher. How did that song come to be?
AO: (Takes deep breath) Umm…okay…
Oh wow, that was a deep breath. Is this a pretty personal song?
AO: You know, a little bit, but all of them are and it’s okay to talk about it. It’s definitely my Montreal song. I wrote it two months ago and I didn’t perform it that much. I don’t have any videos of it yet. It has to do a lot with me, you know, going out on a Friday night, in a bar, seeing performers… It’s hard to explain. It’s just, you know, it happened because it did. It definitely has something to do with Montreal…
Check out past seasons of Acoostic Sessions here.
Words – Zac Strevens
Cameras – Ranko Bobusic, Zac Strevens, & Gabriel Alvarez.
Editing – Zac Strevens
Audio – Simon Petraki
Direction – Zac Strevens