A conversation with singer-songwriter Odie Leigh about her music, TikTok, and her viral hit "Crop Circles."
Odie Leigh is a singer-songwriter, making music from her home state of Louisiana. She has reached millions through posting her songs on TikTok, and now has several songs from her discography published on streaming platforms. I got the chance to talk with her about her EP in the works, her biggest hits: "Ronnie's Song" and "Crop Circles," and about what is next for Odie Leigh.
You live in New Orleans, and I know a lot of things had to be put on hold because of Hurricane Ida. So, I have to ask: was the song that Ida prevented you from recording, the song that all of TikTok has been demanding from you?
Of course! At this point I really, oh my god, at this point I really feel so much pressure on that song that I almost just don't want to do it. I've recorded it so many times. I really have recorded the song at least five times, and I just can't get it right.
A: Can you talk a little bit about your experience making this song? Because I think we're both talking about “Crop Circles” right? What was your inspiration behind the song? What has it been like writing it and trying to record it, just take me through the story.
O: “Crop Circles” was written when I was feeling very low. I was feeling very frustrated. And I really realized that I've replaced journaling with songwriting. I used to journal all the time, but my journal from this year is empty because I realized I just take all my feelings, then I write songs, and then I post them on the internet. It's a lot. Sometimes I think about it, and I freak out a little bit, because I'm like, “oh my god, all of these thoughts and feelings just out into the world.”
My songwriting process is just I start playing something, and then I start talking. So I had a conversation with one of my roommates, and we were talking about dating, and I started kind of talking with someone who was a little bit older than me, like, seven or eight years. And he sent me this really weird message. He was like, “Oh, you're 21, wow, I feel like such a creep. I promise I'm not a predator.” I was like “no, no, no, no, no weird, weird.”
So, my roommate said, “You should start lying about your age.” And I thought that that was a really interesting thought. But I'm not gonna do that. I don't want to lie to people. But that's where the opening part of the song comes, “These days I've been lying about my age.” Yeah, it's, it's about. Yeah, it's about meeting people. And that's about dating. It's literally about online dating. It's straight up about Tinder.
A: So, a guy reached out to you on Tinder. Is that what the story is? Or is it like, just a combination of stories and feelings?
O: So, yeah, it's about online dating. And, and also about coming into yourself as a person, as an individual, as a grown adult. The line about “I don't think I've changed, but I'm too scared to say the same,” that's my internal process of seeing change as good. You have to change to grow and become a different person. But change can also be hard because whenever you change for the better, you kind of have to acknowledge that the way you were before wasn't perfect. It's a song about growing as a person coming into your own and figuring out who you are, and kind of the difficulties that come with that.
Then the line, “my carpets have crop circles,” I originally wrote it as, “I'm walking round in circles, walking around in circles these days”. I was like, that's fucking boring, how can I say this in a more metaphorical way. And I was sitting in my trailer looking at the carpet, and thought, oh my god, if you walk in circles enough, you'll get crop circles in the carpet, you know? I've heard that metaphor a few times, and it's just beautiful– it really sticks.
A: What made you put your songs on Tik Tok in the first place? If it was such a personal thing, what gave you the courage to make that jump to start putting things online.
O: I went on a road trip with one of my friends, the friend that “Ronnie Song” is about, and they have such a passion, and curiosity for the world and just everything around them. And they love playing guitar. They will just sing for anyone, anywhere, and it's just beautiful. Just being around them for being around only them for like, I don't know how many days it was, reminded me how much fun music is supposed to be, you know? So, I started playing guitar again, then I just kind of started writing songs for myself, then I started playing them for my roommates.
I was living with these two guys, and one of them is like a rapper, and the other one makes electronic music. And they were like, “this is so good, when are you going to drop a song?” Then, this is so bad, but so funny: they decided to have a competition to see who could blow up on Tik Tok first. And so they were posting silly little videos on Tik Tok, and I was like, “I can blow up on Tik Tok with a song, like I am confident.” I don't know what made me think it was gonna work, but it worked. And needless to say, I think I've won.
A: What do you see for the future of your music? What’s next for Odie Leigh?
O: What's next for Odie Leigh? Oh man, that's a really good question. I obviously plan to keep on writing music, releasing music. I have so many songs. I have so many songs I want to record and release. I have an EP that's halfway done. It's just missing “Crop Circles.” Oh, maybe I shouldn't say that. I don't know. Maybe I'll put out an EP, maybe I won't, I’m really a little unsure about a lot of things. But yes, all the songs at some point will come out. I hope. But oh man, the pressure. I don't know. I don't know how people do it. I really don't. It’s crazy! Oh my god. It's so scary. I'm so new at this, and it's terrifying.
A: Well, it was so great talking to you. Is there anything else that you want people to know about Odie Leigh?
O: I'm just really grateful that I can share and be heard. Like, I'm very grateful that I can say things that people feel and have it resonate with them. I have these feelings. I have these thoughts. And then I just give them to everyone. I'm just like, here, it's yours now–ours now. It can be super stressful. But it's so beautiful.