There’s a climatic aura surrounding Leslie Odom Jr.’s new single “Under Pressure.” Blame the favorable string instruments or the singer’s light falsetto. Whatever it is, fans will enjoy the ride to clarity.
Produced by Theron “Neff-U” Feemster and Joseph Abate, the Grammy-winning artist takes a slight pivot from jazz into a traditional R&B format as he sings about the perils that come with success as well as internal strife. The thoughtful single was one of the last songs completed for Odom Jr’s new project.
Setting up creative shop in George Lucas’ Skywalker Ranch, the album is not only an array of emotions from Odom Jr. but stories that weave together his evolution.
“Under Pressure was one of the last songs we wrote for the record,” Odom Jr. tells VIBE about the creation process with executive producers Joseph Abate and Steve Greenberg. “It came together after we’d spent some hours getting to know one another and we were comfortable with each other. Once you’re comfortable you can start asking, ‘Ok so, what scares you?'”
The project also warranted emotional reactions from his tribe. “I played the record for my family this past week. My mom and my sister cried. My dad broke down which songs he thought were the “hits.” [Laughs] Writing the music started in such a personal way. Feels appropriate to share it with the people closest to me before we share it with the world. I hope everyone likes it. I really do. But if for some reason “the world” didn’t, I think I could rest knowing that it touched the people who’ve known and held me up the longest.”
But “Under Pressure” won’t give you anxiety. Throughout the track, Odom Jr.’s voice is complimented well with orchstrated production that includes violins, cellos and deep horns. It’s a refreshing feeling only Odom Jr. can deliver.
Known for his iconic time on Hamilton, the award-winning entertainer has released two jazz albums including his self-titled debut album in 2014 and an amazing Christmas album titled Simply Christmas in 2016. Both albums topped Billboard’s Jazz Albums chart.
Enjoy “Under Pressure” below.
Produced by: Theron “Neff-U” Feemster and Joseph Abate
Executive producers: Joseph Abate, Leslie Odom Jr. and Steve Greenberg
Violins: Bruce Dukov , Alyssa Park , Charlie Bishara, Jessive Guidero, Lucia Micarelli, Phil Levy, Tammy Hatwan, Sara Parks
Violas: Zach Dellinger, Shawn Mann
Cello: Jake Braun
Horns: Dylan Hart, Steve Becknell, Rob Schaer , Jonah Levy, Steve Suminski, Steve Holtman,
Woodwinds: Heather Clark, Julie Burket, Lara Wickes, Stuart Clark, Don Foster, Dan Higgins
Background Vocals: Suzanne Waters
Orchestrations by: Bill Elliott, Gordon Goodwin