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."
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