When Washington D.C. rapper Oddisee agreed to take a rising soul starlet from New Zealand under his wings for a 10-day recording session at the end of 2013 he declared he had only one plan: "To not have any plan whatsoever."
That’s easy, of course, if writing and producing killer tunes comes as effortlessly as it does to Oddisee. His album People Hear What They See won the iTunes Hip-Hop Album of the Year in 2012, and last year he released an acclaimed all-instrumental album, The Beauty In All, and a mixtape called Tangible Dream.
As you can hear from the three sultry, sun-dappled songs he helped his chosen protégé, Wellington soul singer Estere, to write and record he didn’t skimp on his mentoring duties one bit.
Estere admitted afterwards that before stepping into the studio for Red Bull Prodigy she had to do her research on Oddisee.
"I quickly looked him up online and discovered how awesome he was. I learnt a bit about him before we started the project – enough to realise that this was a great opportunity to work with a really skilled producer."
Together, Oddisee, Estere, her trusty MPC sampler Lola, plus a few handy musicians, threw ideas and advice, sounds and styles into the mix and turned out five impressive tracks – three of which they decided to refine and make public.
"Our chemistry was instant," said Estere. "Oddisee was really clear that he wanted this project to be about helping me develop my production skills. His approach was to listen to my style and add to it. He let me be quite bossy, which meant I could be completely myself!"