Leslie Odom, Jr. – he of the honey voice and star of Broadway, “Smash,” “Person of Interest,” and “Law & Order: SVU” – released a very jazzy album of tunes on August 12, 2014.
Like many artists these days, Leslie started a crowdfunding campaign to pay for the recording, and his fan base really came through. He raised more than $10,000 beyond his goal. The extra dough shows, as the production on the album is flawless with some pretty nifty musicians backing him up.
Leslie first came to my attention in the Broadway cast of “Leap of Faith,” in which he was one of the leads. Then, he landed the role on “Smash” as Christian Borle’s character’s love interest and best friend of Megan Hilty’s character, Ivy.
During his tenure on that show, I interviewed him and then subsequently met him at the opening of “Venice,” a musical at The Public Theater, in which Leslie performed alongside Uzo Aduba, aka Crazy Eyes on “Orange is the New Black.” (Yes, she can sing! She was in “Godspell” on Broadway, too.) Earlier this year, Leslie performed at New York’s City Center in a revival of “Tick Tick … Boom!” with Lin-Manuel Miranda.
On television, besides his recurring roles on “Law & Order: SVU” and “Person of Interest,” Leslie has been cast in the upcoming NBC drama, “State of Affairs,” starring Katherine Heigl and Alfre Woodard. That show had a recent shake-up when the showrunner was replaced, but the buzz is that it will still premiere late this fall. There are whispers that Leslie will also be in a new stage production soon as well, so the man’s career is in full swing.
But back to the album… His jazzy and romantic take on mostly lesser known musical theater songs is beautiful and soothing with some particularly skilled falsetto work. I especially melted on “Joey, Joey, Joey” from “Flower Drum Song” and “Sarah” from “The Civil War.” He also sings “The Guilty Ones” from “Spring Awakening” and covers Paul Simon’s “Song For the Asking.” In the latter song, his wife, Nicolette Robinson, joins him for some gorgeous harmonies. Their voices really blend.
Leslie’s 9-track album can be purchased on iTunes, Amazon, and CD Baby. Check out the links to listen to snippets from the tracks and place an order, and click on the video below to sample his voice right this minute. Then, follow him on Twitter at @leslieodomjr.