Leslie Odom Jr. talks music, fatherhood and filming the star-studded new Murder on the Orient Express.
Tony-winning performer Leslie Odom Jr. hasn’t been home to Philly “for a minute,” he says with a laugh. Yet the actor-singer renowned for Hamilton, as well as an eponymous 2016 chart-topping jazz record and a newly expanded rerelease of his 2016 Simply Christmas album, has family on his mind. There wasn’t much time for them when Odom spent five months overseas filming Murder on the Orient Express with Johnny Depp, which hit theaters Nov. 10.
“I fly my parents in Philly to wherever I am,” says Odom, who grew up in both East and West Oak Lanes. “Fatherhood is the most rewarding, challenging thing, and I love every part of it. My daughter (Lucille Ruby) reveals new parts of her personality hourly.” Yes, Odom admits that “finding the balance” between life and work is difficult, especially considering offers such as the one that got him the role in Murder on the Orient Express. “Kenneth Branagh (director/star) saw me in Hamilton and had me in mind for a part. He wanted to see if I was comfortable with the British accent.”
For this season’s Simply Christmas Deluxe, Odom opted for extra tracks like the jazzy “Please Come Home for Christmas.” He says that part of the fun of working on an album is being in town for the release. “I missed out on these songs last year because I left for London on Halloween to shoot the movie. People still love and buy Christmas music, and I want to experience that joy.”