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commUNITY spotlight: Bass player RiShon Odel

Buffalo bass player RiShon Odel has played around the world and with national artists. He prides himself with being grounded and enjoying the purity of music.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — It started when he was a little boy, sneaking into his father's studio.

RiShon Odel tells the story of how music entered his life, and it included church, and even his grandmother introducing him to the sounds of Liberace.

Today RiShon Odel is a professional bass player with a list of accolades.

No. 1 most added on SMOOTHJAZZ.COM, No. 1 on Billboard Smooth Jazz charts for writing on both “XX” (Brian Culbertson) & “You, Me & Forever” (Grammy-Award Nominee, NAJEE).

"When I pick up the bass, it's like nothing else. I don't have to think about anything. It just happens. So whatever I think, whatever I feel comes right through the instrument," he said during a candid interview with Claudine Ewing for commUNITY

Playing music just fits Odel.

"I know a lot of people that were exposed to music, but they had to work for it. Sometimes it's just a natural thing. For me, it just came natural," he said.

You can find RiShon Odell on tour with smooth jazz, R&B funk musician Brian Culbertson. They'll be in Buffalo in April.

Credit: Rishon Odel

The Buffalo native has traveled the world and created unforgettable memories. He remembers "breaking bread with Bishop Tutu." 

While in Mozambique, "I got a haircut, and the guy had one clipper. It was the best haircut I've ever had."

Odel has spent time teaching in Buffalo. He is an avid reader of what he called "heavy stuff."

Credit: Rishon Odel

He is forever an advocate of local music. 

"I know a lot of people, especially in Western New York, take local music for granted. It's such a plethora of it, but you know, all of it's not great, but there are some guys that do this for a living. And then when we come home, we want to bring the same energy to our home, to get the same energy."

He's received the love from the 716.

"These guys support me, they've always supported my music. I'm thankful," he said.

Nothing beats playing on stage and seeing his parents in the audience.

"You're like, 'Awe,' " he said.

God, music and his dad are constant pillars in his life. He is constantly churning out new music including his latest music, Love On The Weekend, featuring Brent Birckhead.