Wilmington vocalist Rebekah Todd talks FloydFest competition win, upcoming album

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Rebekah Todd and The Odyssey pose on stage in front of the crowd during their last performance at FloydFest 16. Contributed photo.
Rebekah Todd and The Odyssey pose on stage in front of the crowd during their last performance at FloydFest 16. Contributed photo.

Wilmington-based band Rebekah Todd and The Odyssey were set to play on a tent-covered stage during their second and last performance of the “Dreamweavin’ On-the-Rise” competition at FloydFest 16 in Virginia.  At first, Todd was worried: The covered stage wasn’t drawing a crowd like other stages were during the late-July outdoor festival – but a change in weather couldn’t have come at a more opportune time for the band.

“The universe smiled on us and it rained. And everyone ran in the tent,” Todd said. “We had a captive audience and we just played our little hearts out.”

And for Rebekah Todd, the universe kept on smiling. The week after the competition, held during the festival July 27-31, Todd received the call that her band had won over the crowd and gathered the most votes from concertgoers, winning the competition.

“It’s so cool! We get to go back next year and play on the main stage,” Todd said about the win.

Rebekah Todd and The Odyssey beat out more than 40 bands in the two-round competition. Todd’s band will get to play a set at FloydFest 17 on the Dreaming Creek Main Stage, and will receive a $500 merchandise gift certificate, as well as a Peluso Microphone Lab, LLC, microphone package.

The “Dreamweavin’ On-the-Rise”competition win is just one of many accomplishments to come for the band this year. After years of exploration, Todd says she believes she’s finally found her voice and sound, and is using that voice in her upcoming sophomore album.

“It’s been an ever-changing thing as I’ve been finding my sound,” Todd said. “It started off as a kind of folk sound with a little bit of jazz influence. We recently shifted … more towards electric slide guitar, which added that blues sound. That’s where we are. And this album that is about the come out in November is going to be a lot of blues, rock and soul.”

The 10-song album was made possible through a Kickstarter campaign. Rebekah Todd and The Odyssey raised $30,000 through the campaign, much of it through Wilmington-based support. Some of the funds were applied toward recording at Osceola Studios in Raleigh, which is set to rap-up this month.

“We had a huge amount of support for the album. And the inspiration for the album – all I can say is this album is much more lively, rich and bold,” Todd said. “I finally found my voice. And I’ve finally found a genre that works for me.”

Rebekah Todd. Photo by Chris Frisina.

Todd, who grew up in Benson, North Carolina, has been surrounded by music since her early childhood and praises the encouragement she has received from her family. Now a full-time musician, Todd said, for her, music is all about reviving the soul and healing.

“I just honestly feel like music in itself is this healing thing. And the reason I say that is because music heals me on a daily basis. And I feel like … it’s a healing thing for others as well. That what gives it purpose for me.

“That’s why I do it … I feel like I’ve figured out the point. The point is to help other people who are living the daily grind. The live concerts and music is sort of what breaks up the day and heals people or gives them some sort of joy. And it gives me joy to play for them,” Todd said.

About two years ago, Todd moved to the Wilmington area from Greenville, where she earned her degree in fine art painting and drawing at East Carolina University. Todd came to Wilmington for better access to venues, and said she has had a lot of support and encouragement from local musicians and Wilmington’s music community.

Rebekah Todd and The Odyssey will play in downtown Wilmington at The Whiskey on Oct. 1. For more information about the band visit their Facebook page or Rebekah Todd’s website.

Rebekah Todd playing “Tin Roof” inside the Port City Daily newsroom

Rebekah Todd’s “Can’t Sleep Blues”