U of A Student to Appear on The Voice

Trey O'Dell
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Trey O'Dell

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The first time Trey O’Dell performed in public was on an elementary school stage in his hometown. He was 2 years old and he sang an Elvis Presley song wearing full Elvis regalia – making him maybe the world’s youngest Elvis impersonator.

The next time the University of Arkansas junior performs in public will be on national television, with his audition performance for the popular musical competition, The Voice. It’s expected to air on NBC at 7 p.m. Monday, March 8 or Tuesday, March 9, although it might be held for another “Blind Auditions” episode the following week.

Whenever it airs, he won’t be impersonating anyone.

“I auditioned for The Voice in Oklahoma City,” he said. “I heard they had around 40,000 people audition last year, but after this audition I was invited to Los Angeles to audition for the show. I feel pretty lucky.”

O’Dell has done a lot of singing since his first performance: in church and school choirs from grade school through high school, as well as in statewide talent competitions. He earned a vocal music scholarship to the U of A and sings in the honor choir, Schola Cantorum.

But he’s not a music major. He’s working on a bachelor’s degree in supply chain management in the Sam M. Walton College of Business. 

“It’s a great program with great professors. I’ve really been learning a lot,” O’Dell said. “I would love to make it in the music industry, but if that doesn’t happen I want to have a degree and a career I can pursue.”

Once he knew he was going to be competing on The Voice, O’Dell asked permission to take the spring semester off. He knew his academic and musical performance would suffer if he tried to do them both.

O’Dell’s choir scholarship and academic scholarships – including a Brandon Burlsworth Memorial Scholarship he received last year -- made it easier for him to attend the University of Arkansas, but they weren’t the deciding factor.

“I always wanted to go to the U of A,” he said. “I’m from Arkansas, I’m a huge Hog fan, this is where I wanted to be, and that’s what I’m doing – living the dream.”

Moving to Fayetteville also gave him the opportunity to pursue his dream of becoming a singer/songwriter. His first two years of school were spent working hard to establish himself in the Northwest Arkansas music/arts scene. During that time, he started making connections with local musicians and started playing whenever and wherever he could.

Over the past two years, O’Dell has been playing various local venues – including the venerable George’s Majestic Lounge – as an opening act for local bands. He covers anyone from Justin Bieber to Michael Jackson, respecting the stars from yesterday as well as today.

He invested the money he earned from those gigs in recording songs, buying new equipment, and producing videos and posting them on YouTube.

His family will be traveling with him to Los Angeles. O’Dell is the son of John and Maribeth O’Dell. He has one sister, Breanne, who is a junior in high school.

“They’ve been so supportive all my life. They push me to go for my dreams,” he said. “And I just want to make them proud.”

John O’Dell III – Trey – credits his father for his musical background. John O’Dell, Jr. comes from a musical family and has been singing all his life, primarily in gospel choirs and groups.

“He always sang harmony,” said Trey O’Dell. “I learned to harmonize by listening and singing with him.”

While attending the U of A, he has often been invited to perform the Star-Spangled Banner at Razorback sporting events. Last year he sang the national anthem in Kansas City at a Sporting KC Major League Soccer game.

O’Dell describes himself as an “indie/pop” singer. His influences include John Mayer, Phillip Phillips, James Bay, and Ed Sheeran. Following their examples, he began writing his own songs and recorded his self-titled EP Trey O’Dell last year. You can find his original music on Apple Music, iTunes, Spotify, and Google Play.

He is also on Instagram/Twitter @treyodellmusic, has an artist page on Facebook, and his official website is treyodell.com.


Steve Voorhies, manager of media relations
University Relations
479-575-3583, voorhies@uark.edu


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