Royal Wood a return to innocence and embracing of one`s inner voice

Monday 12th, June 2017 / 18:23
By Heather Adamson

Photo by Jen Squires

VANCOUVER – Royal Wood has been a sought after songwriter for more than a decade now, sharing his time between LA and Toronto. Born John Royal Wood Nicholson but performing under his given middle names, his eighth album, Ghost Light, was a cathartic expression that was brought upon by significant loss and a recognition of life`s fragility and beauty. With no plans to make an album, Wood entered the studio and the songs came immediately. “The album felt like a natural evolution and I needed to get out of the way,” shares Wood. “My father passed away and I lost my last grandparent. I felt there were spirits in the room and serendipity surrounding me. The record came so fast; a song a day or every other day. It was a little too perfect.”

Coming off his album The Burning Bright (2014), Wood had been incredibly busy and was used to sharing a lot of his music during production and writing, whereas Ghost Light was much more of an insular experience and process. “I didn`t tell anyone I was making an album,” says Wood. “No one heard any of the songs until I had recorded them.” It was something he needed to experience, a completely independent and individual approach, which allowed Wood to let go of a lot internally to help him grow as a person and artist. “I didn`t realize how much I needed to go through that on my own to get to where I am now, which is being more collaborative than ever before. I have gone from making an album completely by myself to now working on music where every single song is a co-write. I have never enjoyed making music more than I am right now. When you let people into your world, you elevate your own world.”

Wood also fully embraced a return to writing and recording simply for the joy of creation, similar to how he approached music as a kid. “When I was a kid I had a natural inclination to create and make something unique that day. I had lost that somewhere along the way but found it again with the making of Ghost Light.”
It is this philosophy that is driving his current dedication and commitment that has landed him a coveted spot on Bonnie Raitt`s upcoming tour. Being personally selected by her and her team, it is a huge feather in the cap to be opening for an artist he has adored since childhood. “I remember being a little kid and seeing her on Saturday Night Live and the next day I went and got her record and a slide for my guitar. I have done festivals with her and watched from the side stage. She can sing and perform like so few people. She is a power house of a human being.”

Whether it is surrounding himself with fellow musicians and songwriters in the making of new music or touring with someone as esteemed as Bonnie Raitt, Royal Wood is living with a current mantra of being open to anything and seeking to learn from as many people as possible. “They say you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with,” shared Wood. “So these days I am feeling pretty damn good.”

Royal Wood performs with Bonnie Raitt on June 19 at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre.

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