For those who are unfamiliar with one of Canada’s most well loved singer/songwriters, you can catch our intro to Royal Wood from a few years ago HERE. We were able to sit down with the very gregarious, ever smiling, Royal Wood (who’s named after his grandfather), and talk to him about life on the road and his upcoming new album, Ghost Light, as he took a break before his sold out second night at Minstrel Cafe in Kelowna’s wine country.
nightMair Creative: last time we spoke to you, you had just been nominated for Songwriter of the Year and Album of the Year at the 2011 Junos. Seeing as how songwriter category isn’t limited to one genre (like say ‘rock album of the year, country album of the year etc) it must have felt pretty great to be nominated for those categories?
Royal Wood: yes! Songwriter of the Year nomination was the one that meant the most to me. As a kid, all I ever wanted was to be a songwriter. I didn’t want to be a rock star. Didn’t want to be a pop idol or a ‘michael jackson’ I just wanted to write good songs. To have that nomination meant a lot to me – more than I thought it would.
nMC: You’ve been back and forth across this great country more than a few times in the last few years – how do you (or any band) manage to do this without saturating the market, and yet still able to make a living as a musician/songwriter?
RW: I think you have to look inward. I think if you make something genuine, something real, something unique, you never lose people, your fan base. They continue to come. Like last night – it was someone’s 15th show! I would like to think that every show I do on every tour, is different. I try to be spontaneous and creative, to change how I perform, and who I take out on the road with me. I definitely change things up from album to album, and am never afraid to try something new, so I think that’s why people want to come along with me. You may lose a few, but you’ll also gain a few new fans by doing this.
nMC: do you find that its easier for a solo artist, or a singer/songwriter perhaps, than say a four piece rock or pop band, to find a wider range of venues to play?
RW: Yes definitely. As a theatre artist, I get to perform in the biggest beautiful theatres across this country, and then I also get to perform in the secondary markets of smaller cities and smaller venues. This country is vast – there are enough venues in BC alone to play for up to 2-3 weeks. We do that kind of thing all the time – treat each province like its own country, much like you would when you tour Europe.
Sometimes I do a duo or a quartet, and in bigger venues I bring my back up singers, horn section, strings… I’m performing with a symphony orchestra in Ontario in May at a 2500 seat theatre, and I’m performing here in BC as a solo; just my tour manager with me.
nMC: The new album, Ghost Light is due out April 22 — where did the title come from?
RW: A ghost light is an old theatre tradition of lighting a lamp to keep the ghosts of the theatre at bay. Ghost Light the title is based on the song of the same name I wrote a few years ago about the idea of extinguishing the ghost light in the theatre, and allowing the ghosts into the performance, into the energy of what’s happening on stage. I kind of tucked the song away for awhile and then brought it out and it became the album title as well.
nMC: Very cool idea. Can’t wait to hear it. Hopefully a tour too?
RW: yes, the tour kicks off end of April with Canadian dates mostly eastern, then we head to the US for a few weeks, back to Canada for festivals, and then off to Europe before coming out west for the final Canadian dates, and there is talk of an Australia and Japan tour too.
nMC: super busy!
RW: Yes! but its all good. My bliss is making music, performing, writing.. its a good life.
Royal Wood’s album, Ghost Light, is out April 22 on iTunes (with 2 bonus tracks), or HMV, Walmart, Target etc, and tour dates can be found on his website. Be sure to catch one of his shows.