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Interview: Royal Wood

Royal Wood 1a

It’s only January, but Royal Wood already knows it’s going to be an exciting — albeit busy — year.

His Western Canadian tour is already underway, his new album The Burning Bright will be released on March 18, 2014, and then he’ll be back on the road for concerts and music festivals from May into the new year.

That’s right, he’s already planning ahead to 2015. See? It’s going to be a busy year for this Canadian folk/pop/alternative artist I suggest you listen to his music yourself to get a sense of his genre-bending sound: sometimes upbeat and addictive (“On Top Of Your Love”), sometimes throbbing with emotion (“Do You Recall”), sometimes breathtakingly simple (“Juliet”).

Royal will preview some new material during his Western Canadian tour — including the already-released single “Forever and Ever” — but will treat fans to some familiar favourites. “I plan my shows as if I were an audience member,” Wood says, who knows that fans come to the shows to hear “the hits”, which they can engage with more than songs they’ve never heard. Wood’s Western Canadian tour will be “a big spectacle of a show . . . I’m touring with a full band, lights, everything… I tried to make something world class.”

The new material debuted will be songs from The Burning Bright, an album that Wood describes as “honest, raw, and vulnerable.” Wood wrote most of the album on a creative sabbatical, of sorts, in Ireland. “I’m so connected to this album . . . I’d just paint or write or play piano and just create. As an artist you hope every record is different, and this is the most introspective one I’ve made. I finally feel like I’ve made art for art’s sake. With the last record I got pulled into the business side . . . but with [The Burning Bright] I’m more artistically satisfied.”

While writing the album, Wood took a hiatus from social media and the internet. Now, Wood’s a little more inviting of social media. “[As an artist] it’s necessary,” Wood explains, “and it can be enjoyable, I’ve had memorable moments . . . and I’ve got my Street Team who do incredible things with social media . . . but there’s nothing like face to face communication. I don’t want to hear how you are over text. I want to meet for coffee and talk to you to find out. [The internet] has made art disposable . . . anyone can make something and give it away for free. But one thing that can’t be copied is a live show. It’s a very special moment for me — and, I hope, the audience — being there on stage. I like that.”

With explanations like that, I’d like to meet Wood for coffee to hear more — and you’re going to want to see him, too.

Wood’s show at The Arden in St. Albert is sold out, but there are still tickets available for his Friday, January 24 show at the Maclab Centre in Leduc via www.tixonthesquare.com. If you missed him this time around, don’t worry — his next tour begins in May 2014 and continues through 2015. An exact schedule of dates will soon be announced.

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