Tell us some of the artists that have influenced you.
Early on, my influences were Barenaked Ladies and Sarah McLachlan. I have always looked up to Patricia Conroy. Right now, Dierks Bentley and Keith Urban are huge influences for me.
You had the opportunity to write and record “Hung Up ” with well-known producer Dave (Dwave) Thomson. This was your first single at Country radio from your EP called “Always Easy”. What was it like working with Dwave?
Working with Dwave was amazing. I won the opportunity after competing in the Magna Hoedown Showdown. We basically had 1 day to write a song and record it the next day. With us both being from Niagara, we had lots in common, which helped. Writing with new people can be hit or miss sometimes. I felt comfortable writing with Dwave and I am super proud of the product and song we achieved.
When you cover songs, do you like to put your own spin on them? What are some of your recent favourite songs to cover?
I always try to cover a song as if I had written it. I think it makes the song more entertaining for the listener. Keith Urban does himself really well…so why not perform a song the way I would do it best… as myself. A few of my favourite covers are “Say Something” by A Great Big World, “Purple Rain” by Prince and “Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen.
What are some songwriting tips you could pass on to our readers?
You have to write every day. Writing from the heart is great and you can get some great songs when the moment is right. Writing each day is the only way to start down the path to being able to craft songs. Never settle on a line. You have to be able to say “Is that line the best it can be?”, and if the answer is no… keep writing.
Who would be your ultimate duet partner and why?
I have been lucky enough this past couple of years to have been able to duet with both Leah Daniels and Beverley Mahood! Both experiences were incredible! I think it would be really cool to sing with Patricia Conroy – bucket list for sure!
What do you personally get from doing an acoustic show at a smaller venue that you can’t get from doing a full band show?
While I love playing a full band show on the big stage for so many reasons, I really do enjoy playing the acoustic shows. There is nowhere to hide. It’s so stripped down and to me, is more of a challenge. If you can stand up in front of an audience and impress them with just your voice and your instrument…you’re on the right track.
Have you had the chance to meet any of your heroes in music?
I know her name has come up many times in this interview….but… Patricia Conroy! I was smiling ear to ear the first time I got a message from her on Twitter complimenting a song I wrote. I have since had the chance to meet her a few times and she is everything you would hope a hero to be!
How important is Nashville in your music career and growth as an artist?
I love Nashville. I think, aside from having so many talented people there to learn from and work with, it’s a great place to see how you measure up. I know many of us can’t afford to go down as often as we would like, but if you’re serious about making a career in music, I think you have to get down there from time to time.
What do you hope to accomplish with future recordings? Any new sounds or styles you want to try?
I am really excited that I will be recording some new music just after the CCMA awards. I will be cutting a few tunes with Bart McKay (Brett Kissel) as well as a couple songs with Jason Barry. The new music will hopefully be part of the new EP that I am working on, with one of the songs heading to radio early in the Fall. Some of the songs will be a departure from what I have done in the past… how? You’ll have to wait and see!
How do you define success in the music business for you?
I have struggled in the past with how I had chosen to define success. That led me to a lot of self doubt and frustration. To me, success is pushing forward each day in the face of what is such a difficult business. I love the music business…I know that it’s hard, it’s rewarding and that there are more setbacks than steps forward. Every day, I wake up and choose to continue working hard towards my dream of making music my full time career. I enjoy the process of both winning AND losing… and to me, if you can do that, you’re a success.
Dave Woods is a monthly columnist for the CMAOntario and has been hosting the popular online radio show “In The Country with Dave Woods” for 8 years. To hear episodes, please visit www.inthecountryinterviews.com, www.soundcloud.com/dave-woods-3 and iTunes.