Tell us about your new single “Wanderlust”, which you co-wrote with your producer Doug Romanow and Jane Bach.
It’s not a typical country song. There are influences of soul and R&B with country roots. It’s a song about a sense of freedom, travel and a desire to explore. I hope “Wanderlust” inspires listeners to do just that – explore! And I hope they dance and groove to the song while doing so!
When we went to write this song, I expressed to my co-writers that I was looking for a song that grooves, that’s fun, and expresses my love of exploring. At the time, the screensaver on my phone was a quote that said “Wanderlust: the desire and longing to travel and roam about”, so we knew that’s what we wanted the title to be.
“Wanderlust” introduces us to the Country Soul side of you. How important is it to you to change your sound up like this from time to time?
Soul, Motown, and classic rock have been major influences on me since I was young. My dad is a bass player and brought me up on a lot of that music, so it felt very natural for me to add some of that to my current sound. It’s important for me to showcase more than just one side of me. I want people to listen to my music and not just hear cool licks and melodies that the band plays and I sing, but also hear my truth, musically and lyrically.
I’m sure you’re now an inspiration to young artists who want to follow the path you’re on. What’s one important piece of advice you could pass on to them?
Don’t let anyone bully you into creating a song or going in a direction that you’re not one hundred percent on board with. If you’re true to who you are as an artist, and with what you want, the right people will be attracted to that. You’ll end up creating something genuine and honest, and listeners will relate to that and be able to hear that.
It must be challenging to know when to stand your ground and when to take feedback to heart. As an artist yourself, how do you walk that Iine?
l’m open-minded and will take feedback from sources I trust. However, I’m also a very independent person, so I won’t do or sing something that I feel uncomfortable with. The people I’ve worked with on this record have been incredible and worked WITH me. We’re a team, and while creating this record we listened to each other with respect, knowing that each person brought unique creativity to the project. I feel like that’s the perfect way to create something beautiful – to keep any ego outside of the creative process, and truly listen with respect to what everyone is bringing to the song.
Who are some of the artists you’ve got on repeat these days?
Lady Antebellum, Maren Morris, Lindsay Ell, Sheryl Crow, Joss Stone, The Avett Brothers…there’s a few more on that list! Lol
Let’s say you’ve just written a powerful duet and Doug can get you any singing partner in the studio. Who do you choose and why?
My female duet choice would be Shania Twain because… well, it’s Shania! She has been my idol, literally since day one. My male duet choice would be Justin Timberlake. I know he’s not country, but he’s got a soulful voice and I saw him live in concert and he was amazing! He’s also a great musician and songwriter.
What are some of the goals you have for yourself in your music career in 2018?
My ultimate goal is to play as many live shows and festivals as I possibly can. I also would LOVE to be able to travel to Europe and tour the festival circuit and play live shows over there!
I know traveling is a passion of yours. Is there anywhere you haven’t been yet that’s on your must-see list?
There are SO many places on that list! But the Top 5 places are Bali, Australia, Japan, Brazil and the Okavango river basin in Africa (during the wet season so I can see all of the wildlife!)
Little known fact: I studied geography in my undergrad and had a course called “World Rivers” and there are a lot of places I want to see because of that course!
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.