Toronto singer-songwriter Royal Wood is in a very good place these days. He has an excellent new record out, We Were Born To Glory (read my review here and watch the video for the first single Not Giving Up here), that sees him expanding upon his impeccable knack for gorgeous pop melodies.
This isn’t to say that Wood’s previous effort, 2010’s The Waiting, was a dud by any means. But if you were to put The Waiting and We Were Born To Glory side-by-side, it would be an interesting study in contrasts. Where The Waiting’s power lay in its pristine ballads, We Were Born To Glory sounds like a celebration of life.
Enlisting the help of his trusted production collaborator Dean Drouillard to co-produce his new record, Wood returned to Pierre Marchand’s Montreal studio space to begin the recording process.
“With each record I try to break boundaries and create something I haven’t made before. I wanted to push myself not only artistically, but emotionally as well. Exceeding my own potential was the major thread of this record.”
The MusicNerd Chronicles recently had the chance to chat with Wood about growing older as well as the inspiration behind the making of We Were Born To Glory.
Listening to the record, it has a much more light feeling running through it compared to The Waiting. Was this an intentional move on your part?
Wood: Everything with this record was a different approach. After touring The Waiting, I had discovered that I wasn’t necessarily at the place I wanted to be in terms of writing a new record and decided that I had to dedicate a good month to writing new songs and nothing else. So I went to Montreal, took the phone off the hook, told everyone not to text or email me and just wrote every single day. It ended up being a reflection of such a specific moment in time; I was energetic and excited and feel that, as much as the record can sometimes examine darker subject matter, there is a feeling of hope that runs through the record as well. I never feel as though I am relegated to being the moody, depressed balladeer.
What do you attribute the more optimistic feel of the record to?
Wood: Honestly, life events played a part in that but overall, I am just feeling more optimistic. I feel so lucky to be alive right now.
With the richness contained in these new songs, does it present any challenges when it comes to performing them live?
Wood: The new record definitely added a lot of variables that we need to cover when it came to translating these songs live. I am such a fan of the Beatles and that era of recording where they would employ something only for a bar or bridge of a song. There are those types of little passages all over this record so we are a busy bunch on stage. I have never been one to believe in employing studio trickery because I think people are smart enough to recognize when you’re padding your record with stuff you can’t pull off live. I have always been one to follow the golden age of recording and if feel that if we can’t pull it off live, we don’t put it onto the record.