Interview by Kim King
How was life growing up for you?
I am very fortunate to have a great family who has supported me throughout launching my first album.
Why did music become your passion?
Music became my passion. because it was a way for me to spread the joy that music brought me to a wider audience. Music has always been something that I have felt inside.
At what age did you start playing the piano?
I started playing piano when I was very young, but it wasn’t until 5th or 6th grade that I started writing songs. Over time I started working with a songwriting mentor and also switched from classical piano to a more jazz oriented style of piano teaching which taught me a lot about chords and different progressions. This helped take my songs to another, more sophisticated level.
What is something that is unique about your childhood?
Something unique about my childhood is that I go to boarding school. Both of my parents and sister went to boarding school and although it isn’t uncommon near where I live, I feel like it isn’t very common in many places. I have loved going to boarding school for high school, because being away from home has helped me grow as a person but also as a songwriter.
What was the greatest takeaway from your first experience on stage?
My first major experience on stage was when I won a songwriting contest three years ago. I performed my winning song for an audience of about 50 people. This was definitely a special moment that I won’t forget. I realized how proud I was of my music, this event inspired me to keep working hard and write more songs.
What can people expect from your album Hideaway?
People can expect nine songs that trace my journey as a songwriter throughout the past two years.
What emotions did you experience while writing this album?
I try to evoke emotions of friendship in my songwriting, but also most importantly I try to write songs thinking about how people would be able to relate them. I think the best songs are songs that have so much meaning for you as a singer and songwriter, but also for the listener. I experienced many emotions while writing this album as it was an evolution of myself as a person and songwriter.
What inspired the name for your album?
The title track of the album is called Hideaway and the meaning behind it, I feel is really poignant especially right now. There is so much going on in the world and it can be really overwhelming. Hideaway is about finding your own hideaway or space to breathe and be yourself. In the lyrics it’s pretty ambiguous and open to interpretation, because everyone has their own hideaway or a state of mind that brings them a sentiment of tranquility and peace.
Were there any musical inspirations for this album?
My musical inspiration for this album definitely has to be Taylor Swift. Watching her transform from country to pop and back is really inspiring to me. When I listen to different artists, I try to imagine how the artist creates her/his songs and lyrics. Some other inspirations for this album have to be Maggie Rogers, Chelsea Cutler and Kacey Musgraves, because since the beginning of the pandemic I have fallen in love with their music and their way of songwriting. Listening to many different artists has definitely inspired a new way I think about my own songs and writing.
What was your writing process for this album and how did audience feedback influence your style?
For this album, my writing process was mostly finding the melodies first and then the lyrics. Frequently, I also worked section by section on the songs to really hone in on each part of the song to make it as memorable as possible. The actual writing process for each song differs. Sometimes it takes months to finish a song, sometimes it takes an hour.
What do you want people to feel after listening to your album?
I want people to feel like they experienced all of the different aspects of my music, whether it be dance inspired songs or more ballads or country influenced tracks. From the first song to the last, each song builds on one another and takes the listener on a journey. I hope that people will be able to connect with my songs and lyrics in a way that resonates with them personally. I also hope that people feel uplifted by my music as music is essential to well-being and joy.
Where can people find you on social media and where can they listen to your music?
People can find me on Instagram @willowwoodwardofficial and listen to my new album of original songs, Hideaway, on all streaming platforms. They can also watch my YouTube videos for “Hideaway” and “Christmas in July” at these links: https://open.spotify.com/album/2F2a3M2jGx9U3P3zcKTYy3?si=k4HNZrx4RSOO0tBp3kj3SA https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=39GekL-yYb0