Lucy Woodward Bio
Born in London, Lucy spent her childhood in New York and Holland. She is the daughter of two classical musicians - her father a conductor and composer, her mother an opera singer, musicologist, teacher and bellydancer. No matter which household she was living in, she was "always music-making and creating."
Fresh out of school, she was singing jazz in NYC's West Village for tips, singing in cover bands and writing songs before signing with Atlantic Records (2003) -a time period that saw her score a Top 40 hit with "Dumb Girls" and another Top 5 hit she wrote for Stacie Orrico called "(There's Gotta Be) More to Life", earning her 2 BMI Awards. With her debut record in tow, she toured the US, Japan and New Zealand and appeared on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.
But Woodward had no desire to be a pop starlet: her follow-up, the jazzier, punchier indie record Lucy Woodward is...Hot and Bothered was released in 2008 which "shed new light" on music-making again. Hot and Bothered was inspired by her days at Manhattan School of Music, lots of Etta James and the 1967 classic animated film The Jungle Book bringing her back to her bluesy roots. Billboard described how "Lucy's a ball, equally appreciable for fans of melodic sing-along baubles and highbrow aficionados of finely honed musical composition. A sonic turnstile that flips through dreamy pop, jazz and bluesy bebop".
This, in turn, was followed by Hooked!, an album of Brill Building meets Big Band songs, released on Verve/Universal (2010) -- which was largely produced by Tony Visconti (David Bowie). The album effortlessly moves across multiple genres, including gypsy-swing, jazz and rhythm & blues. Along with her self-penned compositions, the album showcases Lucy's stunning covers of Peggy Lee's Cuban-inspired "Sans Souci" and an a cappella Hoagy Carmichael classic, "Stardust." Nellie McKay, who Lucy had always been a hardcore fan of, wrote a song for her called "Another Woman" which Lucy recorded on Hooked! as well (featuring Nellie on background vocals).
In 2012, Lucy was asked to tour as a band member filling in for the lead singer of Pink Martini learning songs in Turkish, French Croatian, Japanese and Spanish with 6 days notice. Lucy's dates with Pink Martini varied from Montreal Jazz Fest to singing with the San Francisco Symphony for several performances. That same year, Lucy has also toured overseas sponsored by Armed Forces Entertainment, performing for American military units stationed in Spain, Italy and Turkey.
Lucy met Snarky Puppy bandleader Michael League, who played bass in her NYC band at the time. She started opening for Snarky Puppy (with them as her backing band) and was featured on Snarky Puppy's Family Dinner, Vol. 1 album singing the hauntingly bluesy "Too Hot To Last", earning them their first Grammy. League and longtime friend keyboardist/arranger Henry Hey (Forq, Rudder, David Bowie) co-produced her fourth solo album Til They Bang on The Door, which was released on GroundUP/Verve/Universal in 2016. The album features the Snarky Puppy horns, Cory Henry on organ and Grammy nominees trombonist Alan Ferber and cellist Dave Eggar as well as many other musicians in their NYC community. She continues to tour with Snarky Puppy and Forq.
In 2017, she debuted her material with Big Band arrangements from two of her albums performing at Aarhus Jazz Festival and Jam Days with TipToe Big Band in Denmark, Holland and in Los Angeles with The Dave Richards Big Band. In early 2018, Lucy toured with The Charlie Hunter Trio, a band consisting of just guitar, percussion and vocals and will record later in the year.
In addition to her solo career, Woodward toured with Rod Stewart for many years singing background vocals. She has also sung on albums by Celine Dion, Nikka Costa, Chaka Khan, Carole King, Joe Cocker and Snarky Puppy. Her songs and vocals have been heard in movies including What a Girl Wants, The Blind Side, Music and Lyrics, New Year's Eve, First Daughter, Last Vegas and Disney's Ice Princess, with her rendition of Bjork/Betty Hutton big band cover "It's Oh So Quiet."
She will be touring in the US and Europe throughout 2018.
July 15, 2016
Til They Bang On The Door (2016)
"So, about that album title..."
"It's the 'neighbors telling you to turn down the music' moment. It's the magical hour," explains Lucy Woodward. "It's that moment when anything can go right or wrong."
A perfect summation for Til They Bang on the Door, a slinky, brassy and decidedly sexy record that marks a bold, new direction for the singer.
Bang is the culmination of a long and decidedly varied musical journey for Woodward. The daughter of two classical musicians, the singer spent her childhood, as she puts it, "music-making and creating." Fresh out of school, she was singing jazz on Bleecker St. for tips, singing in cover bands and writing songs before signing with Atlantic Records—a time period that saw her score a Top 40 hit with "Dumb Girls" and another Top 5 hit she wrote for Stacie Orrico called "(There's Gotta Be) More to Life."
But Woodward had no desire to be a pop starlet: her follow-up, the jazzier Lucy Woodward is...Hot and Bothered, produced by Itaal Shur (Santana, Maxwell) and Tim K (Tiny Hearts) was released in a unique indie arrangement with Barnes and Noble. This, in turn, was followed by Hooked!, an album of Brill Building meets swing-styled songs, released on Verve and produced by Tony Visconti (David Bowie, T-Rex).
Along the way, Woodward toured as a band member filling in for the lead singer of Pink Martini. She has also recorded with Rod Stewart, Celine Dion, Carole King, and Joe Cocker. Her songs and vocals have been heard in movies including What a Girl Wants, The Blind Side, Music and Lyrics, First Daughter and Ice Princess, featuring the Betty Hutton/Bjork classic "It's Oh So Quiet."Bang marks Woodward's long-awaited solo return, her first album in six years. "It took a while, but I knew where I wanted to go with this record," she says. "And I knew who I wanted to work with."
Looking for "crazy, low brass instrumentation with feminine vocals," she paired up with an all-star recording cast, featuring co-producer Michael League (Snarky Puppy), co-producer/ keyboardist extraordinaire Henry Hey (David Bowie, George Michael), engineer/mixer Nic Hard, organist Cory Henry and core musicians from Snarky Puppy. "I loved collaborating with some of the best musicians in New York who also happen to be dear friends. I've worked with them all over the years," she says. "I had been touring with Snarky Puppy which is what sparked the whole concept. In pretty much one Skype conversation with Henry, Mike and I, we knew where this was going to go. I wanted to surf on a wave of horns."
Lyrically, the record is Woodward's most dramatic, offering moments of both melancholia and wild abandon. "Much of Bang is me coming out of a breakup and not having the money for therapy," she says, laughing. "It's being not quite ready for another relationship and seeing the beauty within that stage, too. But hey, I've always written sad love songs, even when I was 12, before I even knew what love songs really were."
The unfolding romantic twists and turns Woodward embraces on Bang is matched by the dramatic fits in her music: opening with the Shirley Bassey-style "Ladykiller," the album segues into upbeat pop (first single "Kiss Me Mister Histrionics") and one guaranteed live singalong "Be My Husband" (recorded with the ever-soulful Everett Bradley) before ending—like the moment after a big storm settles—with the beautiful piano ballad "Free Spirit."
You may recognize a few tracks: Ruth Brown's "I Don't Know" has been part of Woodward's live arsenal for years, as well as a new take on "Too Hot to Last," featuring a trombone choir as a backdrop for the piece. Originally the song was performed by Woodward with Snarky Puppy on their 2013 Grammy-winning Family Dinner (Volume 1) album.
Bang is Woodward's first release on GroundUP Music, the breakthrough indie label started by Michael League (a co-producer on Bang). "Being on GroundUP is no comparison to anything else I've ever done," she says. "There's no A&R person saying "Do this or do that." We all just want each other to be happy. We all have this idea that as long as the vibe is great, and with the right dynamic, anything is possible."
Woodward plans to hit the road soon, performing for one of the most diverse fan bases in modern music. "I can see an audience growing with me," she says. "When I play live, there are fans from 10 or 15 years ago bringing their kids. But now, I've been exposed a bit more to the jazz world and from working with Rod Stewart and they are all incredibly supportive."
"I've never worked so hard in my life!" she admits, after juggling tours with Rod Stewart and running home to finish recording the album the past couple of years. "Four records in, and I can tell you, it's been a rollercoaster. But what other choice do I have? You have to love, love, love what you do so much. And I do. It's kinda cool that I still surprise myself."
Not leaving her with time for a lot of those, well, "magical hours."