An Interview With Canadian Singer/Songwriter Brooke Woods (Of Candor)
Brooke Woods (who now performs under the moniker “Of Candor”) is an Edmonton-based singer/songwriter. She seeks to explore relationships on many different levels in her songwriting. I talked to Brooke about her creative process, the themes that she wants to explore and her process of discovering herself as an artist.
Interview With Brooke Woods
Karl Magi: Talk about how you got started making music.
Brooke Woods: I suppose it started the way it does for most people. My mother put me in piano lessons when I was six. I learned from a fantastic and passionate teacher who really helped foster my desire to understand more about music. In middle school, I took guitar and vocal lessons up until I made the move to Edmonton. I went to school here and I recorded my first EP here. I've stuck around - I think it might be growing on me.
KM: Which artists have been most influential to you as a songwriter?
BW: My brother, Matthew Ryan Woods and my sister-in-law, Chloe Albert, have been extremely influential for me in music. I had the good fortune to watch Matthew perform and create music when I was just a kid; I've always been inspired by the care he puts into his craft. Chloe has this incredible way of writing and performing songs that move a person to be in the moment and really feel. I don't think I'd be a musician myself without them and their love and support.
Liza Anne is this incredible songwriter from Nashville who I look up to in so many ways. I've always been pushing myself to be more honest in my music and she and her art are a big reminder for me of why it's important and what it can become.
KM: How do you craft songs? What approach do you take to piecing together words and music?
BW: Every song is a bit different! I tend to start with one line that sticks with me. If it plays over and over in my head, it tends to find its way into a chorus. I usually write on my own, but I'm looking forward to some cowriting with other local songwriters this year.
Typically I write songs based on experiences that I’ve had in relationships - from platonic to romantic and even just the foundational perceptions of others. I’ll write about figuring those things out in my music. I find writing to be an incredible tool to express and explore - in doing so I usually find closure and deeper understanding.
I’m a very introspective person and my song writing definitely goes along with that.
KM: What are your thoughts on the recording process as an artist?
BW: Oh, it’s so cool! The first EP I put out was the first time I’d been in a studio since I’d finished school. I recorded with Stew Kirkwood at Sound Extractor Studios and he’s wonderful. He really helped bring my project to life.
KM: Tell me more about the new music that you plan on releasing later this year.
BW: So far, I’ve been playing acoustic folk-pop, but I’m going in a little bit of a different direction with my new music. I’m bringing out my electric guitar a bit more and I want to delve more deeply into who I am as an artist. I used to be afraid of sharing the process of my art so publicly, but this time it feels different.
I’ve finally become comfortable in the realization that the place of the unknown and a sense of discomfort is often where an artist’s best work is created. I’m hopeful and excited to share the journey of discovering my sound some more.
It was the first time I’d played my own original music with a full band and it was incredible to see what they brought out in their instruments and creativity. I’m forever grateful to them for believing in my music enough to be a part of it.
KM: What has challenged you as you’ve taken the path towards making a musical career?
BW: The industry has its challenges, and it also luckily has room for victories within those challenges. Something I try to do every day is make music with meaning. That may sound like a given, but it can be hard to be completely real and even candid at times. It's easy, as a human and as a woman, to feel the need to tone down our words and assertions. I'm learning not to - that's where growth and creativity live.
KM: Talk about how you see your segment of the music scene today.
BW: I think I'm in great company, if I'm able to call it that. I still find it hard to believe that I get to make music in a community filled with such talented and hardworking individuals/artists.
It can be a little scary to share your music with other people, but so far it’s been inclusive and wonderful. People are just so supportive.
The amount of talent that’s out there in Alberta is really inspiring. It’s great to have these people around to look up to. In the business side of things, Alberta is also really growing. There are so many great organizations and resources available to artists here and I consider myself very fortunate to be able to reach out and ask for help when I need it. They really make you feel good about what you’re doing, and that’s such a gift as an artist.
KM: What does the future hold for your musical career?
BW: I’m making a band name change. I’m going to be going by Of Candor. Originally, I released music under my legal name, but I’ve always kind of wanted my art to have its own place in music. I’ve always thought that having a little bit of a separation between my own personality and my art would work the best for me.
Integrity and honesty have always been the main focus of my music and my art, so I felt like coming up with a moniker would be appropriate only if it embodied this. And, as it goes, you’ll find these things in the strangest of ways. I actually came across the word, “candor” countless times in my studies while pursuing my degree, and it means honesty in expression. It really nailed down what I want to do with my music, so I spoke with a friend about it, and we came up with Of Candor and it’s really stuck with me.
I'm looking forward to releasing some new music this spring! I'm also in the planning stages of my first mini-tour set to take place this summer.
KM: How do you recharge your creative batteries?
BW: I try to maintain a balance by working out (hot yoga is great for mindfulness!), goal setting (not just music!), walking or running outside (vitamin D!), and talking to family and friends who thankfully listen to me while I babble on about anything they'll let me.
On particularly great days, I get to visit my family and friends and spend time on Kootenay Lake in my hometown of Nelson, British Columbia.