Singer-songwriter Royal Wood has spent years perfecting his craft of balladry and pop music. His new album, The Waiting, appropriately begins with a song entitled “You Can’t Go Back.” And why would he, when with each new release Royal Wood delivers another collection of heartrending and honest tales of love, loss and life more impressive than the last. It now seems more than ever that Wood has found his voice. “This record is about the duality of life and how at times, I seemingly waited for the mirrored experience to return,” says Wood. “I went through so many severe shifts personally and all of that turbulence led to serious thought and reflection. That is why these songs were born and why they are my most personal and introspective to date.”
Royal Wood’s voice, songwriting and musical prowess caught the ear of Pierre Marchand and led to Wood’s decision to let others into his creative universe. On previous albums (A Good Enough Day, Tall Tales, and The Milkweed EP), Wood self-produced, arranged and played the vast majority of the instruments. Pierre Marchand, a heavy hitter best known for his work with Sarah McLachlan, produced three of The Waiting’s tracks. “I wanted someone who was going to push me artistically, get me out of my comfort zone and who I could inevitably learn something from,” says Wood. “That was Pierre.”
The first single “On Top Of Your Love” demonstrates a primal theme. It’s a driving piano track that has a very obvious message. “That song is simply about lust,” says Wood. “About being separated from someone you just can’t have.” Wood is more delicate and sweet in his delivery on “The Island” and “A Discovery.”
“I had to make a conscious decision to include my first attempt at true ‘love’ songs. I’ve always written about having lost, or being about to lose, or wanting to lose love… I’ve always had one foot out the door,” says the no-longer-reluctant romantic. “I’m very intimate and honest in what I create. But there’s something great about I-want-to-hold-your-hand songs when someone else writes them and I realized I finally had the inspiration to make my own.”
This doesn’t mean Wood isn’t beyond examining his past, though. The rock-fueled “Do You Recall” investigates the ended relationships of years gone by. “Do You Recall was an amalgamation of breakups — when you’re looking back and you don’t really know what it was that lead to their demise,” says Wood.
Love won and lost is not the only topic of discussion for Wood. “Tonight I Will Be Your Guide” is a lifeline to a loved one recalling a Tom Waits-style of Salvation Army brass and jazz trio. “Birds On Sunday” asks the almost pleading spiritual question “why won’t those birds begin to sing?” that features some of the many string and horn arrangements Wood composed for this record.
Rounding out the album is a long overdue fan favourite entitled “Lady In White,” which includes a group vocal section inspired by Wood’s ability to get his audience to sing along each night to draw the show to a close.
Royal Wood’s career trajectory is building fan by fan through word of mouth, critical acclaim and impressive musical achievements. He was named iTunes’ Songwriter of the Year, supported national tours with Serena Ryder and Sarah Slean and landed song placements in TV shows like Grey’s Anatomy. With the release of The Waiting, his most inspired record to date, an upcoming national theatre tour with David Gray and more in the works, now more than ever Royal Wood is an artist on the rise.