Early Life and Family
Lucy was born in London, the daughter of British conductor and composer Kerry Woodward and his American wife, a staff editor on The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians and studying for the opera. Her parents were preparing Viktor Ullmann’s opera Der Kaiser von Atlantis for performance when her father was appointed musical director of the Netherlands Chamber Choir. The family spent two years in Amsterdam before her parents separated and Lucy and her younger brother accompanied her mother back to New York. There they lived in close contact with her maternal grandparents, meteorologist James Halitsky and his wife Sylvia, an educational psychologist at a residential treatment center for court-referred children. Lucy’s mother worked on subsequent editions of Grove, bellydanced professionally, and became a music teacher and chorusmaster in the NYC public school system.
Raised on classical and Middle-Eastern music, Lucy studied piano and flute before asking for singing lessons at age 12. She attended a Bronx high school renowned for its music department and made her first recordings singing house music in her friends’ basements. She spent part of each summer in music camp and part in Holland, where she frequently locked herself up in her father’s studio and listened to jazz and old R&B records. At 16 she was accepted into the Manhattan School of Music to study jazz, but after a year decided to learn her songwriting and performing skills on her own. She spent the next few years performing in swing-organ trios, working as a session singer, waiting tables, and singing jazz standards in Greenwich Village restaurants.
2003: While You Can
In 2003 Lucy signed with Atlantic Records and recorded her debut album While You Can, out of which came the Top 40 hit “Dumb Girls,” produced by Kevin Kadish; other songs on the record were produced by John Shanks at Jim Henson Studios. AllMusic found the album derivative and formulaic. She toured internationally and appeared on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Although her efforts won her some mainstream notoriety, making slick, radio-ready pop and sharing bills with lip-synching teen acts proved artistically unsatisfying for her.
The following year, Lucy was asked by producer friend Jaime Houston to record a version of the big-band tune "It's Oh So Quiet" for the Disney film Ice Princess. The song had originally been recorded by Betty Hutton in 1948 and was subsequently popularized by Björk. Lucy credits it as being a major creative turning point for her, one that inspired much of the writing in her second album.
2008: Lucy Woodward Is ... Hot and Bothered
Lucy began her musical reinvention on her second album, the independently released Lucy Woodward Is... Hot and Bothered (2008), a transitional effort that incorporated R&B grooves and electronic beats, while mining deep-rooted jazz influences. Hot and Bothered was produced by longtime collaborator Itaal Shur (Santana, Maxwell, Groove Collective) and Tim K. (Estero, Les Nubians) and was distributed by Barnes & Noble as part of its Discover Great New Music program. The title song, "Hot and Bothered," takes the melody of a Yiddish lullaby that Lucy's grandmother had sung to her as a baby. Barnes & Noble named her “Artist of the Month” for August 2008. Initially it was only available through iTunes but on July 29, 2008 there was a physical release exclusively through Barnes & Noble.
Lucy’s third album, Hooked!, was recorded at Stratosphere Sound in New York and Jim Henson Studios in Hollywood and released on Verve Records in 2010. It was largely produced by Tony Visconti (David Bowie, T-Rex), but included contributions by Justin Stanley (Nikka Costa, Sheryl Crow), Itaal Shur and Tim K. Lucy penned much of the record with songwriters Dan Petty and Michelle Lewis, claiming she had been inspired by the music of Peggy Lee and Django Reinhardt. One song on the album, “Another Woman,” was written for her by longtime inspiration Nellie McKay (also Verve), who is also featured on background vocals. AllMusic compared it to Dusty Springfield and Brill Building pop.
Lucy performs at performing arts centers, clubs, and theaters around the country. In late 2011, she was asked by Armed Forces Entertainment to do a tour of the American military bases in Italy, Turkey and Spain. She has toured with the Brooklyn-based funk-fusion band Snarky Puppy, whom she featured on her 2012 cover of Nina Simone’s “Be My Husband.”
In 2011, Lucy was asked to tour with Pink Martini after the band’s singer China Forbes had to undergo vocal surgery. Her quick study of Pink Martini’s repertoire of Croatian, Japanese, French, English and Turkish songs did not go unnoticed in the music press. She toured cross-continent with the band for a number of concerts the same year, including performances at the Toronto and Montreal jazz festivals and Ravinia, as well as a three-night stint with the San Francisco Symphony (Donato Cabrera conducting).
Collaborations, Awards and Other Work
Lucy has contributed songs to several film soundtracks, including The Blind Side, Ice Princess, Music & Lyrics, What a Girl Wants, First Daughter, and Accepted. She co-wrote the Stacie Orrico Top 40 worldwide hit "There's Gotta Be More to Life," which earned her a BMI Christian Music Award in 2004 and a BMI Songwriter's Pop Award in 2005. Originally called “More to Life,” the song was written with Kevin Kadish and Sabelle Breer for Woodward’s 2003 Atlantic debut, but was released instead on the Japanese import record as a bonus track. Woodward appeared in the 2011 Garry Marshall film New Year's Eve where she plays Jon Bon Jovi and Lea Michele's backing vocalist. Woodward co-wrote and recorded "Daylight As Sunset" for Earthrise Soundsystem's debut The Yoga Sessions (2010). Woodward appeared in the September issue of Italian Vogue in an article featuring new up an coming female recording artists in music (2011).
Lucy guested on American Idol judge and noted producer Randy Jackson's 2008 album Randy Jackson's Music Club, Volume 1, and has sung background vocals for Celine Dion, Rod Stewart, Carole King, and Joe Cocker.
A frequent visitor to Kenya and Rwanda, Lucy organizes an annual benefit concert for the Cura Orphanage (outside Nairobi) at Jim Henson Studios. She has performed four times for the United Nations, most recently for the UN Mine Action Service and at the Millennium Development Goals Awards, which was attended by 3000 international dignitaries. Lucy also sang for Desmond Tutu at a benefit for the Desmond Tutu Peace Foundation.
Lucy and recording artists Holly Palmer and Michelle Lewis first came together to sing at a Christmas Party in 2010 and decided soon after to write songs and put together a band. They call themselves The Goods.
- Dumb Girls - 2003
- Blindsided - 2003
- Trouble With Me - 2004
- Slow Recovery - 2007/2010
- Ragdoll - 2010
- Be My Husband - 2012
- Sans Souci - 2010 - Originally recorded by Peggy Lee, written by Peggy Lee and Sonny Burke for the album Lover (1964).
- Stardust" - 2010 - Written by Hoagy Carmichael (1927). Lyrics added later by Mitchell Parish (1929).
- Be My Husband - 2012 - Originally recorded by Nina Simone and written by Andrew Stroud for the album Pastel Blues (1965).
- I Wan'na Be Like You (The Monkey Song)" - 2010 - Originally recorded for Walt Disney's 1967 film, The Jungle Book. Recorded by Louis Prima and written by Robert and Richard Sherman.
- Fashion" - 2010 - Originally recorded and written by David Bowie for the album Scary Monsters (1980).
- It's Oh So Quiet" - 2004 - Originally recorded by Betty Hutton (1951). Written by Hans Lang and Erich Meder (German lyrics). English lyrics by Bert Reisfeld.
- Another Woman" - 2010 - Written by Nellie McKay for Woodward for her album Hooked!.
- The World We Knew (Over and Over)" - 2012 - Recorded by Frank Sinatra for the album The World We Knew (1967). Written by Bert Kaempfert, Herbert Rehbein, Carl Sigman.
- Don't You (Forget About Me)" - 2006 - Originally recorded by Simple Minds (1985).
- "Second Cup Cafe: Lucy Woodward". CBS News. August 5, 2010.
- "While You Can (Review)". AllMusic. Retrieved 30 October 2012.
- "Lucy Woodward Performs at Cabaret Jazz at The Smith Center for the Performing Arts". Vegas News. June 17, 2012.
- "Hooked! (Review)". AllMusic. Retrieved 30 October 2012.