Lucy Woodward

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Lucy Woodward in 2015

Lucy Woodward is an American singer-songwriter. She is best known for writing Stacie Orrico's hit single "(There's Gotta Be) More to Life" in addition to her singles "Dumb Girls" and "Slow Recovery". Having participated in various parts of the music world from an early age, Woodward's distinctive voice has carried across genres as her career as progressed.[1] With collaborations with funk-fusion group Snarky Puppy, Woodward has created several soul-based records in recent years. Meanwhile, she has maintained backup vocal and collaborative work with artists such as Rod Stewart and Randy Jackson. Woodward's fourth studio album, "'Til They Bang on the Door" was released July 15, 2016.

Early Life and Family[edit]

Woodward was born in London,[2] the daughter of British conductor and composer Kerry Woodward and his American wife, a former staff editor on The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians who had studied for the opera. Her parents were involved in editing a performance edition of Viktor Ullmann’s opera Der Kaiser von Atlantis and mounting its first performances in many countries.[3] When her father was appointed musical director of the Netherlands Chamber Choir, the family relocated to Amsterdam. When her parents separated two years later, Woodward and her younger brother accompanied her mother back to the New York area, where 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. Woodward's mother worked on subsequent editions of Grove Dictionaries, bellydanced professionally, and became a music teacher and chorusmaster in the NYC public school system.

Raised on classical and Middle-Eastern music, Woodward 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 the Netherlands, 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.[4]

2003: While You Can[edit]

In 2003 Woodward 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.[2] AllMusic found the album derivative and formulaic.[5] She toured internationally and appeared on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Although her efforts won her some mainstream notoriety, she sought to move past her place in the teen-oriented pop music scene.[6]

The following year, Woodward 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. Woodward credits it as being a major creative turning point for her, one that inspired much of the writing in her second album.[7]

2008: Lucy Woodward Is ... Hot and Bothered[edit]

Woodward 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 Woodward'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.[8]

2010: Hooked![edit]

Woodward'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. Woodward 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.[9]

Woodward performed 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 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, Woodward 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 received critical acclaim.[10] 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).[11]

2016: Till They Bang on the Door[edit]

After releasing a cover of Nina Simone's "Be My Husband" and her work with Snarky Puppy and The Goods, she produced her fourth studio album. In 2015, she released her EP Till They Bang on the Door[12] and has continued to tour with Rod Stewart. Till They Bang on the Door was released in full on July 15, 2016. It received a 3.5/5 star rating from AllMusic, which calls the release "tantalizing" and "instinctual".[13]

Collaborations, Awards and Other Work[edit]

Woodward 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 2003 and a BMI Songwriter's Pop Award in 2004.[14] 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 and coming female recording artists in music (2011).[15]

Woodward guested on American Idol judge and noted producer Randy Jackson's 2008 album Randy Jackson's Music Club, Vol. 1,[6] and has sung background vocals for Celine Dion, Rod Stewart, Carole King, and Joe Cocker.[16]

A frequent visitor to Kenya and Rwanda, Woodward 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. Woodward also sang for Desmond Tutu at a benefit for the Desmond Tutu Peace Foundation.[6]

The Goods[edit]

Woodward 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. They released a 5-song EP in May 2013 [17]

The Joshua Shneider Love Speaks Orchestra[edit]

The Joshua Shneider Love Speaks Orchestra released an album in October 2013 [18]

Woodward collaborated with fellow Brooklyn, NY musician Josh Shneider, singing several songs on the Big Band project, *The Love Speaks Orchestra*. She sang her vocals live with a 19 piece band. On the album released in October 2013, Woodward sang two Josh-penned originals ("The Hurting Kind" & "When Love Speaks") and a cover of the Tony Bennett standard "Lost in the Stars".[19]

Snarky Puppy[edit]

Since 2010, Woodward has collaborated on and off with Michael League's Grammy-winning,[20] Brooklyn-based fusion collective Snarky Puppy, fronting the band on such songs as "Too Hot To Last", "He Got Away", and notably a cover of Nina Simone's "Be My Husband," from the first of the Snarky Puppy's live studio recording series Family Dinner – Volume 1.[21] She continues to occasionally appear with them live as of May 2016.

Discography[edit]

Albums[edit]

EPs[edit]

  • Till They Bang on the Door EP - 2016

Joint Collaborations[edit]

  • The Goods EP - 2013
  • The Joshua Shneider Lovespeaks Orchestra - 2013

Singles[edit]

  • Dumb Girls - 2003 (#34)
  • Blindsided - 2003 (#94)
  • Trouble With Me - 2004
  • Slow Recovery - 2007/2010
  • Ragdoll - 2010
  • Be My Husband - 2012
  • Kiss Me Mister Histrionics - 2016

Covers[edit]

  • 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).
  • Lost in the Stars - 2013 - Written by Kurt Weill (1949). Lyrics by Maxwell Anderson. From the musical Lost In The Stars (1949).
  • 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).

References[edit]

External links[edit]