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Royal Wood talks new music and tour life ahead of Calgary arrival

By Roog Kubur, May 25 2022

Royal Wood, the Toronto-based singer, songwriter and producer, will be returning to Calgary on June 11 to wrap up his month-long Behind the Curtain Tour. Known for his folk-pop sound, immense musical talent and passion for his craft, his arrival in Calgary will be hailed by many as the return of a legend. As Calgary will be his final destination in western Canada, he offered insights into new music, tour life and what fans can expect ahead of his advent.  

The upcoming show will be the finale to a month-long adventure across Saskatchewan and Alberta. Wood described the tour as a “growing process,” fine-tuning each show to be better than the last. 

“By the time you finish the tour, you feel like it’s perfect and you never want to change it,” he said in reference to his experimental attitude towards the tour. He attributes the room for experimentation to his limited band, consisting of Wood on piano, guitar and ukulele and one other bassist. He remarks that by the time his headlining tour comes around in October, the set will be easier to complete because of this period of testing the waters. 

Riding the high of his experimental era, Wood’s new year of music kicked off with the release of a cover of the classic 80s hit, “Tainted Love” by Soft Cell. He scarcely does covers, but found himself able to record and release one following the recording of his album. The cover was born out of some free time in the studio, playing the enigmatic bassline and building from there. The cover sounds deeper and richer, lowering the bass and giving it a more dramatic feel. Wood’s vocals layered over the new instrumental gives a cinematic sound that would impress any Soft Cell fan. 

The cover was just the beginning for the new music in store. His first single, “Armour”, is being released on June 24. It’s a touching ballad that Wood described as “classic me.” It’s a confession, asking the lover to let their armour down and let them in. 

“We all wear armour, but if you want to have a genuine connection with somebody you have to be willing to take it off,” said Wood. 

The single is a way for listeners to dip their toe into the world of Royal Wood ahead of his album release on Nov. 4, 2022. This project has been many years in the making, having been reworked and workshopped following the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“Because I was allowed the last year and a half to work on the record, I felt like I finished it,” he said. This is the most complete version of the record, being an amalgamation of all the years that went into its creation. 

“I want listeners to feel,” Wood described as what listeners should take away from the album. He emphasises the uniqueness of music as a medium to convey emotion and how he was able to channel those emotions for the record. The album is an emotional response to the chaos of the past couple of years, and a fresh take on the Royal Wood sound. The album contains his classic, timeless sound with contemporary production, especially regarding percussion. 

“The throughline is always my voice because my voice will always sound like mine,” he said. 

Wood will be playing at the Bow Valley Music Club on June 11. In a landscape dominated by hyper-produced pop songs, Wood stands out as a man who knows how to not only create but arrange music that resonates with listeners. This stripped-back stage is just what listeners who are looking to feel something need. While the recorded versions already hold extreme emotional depth, there’s no denying that hearing his voice and talent live is something that shouldn’t be missed. The “Tainted Love” cover is available on Spotify, Apple Music and all other streaming platforms alongside the remainder of his discography.

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