Til They Bang on the Door
“It’s the ‘neighbors telling you to turn down the music’ moment. It’s the magical hour,” explains Lucy Woodward. “It’s that moment when anything can go right or wrong.”
A perfect summation for Til They Bang on the Door, a slinky and decidedly brassyrecord that marks a bold, new direction for the singer.
Bang is the culmination of a long and decidedly varied musical journey for Woodward. The daughter of two classical musicians, the singer spent her childhood, as she puts it, “music-making and creating.” Fresh out of school, she was singing jazz on Bleecker St. for tips, singing in cover bands and writing songs before signing with Atlantic Records—a time period that saw her score a Top 40 hit with “Dumb Girls” and another Top 5 hit she wrote for Stacie Orrico called “(There's Gotta Be) More to Life”.
But Woodward had no desire to be a pop starlet: her follow-up, the jazzier Lucy Woodward is...Hot and Bothered, produced by Itaal Shur (Santana, Maxwell) and Tim K (Tiny Hearts) was released in a unique indie arrangement with Barnes and Noble. This, in turn, was followed by Hooked!, an album of Brill Building meets swing-styled songs, released on Verve and produced by Tony Visconti (David Bowie, T. Rex).
Along the way, Woodward toured as a band member filling in for the lead singer of Pink Martini. She has also recorded with Rod Stewart, Celine Dion, Snarky Puppy, Chaka Khan, Pink Martini, Nikka Costa, Carole King, and Joe Cocker. Her songs and vocals have been heard in movies including What a Girl Wants, The Blind Side, Last Vegas, Music and Lyrics, First Daughter, Manhattan Nocturne and Ice Princess, featuring the Betty Hutton/Bjork classic “It’s Oh So Quiet".
Looking for “crazy, low brass instrumentation with feminine vocals,” she paired up with an all-star recording cast, featuring co-producer Michael League (Snarky Puppy), co-producer/ keyboardist extraordinaire Henry Hey (David Bowie, Forq) engineer/mixer Nic Hard, organist Cory Henry and core musicians from Snarky Puppy. “I had been opening for Snarky Puppy and spending a lot of time with this band of brothers which is what sparked the idea. In pretty much one Skype conversation with Henry, Mike and I, we knew where this was going to go. I wanted to surf on a wave of horns.”
Lyrically, the record is Woodward’s most dramatic, offering moments of both melancholia and wild abandon. “Much of Bang is me coming out of a breakup and not having the money for therapy,” she says, laughing. “It’s being not quite ready for another relationship and seeing the beauty within that stage, too. But hey, I’ve always written sad love songs, even when I was 12, before I even knew what love songs really were.”
The unfolding romantic twists and turns Woodward embraces on Bang is matched by the dramatic fits in her music: opening with the Shirley Bassey-style “Ladykiller”, the album eventually segues into the funk/pop single “Live Live Live” and one guaranteed live sing-a-long “Be My Husband” (recorded with the ever-soulful Everett Bradley) before ending—like the moment after a big storm settles—with the beautiful piano ballad “Free Spirit”. Ruth Brown’s “I Don’t Know” has been part of Woodward’s live arsenal for years, as well as a new take on “Too Hot to Last”, featuring a trombone choir as a backdrop for the piece. Originally the song was performed by Woodward with Snarky Puppy on their 2013 Grammy-winning Family Dinner (Volume 1) album.
Bang is Woodward’s first release on GroundUP Music, the breakthrough indie label started by Michael League (a co-producer on Bang). “Being on GroundUP is no comparison to anything else I’ve ever done,” she says. "We all have this idea that as long as the vibe is great and has the right dynamic, anything is possible.”
In summer of 2017, Lucy was asked to perform Big Band arrangements of some of her material from Hooked! and Til They Bang On The Door with the TipToe Big Band at Aarhus Jazz Festival and Jam Days Jazz Festivals in Denmark. "This opens up a whole other world, like a re-birth, to some of my songs which are screaming for this musical platform." She will continue to perform these Big Band arrangements in Holland, Denmark and the US (for starters...). She has also developed a masterclass workshop for young singers.
Lucy continues to perform in the U.S. and parts of Europe in 2017/18. Not leaving her with time for a lot of those, well, “magical hours.”
More information on Lucy's masterclass class will be available soon. In the meantime, please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more info.