by Bella Wood
Q. How long have you been making music?
I’ve been writing songs for over twenty years as a composer and music director for live theatre, and during that time I also wrote songs for myself and for some of the bands I played with over the years. Funnily enough, I didn’t really start taking myself more seriously as a songwriter until the pandemic, when I finally had the time to put my own work first.
Q. What drives you to make music?
Lots of things: being able to create my own entertainment even during weird times (like the last 2 years, for example, when creative work almost dried up). Also being able to do something really satisfying and fun with some of my favorite people. And it’s also definitely the way I work through my feelings about various things, from love to death. I also love telling stories through my music, whether they’re my stories or just quirky bits of news that catch my eye.
Q. How would you describe your music?
Folk meets blues meets pop meets country. Lonesome banjo, haunting pedal steel, passionate violin, and some surprises like accordion and ukulele tucked in there, all stuck together with heart-on-sleeve vocals.
Q. What made you want to record with Bluelight?
I’ve done lots of session work there over the years as a backup vocalist or instrumentalist on other people’s albums. I really like Kaj’s laid-back vibe and professionalism. I know that I can communicate what kind of sound I want and he’ll find the perfect way to make it happen.
Q. Are there any musicians that inspire you, if so who?
Right now as I type this I’m listening to a wonderful bluegrass band called the Steep Canyon Rangers. I love the vocal harmonies in bluegrass and old-time music. But I’ve also been really obsessed lately with a band called Japanese Breakfast. It’s my dream to marry the instrumentation and soul of country music with the production values and vibe of synth pop! For lyrics I think it’s hard to beat Tom Waits. He was one of the first people who taught me that you can write from a “character voice” rather than just your own voice or personality, and that was a game-changer.
Q. What do you hope comes your music?
I’m definitely not at the right point in my life to travel around the country in a van, playing bars! What I’d really like is to play some regular live gigs in Vancouver, with the occasional festival or international gig (why not dream big?). And I’d really, REALLY like to get respect and attention for my songwriting skills. I’m very proud of my material.
Q. How would you describe your creative process?
Usually words-first. Often I’ll jot down ideas or phrases and then come back to them in a few weeks, or even months. Once I get going the process is pretty fast. I go on instinct, and if something’s making me feel good then it gets completed quickly. I’m lucky; as someone who plays quite a few different instruments I have a lot of different options when it comes to how I want a song to sound. That’s why it’s hard to categorize my stuff.
Q. If you could collaborate with anyone who would it be and why?
I always used to joke that I’d love to be Peter Gabriel’s backup singer so I could tour in stadiums and work with some of the best musicians in the world. I am blown away by the stuff that David Byrne does so I think he’d be incredible to work with.
Q.What inspired you to start making music
My parents aren’t musicians but they both have a deep love and appreciation for music, so they definitely passed that on to me and my brother. Going to classical music concerts and taking music lessons was a big part of my childhood.
Q. Do you remember the moment you knew you wanted to pursue this career?
When I was a young adult I really wanted to be a stage actor. But I didn’t have a very enjoyable experience studying theatre when I went to university and that really damaged my confidence. I began to realize that making music was one of the things that made me happy, and that I had an aptitude for it. It was also the perfect way to get into theatre as a musician and music director, so I get to combine two of my favourite jobs in a really special way.
Q. How do you hope your music makes others feel?
I hope it moves them to tears, makes them want to dance, and sing along. I hope it makes them stop talking in a crowded bar so they don’t miss a word.
Q. What inspires your creativity?
Teaching music to kids and adults at the Sarah McLachlan School of Music is hugely inspiring, and has really focused me on questions like What IS music, and why is it so good for us in so many ways? It’s also made me much better at communicating as a musician, which is a good thing now I’m leading my own band. I’m trying to read more books again these days, but honestly I’m also very inspired by things I read on social media or stuff I hear on podcasts. The best stories are the ones that grab your attention in quirky ways.
If you’d like to check out little fox, you can find them on Instagram @littlefox604 and on most streaming platforms as “Little Fox”