HHM: At what age did you realize that music was going to be a lifelong passion for you?
I’ve been singing my entire life; I picked up on the interest at an early age, and got into piano & voice lessons.
HHM: Was there a particular moment that became a reality to you, where it really set in?
I suppose I was just really lucky to have a supportive and encouraging family, because it never felt like it was an unrealistic or unattainable thing. I was raised with the understanding that I could pursue anything that I wanted to as long as I was willing to put in the work.
HHM: What are some of the biggest musical influences for you?
Growing up as an avid scrabble nerd…ahem, player…I was always really into language and vocabulary. Lyrics resonated with me more than a particular vocalist’s style. Jonatha Brooke is an incredible lyricist and her stories are so vivid and relatable. I’ve always been extremely keen on Joni Mitchell, Patty Griffin, John Mayer and Sheryl Crow as well.
HHM: You have a degree in Theatre, was that the original path you intended to take?
Absolutely. I grew up singing and dancing in musicals, and loved performing. I studied at Auburn University and ended up with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Musical Theatre. I had some unbelievable opportunities there and loved the training. I was initially on track to move to Manhattan after graduation.
HHM: Did you do a lot of theatre in High School as well?
Oh yes, my high school had an excellent program. I also did some community productions with local Nashville theatres.
HHM: What sparked the switch in direction to singing and songwriting?
I had always dabbled a bit in writing on the piano, but never played my songs for anyone. It wasn’t really something I took all that seriously until college. I lived in a house with 5 girls in Auburn, and found myself escaping to the front porch swing with my guitar quite often to take some time for myself. I still wasn’t too keen on people listening to my songs, but it became a necessary outlet for me.
HHM: How did you initially get hooked up with John Jaszcz and Zodlounge to begin working on your own music?
John Jaszcz had heard me sing in shows in high school and had insinuated that he knew a team of musicians (Zodlounge) that he really wanted me to meet. It didn’t end up happening until the summer after I graduated from college and moved back to Nashville. At the time, I was making preparations for my move to New York, and John caught wind that I’d been writing and suggested that I at least meet with Zodlounge and play them one song. That’s all I did; I played one song that I’d written on my guitar, and we decided to cut a project. Just like that, New York was off the table; I didn’t hesitate, I was addicted to this process.
HHM: Had you been writing your own music previous to making that connection?
I’d been writing some songs on my guitar: chords, lyrics, melodies, harmonies. Zodlounge and John Jaszcz then helped me build upon the blueprint of those acoustic tunes to create my first EP ‘Kree Woods’
HHM: Your first ep did pretty well, how much of a confidence booster was it landing the “The Real World: Las Vegas” airtime with “Cave In”?
The response was completely unexpected. It was obviously thrilling to have my name/song featured on an episode on MTV, but I don’t think any of us were prepared for the reaction that we got from the viewers. I was ecstatic that the song resonated with people, and managed to do so in a 20 second blip. ‘Cave In’ really is a heart-wrenchingly honest interpretation of a dysfunctional relationship.
HHM: How long have you been working on your full length Talking Underwater?
I started writing the songs on this record immediately after my return from SXSW in Austin, TX last year. I was feeling extremely inspired, and the ideas just kept coming. I’m constantly jotting down ideas in a notebook, and write songs all the time; these particular tunes really stood out as a collective though, so the project came together pretty seamlessly. It’s been an amazing year and I think that this record has something for everyone.
HHM: Are you comfortable in the studio now or is it still a little bit of an intimidating thing for you?
I love singing in the studio. I wouldn’t say it’s intimidating for me, but I am a perfectionist which can be a real struggle. Thankfully, I work with an amazing team of people that each bring so much to the production of the record, so I’m confident that the final copy that we release is exactly as it should be.
HHM: You’ll be premiering some of your new album at SXSW this year, that’s got to be exciting for you.
I am pumped. SXSW is an incredible festival; everyone who performs or attends LOVES discovering new music so it’s the perfect environment for us to showcase. We’ll have an album release show for ‘Talking Underwater’ in Nashville at the beginning of April, so we’ll be previewing that set list at SXSW.
HHM: You are scheduled to head out on tour in May, do you have any updates on what states you’ll be hitting on that tour? (BETTER BE VA!, just sayin’)
The dates & places are still TBA, but we’re looking to make a big sweep of the U.S. so hopefully Virginia will be on the finalized list!
HHM: What do you enjoy doing outside of music to unwind?
I’ve found that music is woven into everything I do. If I’m not playing or writing on a particular day, I’ll still go to the studio so I can sing harmony on another artist’s record or just hang with the Zodlounge guys. When I do have some spare time, I love to travel…which will cater really well to a career on the road J
HHM: Are there any other plans you’d like to share, updates or something else you’d like to plug?
Honestly, I just want people to give the record a listen. We’ve put so much thought and hard work into this album, and I’m certain that if people take a chance on it, they’ll relate to at least one song….hopefully all of them. Oh, and keep up to date with the upcoming release and tour at kreewoods.com. If we’re playing anywhere near your town, please come say hello!
Interview by DaveHHM
Check out our review of Talking Underwater
For more information on Kree Woods: