Skarlett Woods on “Letters to the West” and more [INTERVIEW]
An Interview with Skarlett Woods on “Letters To The West”, more.
“Letters To The West” is the sophomore album from Woods, available everywhere October 27, 2023.
Tell us a bit about yourself and how you first got into music.
[Woods]: I really enjoy thinking and exploring my imagination. As a kid, I would always be playing and building legos and making art. My parents would always have music playing in the background. They were avid listeners to music and still are. I joined choir when I was in 6th grade and found that to be a safe space for me. I got picked on in school as a kid, but when I got to sing a solo in seventh grade in front of my entire middle school of peers, the bullies stopped picking on me when they heard my voice. So I guess music and singing were something I affiliated with as a space of safety and connection. It wasn’t until Jr. High School that I began to explore music composition. I’ve always been a huge fan of John Williams, James Horner and Thomas Newman. Film score music is what inspired me to write. I love how music can pull on your soul and your emotions and I’ve always leaned into the emotional connection I feel with music.
Who inspired you to make music? Anyone you admire and why?
My choir teachers in middle school and high school had a huge influence on me making music of my own. I was so inspired by how music transforms a group of people, especially singing with 70 others voices and us all taking breaths at the same moment. There’s something very spiritual about that. I particularly admire folks who are trying to pave their own way with their own musical sound. Some examples I find to be true with the Punch Brothers, Julian Lage, and Eric Whitacre.
What is your creative process like? For example: what was your process/concept when writing your album Letters to the West?
I knew the title of my album before I started to write the songs for it. Which is something I’ve never done before. I know I had a lot of things on my mind that I wanted to say, so this time it was kinda like knowing what was going to be inside of this present and then figuring out how to fit all the songs/gifts together. The title of the album was actually the glue that helped me stay focused through the whole process. I never made an album like this before and can’t say that I have a process for anything creative I do. I just try to listen to what my muse wants to do and she is completely random and constantly changes.
What did you learn about yourself when writing and creating your new album?
I learned some pretty big things about myself and music. Firstly, I was brought to an awareness that I overthink things. My Producer, Kevin Bowe, pointed that out to me in a polite manner. So I had to find the balance of where my mind began to overthink above the creative part of my mind. It also dawned on me that no single human listens and feels music the same way as any other human does. It’s like our ears are little snowflakes- unique and distinctive from anyone else.
What single is your favorite off your new album and why?
Well, I would have to say that I love all of my children and that they are all unique and beautiful, but one in particular definitely shows something special and that would be “You & I (Santa Cruz, CA)”. I felt something click inside me. It was like I found a piece of myself. My real self in all the ways that I am through the expression of music. Perhaps this is what it feels like to find my voice?… Or maybe I’m just so damn proud of this song…
What would you like fans to take away after seeing you perform live and or listening to your music?
I hope folks walk away from my shows feeling a little braver. Or if they’re listening somewhere in this world- they can hear that there is beauty and hope and loss and despair and that it will all be ok in the end.
What is next for Skarlett Woods? Any big plans?
YES!! Very big plans. I will be building my third tiny house on wheels this winter. A space to call my own is something that has been eating at me for the past decade and I’m so excited to build my little 200 square foot sanctuary. The first tiny house I lost in a divorce. The second one I had to sell to get out of debt from the Pandemic. Third one’s a charm??? I also love building and creative spaces like this. It’s like composing a song. To me, organizing sounds is no different than organizing shapes and the best part is that it feels like I’m playing adult Legos!
About Skarlett Woods:
“Letters To The West” is simultaneously filled with despair and hope. A concept album of stories and philosophical ponderings from adventures out west and living in western society. It speaks to the times of today and the times of the past while being emerged in a love story of what it means to be human.
Born poor, in a rural Minnesota, Skarlett Woods is the middle of three children who grew up surrounded by a loving supportive family tucked in the Northern woods with rock n’roll, show-tunes, pop and film scores as her musical landscape. Throughout her life, Skarlett has held an eye for social justice issues- giving voice to the voices that are rarely heard or seen. Nor has she ever been shy about living on the fringes of society. She moved out west for 15 years- stocking up on adventures such as working on a commercial crabbing boat vessel off the Oregon Coast, bicycling 6,000 miles across America, and building two tiny houses- one of which she lived in for 5 years without running water.
The Pandemic brought Skarlett back to Minnesota and she hit the ground running, averaging nearly 200 shows in this past year while simultaneously recording and producing along side Minneapolis’s producer/songwriter Kevin Bowe, her Sophomore Album, “Letters To The West”. Skarlett received winning placements in Duluth’s Dylan Fest Songwriting Contest in 2022 and in 2023 for her songs, “Close To You (Braver These Days)” and “Me, I, Me, Me”. She was also named “Peoples Choice Award” at Wussow’s Songwriting Contest in 2023 and has garnered a reputation throughout Minnesota as being a stellar performer as well as holding a unique singing and songwriting style that brings a distinctive sound from the array of life experiences and places she’s lived- hailed as a “worthy successor to the likes of James Taylor, Joan Baez or His Bobness.” – Dave Franklin (Dancing About Architecture). Heart-felt, unafraid and honest to the core, Skarlett’s style lives somewhere between Blue-eye Soul, Folk and Americana with a hint of hope.
Apple Music: https://music.apple.com/ph/
Band Camp: https://skarlettwoods.
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