RGM INTRODUCING – WE INTERVIEW AUSTRALIAN ARTIST JAY WOOD
Hiya folks thanks for joining us in the virtual RGM lounge today, Grab a brew and take a seat.
What made you decide that music is a thing for you?
At 24 years of age, I was a school teacher happily living my life, until the car I was traveling in was hit by a drunk driver. After suffering a Catastrophic Traumatic Brain Injury, and being told I would never work again in any capacity, I simply couldn’t see myself spending the rest of my life twiddling my thumbs! So, I painstakingly re-taught myself how to play and sing my own songs (that were written as a hobby pre-collision) and thought what better way to contribute to the world than from a stage with Music? Haha It quite literally was all I had!
Introduce us to you and your musical history.
Heyo crew! My name is Jay Wood and I am an Indie Singer Songwriter from Margaret River, WA. I began playing and writing music as a hobby from the age of 16, until my life turned upside down and I lost just about everything. After surviving this car accident I realised there were far worse things that could happen than someone not liking the sound of my voice/music! Plus, It was one of the parts of myself that I refused to allow my disability to take away from me, So why not shoot my shot and give a music career a go! Low and behold, some arduous 6 years later, here I am doing the thing! ☺
What was life like for you before music?
Life pre-music career looked extremely different for me. I didn’t have my disability, could do whatever I wanted whenever I wanted to, with every capability humanly possible! (what a beautiful thing!) I was always playing sports outside and was working as a school teacher, only ever playing music to myself in my bedroom as a private hobby I enjoyed.
What was the first song you heard that steered you into a music path?
I think I always enjoyed listening to music, from as far back as I can remember, but I think I’d have to go with Missy Higgins first album. Her music always spoke to me and I always dreamed of writing music akin to her storytelling style.
Where do you feel you currently sit within the music industry?
Honestly, I have no idea where I sit within the music industry! Haha From my view it is a cacophony of so many different artists living their creative truth, and through whatever forces drive each individual we are all doing much the same thing really! I’ve got many goals with my music and so long as I have the ability to strive to meet them, I am one happy muso in amongst that creative bunch.
What’s the biggest thing you have learned from someone else in the industry?
I think the biggest thing I have learned from someone else in the industry is what I DON’T want. I have observed many up and coming young musicians fall into the “ego trap” and this is a path I want to stay far away from! That said, it has helped me learn to stay true to myself and always keep my own moral/ethical compass at the helm.
Tell us Two truths and a lie about you.
I have almost died 4 times, I can hold my breath for over 3minutes underwater, and I can’t read music.
If you could wish for one thing to aid your career what would it be?
To have a normal memory!! I regularly forget different parts to do with my songs. Whether it be chord progressions, lyrics and timing, etc.. It makes it extremely difficult for me to play live. (Not that it stops me! 😀 )
Do you ever worry about people taking things the wrong way or cancel culture? Discuss….
All. The. Time. With my disability, I am often misunderstood, as I often find it hard to articulate myself adequately, which can be very frustrating. This can lead to people misconstruing my intentions, which I can assure you are NEVER based on negativity!
In terms of cancel culture, I am less worried. If I am to be “canceled”, so be it! What people think of me is none of my business anyway, I am sure I will live haha
Do you sign up to any conspiracy theories? If not why not?
In my opinion, just the same with “coincidences” there is no such thing as a “conspiracy theories”. There is only information and what you choose to do with it is entirely up to you. Truth is in the eye of the beholder! There is so much information out in the world now that the internet exists and we are all privy to having different opinions on this information. It makes it neither more/less true as “truth” is a subjective concept anyway. Luckily for me I have a background in journalism/mass media, so I do have a decent grasp on how to differentiate between fact, fiction and opinion when consuming information wherever it is being broadcast.
What was the worst experience on stage?
I think the worst experience I’ve had on stage was when I was very crudely hit on by a member of the audience between songs! She yelled something HIGHLY inappropriate over the top of the crowd and DIRECTLY in front of my then-partner! (who raised her eyebrow and gave me SUCH a look!) Yes, I turned a bright shade of red and awkwardly laughed it off, all the while dying inside.
Tell us something about you / each member that you think people would be surprised about.
I think most people would be surprised to know that I had to learn how to walk and talk again from scratch. That said, I still have a rather intrusive stutter that can come on whenever it feels like it! Luckily this has never happened on stage!
What makes you stand out as a band/artist?
I think the road I have traveled to be on stage is one that not many have had. This has lead to my style of songwriting and stage presence carrying a real authenticity to it, enabling people to connect to my music on many different levels.
I hear you have a new music, what can you tell us about it.
My Debut EP, Respire has just been released September 1! This has been a very long time in the making due to many health setbacks, so it means so much more to me than just putting music out. I really don’t like it when other people tell me I can’t do something.
It lights a fire inside me, so this EP is celebrating the triumph of overcoming every doctor/person who told me I couldn’t do it due to my disability. I finally have the music career and the physical CD in my hand, so tell me again what I can’t do?! haha
What was the recording process like?
The recording process was brilliant! Working with Darryn Ball from Norman Solander Studios was a very steep learning curve for me. He was always patient and diligent in explaining the process to me, so I could understand and give it my best shot! I have to say, my ability to multitask is rather lackluster at best, so learning to play my songs to a click track was a real difficulty! Ultimate Gratitude to you Darryn!
What was the biggest learning curve in writing the new tunes?
I think being able to multitask was the biggest learning curve for me. Singing AND playing the guitar took some time and effort to manage. Not to mention having to compose the music to each of my songs TWICE and in line with the original version was extremely difficult.
Would you change anything now it’s finished?
Absolutely nothing! I am very proud of what I have achieved, regardless of how the rest of the world responds ☺
Is there anything else you would like to share with the world?
My hope is that by sharing the story behind my music, I am able to show people that no matter the dire circumstances you may find yourself in, how you choose to respond is all that matters. I have learned that with determination, love, and resilience, life is a choice.