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Lucy Woodward
October 7, 2016
Show #62

Born in London, Lucy spent her childhood in New York and The Netherlands. She is the daughter of two classical musicians – her father a conductor and composer, her mother an opera singer, musicologist, teacher and belly-dancer. She learned to play the flute (her first love), took piano lessons after her grandmother every Monday night and studied ballet. When she was 12, she sang in a karaoke booth at the mall and her life was forever changed. She (proudly) went to public high school in The Bronx and was always singing in choirs, girl groups and musicals. “Growing up in NYC you have subway cars to sing in and street corners to sing on so there was always a place to find yourself.”

At age 16, she was accepted into Manhattan School of Music where she studied vocal jazz but she dropped out after a year because she “loved bebop but didn’t sing it”. So she hit the streets and started singing in NYC’s West Village for tips, cover bands, TV commercials and writing songs before signing with Atlantic Records (2003) —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”, earning her 2 BMI Awards. With her debut record in tow, she toured the US, Japan and New Zealand and appeared on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.

But Woodward had no desire to be a pop starlet: her follow-up, the jazzier, punchier indie record Lucy Woodward is…Hot and Bothered was released in 2008 which “shed new light” on music-making again. Billboard described how “Lucy’s a ball, equally appreciable for fans of melodic sing-along baubles and highbrow aficionados of finely honed musical composition. A sonic turnstile that flips through dreamy pop, jazz and bluesy bebop”.

The release was followed by Hooked!, an album of Brill Building meets Big Band songs, released on Verve (2010) — which was largely produced by Tony Visconti (David Bowie). The album effortlessly moves across multiple genres, including gypsy-swing and rhythm & blues. Along with her self-penned compositions, the album showcases Lucy’s stunning covers of Peggy Lee’s Cuban-inspired “Sans Souci” and an Ink Spots-inspired a cappella Hoagy Carmichael classic, “Stardust.”

In 2012, Lucy was asked to tour as a band member filling in for the lead singer of Pink Martini learning songs in Turkish, French, Croatian, Japanese and Spanish with 6 days notice due to the lead singer China Forbes’ emergency vocal surgery. Her short time with the band included dates at Montreal Jazz Fest, Ravinia and working with the San Francisco Symphony for several performances. That same year, Lucy has also toured overseas sponsored by Armed Forces Entertainment, performing for American military units stationed in Spain, Italy and Turkey.

Lucy began to work with Snarky Puppy bandleader Michael League, who played bass in her NYC band at the time. She started opening for Snarky Puppy (with them as her backing band) and was featured on Snarky Puppy’s Family Dinner, Vol. 1 album singing the hauntingly bluesy “Too Hot To Last”. The album earned them their first Grammy and the song now has over 1.5 million views. League and longtime friend keyboardist/arranger Henry Hey (Forq, David Bowie) co-produced her fourth solo album Til They Bang on The Door which features the Snarky Puppy horns and organist Cory Henry (GroundUP 2016).

Lucy has performed with Big Bands all over Europe. She was a guested with Frankfurt Radio Big Band (arranged/conducted by Jim McNeely), WDR Big Band (arranged/conducted by Chris Walden), Danish Radio Big Band, Odense Jazz Orchestra, Orchestra Jazz Siciliana and Orchestre de la Suisse Romande.