Taking a sabbatical from the “good life” of Hollywood, the pop-folk artist discovers an even better life on the road
Press Release: Slated to be released September 23, 2014, Turning is a ten-song poem touching on the subjects of love, risk, regret and the process of self-discovery. Written everywhere from mountain cabins to jungle huts, the album gracefully flaunts Woodrow’s authentic folk roots while incorporating ear-worming pop hooks and a wry-gutsy lyrical edge.
As a child growing up in White Plains, NY, Woodrow started playing violin at the tender age of five. By 13, she had taught herself to play guitar on a pink electric Charvel. Music was a thread throughout her life and after graduating from Wesleyan University, the random act of a coin-toss determined whether she would stay on the East Cost to continue working with her band, or move across the country to L.A. to start a Film and TV career. Tails brought her West and the guitar was relegated to the back of the closet.
After several years Woodrow had worked her way to the enviable position of Senior VP of Original Programming at FX Networks. There, she oversaw such acclaimed shows as Sons of Anarchy, Justified and Archer. But life has a way of letting us know when we have unfinished business to attend to. Woodrow explains, “My executive career was flourishing, but my interior life was crumbling. I was burnt out and could no longer hear myself above the din of everyday life.”
During this time, Woodrow happened to be dating a musician and one day while hanging out in his living room she picked up his guitar and started noodling. Surprised that she knew how to play, he encouraged her to write a song. That night she went home and wrote the opening lines to “Pour One More” which eventually became track number six on Turning. Songwriting quickly became her go-to journal and helped her make the unorthodox decision to step away from Hollywood, “I called it a ‘sabbatical’ because it’s a term that people are familiar with, but really I had no idea what I was going to do. At the time all I knew was that I needed time away from my established life.”
Woodrow’s unplotted journey began in the rural Methow Valley of Washington State, and ranged from the UK to Israel to Peru and back. In between travels, she would return to California hideaways to process what she experienced and wait until the next opportunity called. Meanwhile, the songs that would become Turning started to materialize.
“I never actually set out to write an album,” muses Woodrow, “I just found myself picking up my guitar and writing a lot. When I recorded it was mostly so I wouldn’t forget the music.” A good portion of the album was written in Washington and recorded live by a local musician in his barn studio. The rest of the tracks were written and subsequently recorded in a variety of locales – including a living room session with Grammy-winning producer Mike Simpson of the Dust Brothers (of “Beck” and “Beastie Boys” fame). “He was my childhood babysitter,” divulges Woodrow.
The result is a stripped-down, intimate record with raw guitar and rich vocals. Opening the record is the driving “Can’t Keep Loving You,” a song about wrestling with love that won’t be shaken. The deeply personal and compelling “Leap of Faith” was composed on a plastic guitar in the Amazon, while the title track, “Turning,” a mediation on ill-advised choices is a perfect example of pairing Woodrow’s lush vocals against sparse, rhythmic guitar. The album’s haunting and harmony-filled close, “In Ruins” coincided with the end of the artist’s sabbatical and her realization that there was still a lot of growing to do.
“Many people – myself included – expected me to return to LA in a superhuman ‘finished’ place after my time away, but really I was still turning corners.” Woodrow continues, “The music reflects that I worked through leading up to and during my walkabout. Namely, the challenges of relationships; the gifts and traps of introspection; and the knotty seduction of old habits.”
While the recording process was organic, finishing the album was a unique challenge since the demos were not initially intended for release. Woodrow worked with a Los Angeles based mixer on weekends while simultaneously re-entering the workforce. Now running the television arm for director Justin Lin’s company, “Perfect Storm Entertainment,” the artist remains dedicated to making music. “The process of finishing the album gave me confidence that I would be able to both dedicate myself to my job and have an artistic life outside of it.”
Claiming the career break did wonders for her soul, the artist notes, “I certainly hope people enjoy the songs, but I also hope my story might inspire some to take risks and excavate their own buried dreams.” Reflecting on her journey, Woodrow asserts, “Rediscovering music has been one of the greatest gifts I could ever give myself.”
For more information on Danielle, visit her site HERE.