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Capital News Wednesday, April 6, 2011 B5



Royal Wood’s has set his own career path since he was 4 Jennifer Smith STAFF REPORTER

Single-minded drive. It’s something one associates with top athletes. It’s synonymous with success in the white collar world—Wall Street, top legal minds, Donald Trump. But when one thinks about musicians, lifelong practise or not, singleminded determination just isn’t something our cultural experience wants to tie to the guy playing the piano. Unless it’s Royal Wood. “I was four when I started playing piano and this was it. This was what I wanted to do,” said Wood, in an interview to plug his upcoming Kelowna gig. Wood is billed as the

well-dressed guy on the Canadian singer-songwriter scene. Named iTunes’ Songwriter of the Year with song placements in Grey’s Anatomy and Private Practice, he came very close to being named songwriter of the year at the Junos last month—though he couldn’t top Arcade Fire’s blockbuster run. The French Canadian band that’s swept the North American music scene this year winning the Juno and Album of the Year at the Grammys— to the surprise of many an American counterpart— were not the first from Montreal to stomp on this Ontario native’s heart. There’s a very funny story on an online blog about a whiny French Canadian girl he once


ROYAL WOOD performs at the Minstrel on Saturday. asked on a date only to discover she could see

nothing positive about the evening they spent out.

(Google Mike’s Bloggity Blog) If the goofy story tells us anything about this man, it’s that he clearly takes getting his name out there as seriously as he takes playing music—and he’s well-known for his professionalism. He takes to the stage in a suit and tie, saying his body just knows it’s time to perform when he’s dressed to the nines. “I feel I change into a super hero on stage with that suit on,” he says. “My parents taught us that you dress for the company. You had to be home for Sunday dinner and you dressed up.” His mother reportedly has stacks of his old report cards in which he always checked off musician when asked what he


Hudson more deserving artist than Brown JENNIFER HUDSON: I REMEMBER ME (ARISTA)

This album made its debut in the Canadian album charts at a somewhat disappointing No. 34 considering Jennifer Hudson’s first album, now nearly three years old, won a Grammy for Best R&B album. I have had this new disc for over a month now so maybe her recording label pushed the release date back, or I am getting remarkably superb service for my column from the mighty Sony Corp? Anyway, this is an excellent Urban R&B al-


Bruce Mitchell bum where Hudson is not trying to re-invent the wheel, but rather expand on her amazing prowess as a singer and solidify her career as a standout performer for her time. On I Remember Me, Hudson may be celebrating her personal reinvention having survived a

horrible family tragedy while remaking her image by losing a lot of weight for her now rather buff bod (she is a spokesperson for Weight Watchers). There is a lot of affirmation on I Remember Me while superstar in her own right Alicia Keys writes and pens no less

than three songs for this album. Right now, Hudson has a hit with the R. Kelly ballad Where You At, but Hudson might enjoy some dance club exposure with the Keys up-tempo pop gems Don’t Look Down and Everybody Needs Love. Note that I Remember Me comes as a two-disc Deluxe Edition with extra songs and a DVD on the making of this new album. B+


F.A.M.E. is Chris Brown’s fourth album and it has made its debut at the lofty No. 6 spot, which the new Jennifer Hudson album is more deserving of, but it is also being hailed as Brown’s best to date. He also has (or had) a shot at career redemption after his infamous beating of Rihanna, but on the very day I listened to this new disc Brown was in the news again for trashing his dressing room at some day time TV talk show.

would like to be when he grew up. Dreaming of becoming The Beatles even as he rode his bike around the neighbourhood gave him a jump on most kids as he tried to build a path to success. The only selfdoubt he can recall is wondering whether he was going about it all the right way. “I worked some soul sucking jobs,” he said, noting he spent five years with a foreign exchange company because it offered the nine to five setting he needed to support his musical habits at night. But even then he would do interviews during his lunch in the boardroom. Finding his style was equally trying. “I played rock music in high school. I played jazz…one day I just start-

ed writing songs and I haven’t really looked back,” he said. Making it in music eventually means you get to start picking your own band, playing the concert halls where the talent hits the stage nine-feet above the audience’s head. While there’s a certain thrill to the big venue, like when he played the Queen Elizabeth Theatre in Toronto or Massey Hall for the Juno Songwriter Circle last month, he’s looking forward to the more intimate setting his stop at Kelowna’s Minstrel Café will offer. “Because of the size of a lot of the venues, it works better as sort of a storyteller night,” he said. Wood plays the Minstrel on Saturday, April 9.

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Kelowna Capital News April 6, 2011  

The Kelowna Capital News from April 6, 2011. Find more news online at

Kelowna Capital News April 6, 2011  

The Kelowna Capital News from April 6, 2011. Find more news online at