Written by: Jocelyn Van Saun | Photo(s) by: Claire Lockwood
Artist Spotlight: Leah Woods
Name: Leah Woods
Hometown: Saratoga Springs, NY, but has spent winters in Salt Lake City since 2018.
Genre: Indie Folk/Soul
Fun Fact: “Everything bagel with butter, strawberry jam, sprouts, tomato, bacon, and a smear of cream cheese. That’s it. Give it a go.”
Where can people find you skiing this year?
“I’ve been skiing since I was very little, probably three. My parents met skiing and so did my grandparents, so it’s a very large part of my life. Skiing is what’s shown me my independence and I think because of that it’s held such a large place in my heart. I can explore the mountains all on my own and get lost in the woods which is my favorite thing of all time to do…This year I’ll be at Alta and Snowbasin a lot.”
Who are some of your biggest music influences?
“Bon Iver. And recently I’ve been listening to a lot of UMI, SZA, Tierra Whack, Princess Nokia, Nai Palm, and Izzy Bizu. They’ve had a big impact on me lyrically and the empowerment that they show through their music has been really important to me.”
When did you start playing music?
“I caught the bug when I was in middle school going into high school. My sister, who is a musician that I looked up to immensely, got really sick and [music is what] I used as my safety net in order to figure out everything that was going on at home. Writing songs was what I started to do to channel my energy and emotions…When I would sing I would get a response of happiness and pleasure from the people I was playing for and I’m a people pleaser. I want to make people happy.”
What previous albums and releases do you currently have out?
Brighter Tides EP – 2018
“Safety Second” Ft. Caleb Rhum – 2019
Leah Woods Live at Sugarshack Sessions – 2020
“A friend sat me down and asked what I wanted to do next and [Sugarshack Sessions] was something very concrete that I wanted, so I ended up messaging them…It took about a year to get a slot because I wasn’t in Florida, but I just kept talking to them and finally it happened.”
What current projects and new releases are in the works?
“I’m shooting for releasing two songs in early 2022 in conjunction with Alta for their ‘Women of Alta’ film. My goal for this year is also to get some new music going on in Little Cottonwood Canyon.”
Where can we see you play?
What are some of your favorite past shows?
“The best show I’ve seen was Bon Iver at Williamsburg Music Hall. The best one I played was with my friend, Jack, my keyboard player. It was a small show called Days of Sound earlier this spring, just a friend group for the most part, in Southern Utah and we played in a canyon. It felt like we were on Mars.”
Where is a dream venue you’d love to play at one day?
Red Rocks Amphitheatre
What do you want fans to feel when they listen to your music?
“I want my music to give people the space to be and remain in the moment, to transport listeners to a place other than this world, where they need not worry about anything even if it’s just for a second.”
For more information, visit Leah Woods’ website.