Photo courtesy of Kevin Wood.
Kevin Wood landed in California from Wyoming like many others hoping to find success in the entertainment industry, but like many musicians in LaLaLand, life became a financial struggle. Ultimately, the high cost of living meant Wood stayed in Long Beach, thanks to two friends who offered a couch to sleep on. It was then that he fell in love with the city.
“There’s an authenticity to Long Beach,” Wood said. “There’s something that is truly charming about it: you still have the city feel but you don’t have the cement graveyard that many places in Orange County have or the presumptuousness of West Hollywood. Long Beach is home.”
Wood is no stranger to music, having been surrounded by it his whole life: singing in church in the 3rd grade, he eventually learned piano with his four sisters. Piano-driven artists such as Billy Joel and particularly Elton John influenced him heavily with their pop-likability and a flair for theatrics.
Attending school in Colorado for three years while developing his musical theatre skills, he then transferred to Boston to attend Berkelee College of Music for songwriting. It was there he created his first album, Haven’t Had Enough, and just as he got the CD in his hand, the national tour of RENT during 2002 whisked him away.
“‘Rentheads’—y’know, the people who would avidly follow the show and cast—kinda became my promoters,” Wood said. “They would always be in the front two rows and sometimes they would have my CD and have me sign it. Kinda made me feel like a rockstar in my own songwriting realm.”
RENT eventually caused Wood to yearn to write more of his own music and songs, as well as to develop relationships, particularly once he left the tour to return to Long Beach in 2004. It was then that he met the man whom he would fall deeply in love with. Their relationship, however, didn’t last; his first album in over a decade revolves largely around that breakup.
“I put performing on the side for a relationship and I didn’t even know I was doing it,” Wood said. “There was no inspiration in the relationship and it took ending it for me to realize my inspiration had been void. So I quit my job and decided to focus on me.”
Wood then went on a performing kick while developing his new album, Out Among the Wolves. While making demos on his computer and sending them to a friend who had helped record his first album, Wood began doing local gigs at everywhere from The Library on Broadway to the Velvet Lounge in Santa Ana. In between gigs, he would jaunt down to San Diego to record at Durga Sound Studio.
The album—driven by Wood’s own self-description as a hopeless romantic, one of the album’s track titles—echoes Sara Bareilles, KT Tunstall, and various other adult-contemporary “Piano Man” stylists. Even further, he’s managed to finance this artistic endeavor mostly on his own: with self-promotion and a Kickstarter, Wood has already raised over $10K.
“I am a hopeless romantic—and even with the rough patches, I didn’t give up on that and I feel that is what the album exudes,” Wood said. “You can call it cheesy but it’s me.”
Out Among the Wolves will debut on February 14 on Amazon and iTunes. For Kevin Wood’s Souncloud and more music samples, click here. For Kevin Wood’s Facebook page, click here.
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