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Soundboard

Q&A With Donovan Woods

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Donovan Woods performing at Massey Hall as special guest for Matt Andersen. (Photo: Jag Gundu for the Massey Hall archives)

Singer-songwriter Donovan Woods has had a busy 2016: He released his fourth album and a companion EP, toured across the country several times, topped a few charts, made the Polaris Music Prize Long List and more. We managed to find a couple minutes to catch up with him ahead of his concert at Trinity St. Paul’s Centre on Friday, October 28.

Q: What’s stuck out for you this year?

A: I feel very lucky to show up and have people excited to listen and participate and have a good time. It just makes the whole thing a pleasure. I played so many awful gigs, including one open mic at the now-defunct Dufferin Mall Boston Pizza, and it’s starting to look like I may not have to play any Boston Pizzas again. That feels great.

Q: We’re about to watch you perform in a church. How will the surrounding affect your performance – and our experience of it?

A: I really like it in this church. I saw Hayden here and it was great. More importantly, I used to photocopy, fax and scan things at the Kinkos next door, when faxes were still a thing you had to do sometimes. So, at times, I’ll be thinking about that. Overall it feels like a very intimate space for fairly large group of people and that’ll feel really perfect.

Q: You’ve spent a lot of this year on the road. What’s the one thing people should know about touring that they might not?

A: You’ve heard it’s not glamorous, but it feels good to me. I really like hotels. I like seeing new towns. I like leaving places. Opening for Matt Andersen, I travelled on his bus and one thing I didn’t know was how much you literally just sleep in parking lots: The whole thing is mostly just sleeping in parking lots. But there’s a glamour in that too, if you look for it.

Q: What are five must-listen-to jams for you right now?

A: “Mr. Rodriguez,” Rayland Baxter; “Same Drugs,” Chance The Rapper; “All Time Low,” John Bellion; “You Want It Darker,” Leonard Cohen; and “Burn That Bridge,” Port Cities.

Q: What are the biggest misconceptionsw people have of you?

A: I’m happy that anyone has conceptions of me at all. Misconceptions are fine. You never REALLY know anyone anyway, right?

Q: What are you planning for the next 12 months?

A: It’s been long stretches between albums, so I’m trying to lock into a cycle that gets new music out more often. I hope to dive back into recording as soon as I can.