With more than 14.5 million streams on Spotify, songwriter Donovan Woods compositions have been lauded as “a very simple beauty” (Entertainment Weekly), “a stark, stunning ballad” (Rolling Stone), and “an emotional wallop” (Billboard Magazine). In his latest single, “All Mine,” Woods discovers the elusive silver lining – that beautiful moment when you realize you’ve broken free of someone else’s expectations.
However, the optimistic single represents more than a new perspective for the musician. “All Mine” breaks the familiar acoustic guitar with a layered production, yet it’s unmistakably a Donovan Woods song – eloquent, disarmingly honest, and rich in details.
Even when his singing voice gently rises just above a whisper, it cannot be ignored. His single “What Kind of Love Is That?” climbed to No. 1 on the CBC Top 20 Chart and the album Hard Settle, Ain’t Trouble received a Polaris Prize nomination as well as a JUNO Award nod for Songwriter of the Year. He followed that project with an exceptional four-song EP, They Are Going Away.
“‘All Mine’ is about the feeling of suddenly emerging from something that’s been weighing you down,” Woods says. “Sometimes it’s that first day of good health after an illness, sometimes it’s after a breakup, sometimes it’s just the first day of spring. I think one of the only purely good human feelings is relief – when something difficult ends or when something bad could have happened but didn’t. That feeling is what I’m trying to capture here, that moment of realization that time is on your side again. You dodged a bullet and for a moment you feel free, clear-eyed, and ready to turn that passing hardship into something beautiful.”
Woods was raised in the small city of Sarnia, Ontario, to the sounds of country music, with a healthy dose of folk and pop influence. This combination instilled in him a strong belief in the power of a memorable melody, the importance of everyday language, and the impact of a relatable narrative. While amassing a catalogue of rousing and well-received music of his own, he has written songs for artist such as Tim McGraw, Charles Kelley (of Lady Antebellum), Billy Currington, and Charlie Worsham.
Woods built his reputation by writing music that is a product of both country and folk. However, his songwriting shows how distracting the line separating the two can be. Whether they’re composed about big ideas or seemingly minor incidents, broken promises or the hint of romance, Woods’ songs affect listeners deeply.
Although he explores new sonic textures with “All Mine,” what remains constant is that Donovan Woods possesses a compelling voice made to tell stories – his stories and our own.