Heather Woods Broderick Songwriting Interview


Heather Woods Broderick Songwriting Interview

Heather Woods Broderick

Gonna start thing a little differently. If you own ‘From The Ground’ please start the track “Something Other Than”, if not then please open this link and let it play in the background as you read the opening. (or buying the album and downloading then reading is also a viable option)

Beauty, simplicity, truth.  Sometimes, that’s all music needs.  Often, it would be better if that’s all there was.

If you’ve seen Sharon Van Etten live in the past couple of years you know.  Sharon and Heather singing together sound like the most wonderful 2 headed singer ever.  It’s a rare and beautiful thing to hear two voices that work so well together. Maybe you’ve also heard Heather and her brother, Peter Broderick, together on his songs, or in Horse Feathers or Efterklang. But not enough people know about Heather’s solo material. It’s beautiful and truthful.  Fortunately, it sounds like we’ll have a new album by her next year. I’m so happy that she took time out of her schedule to share some thoughts on songwriting.

Name: Heather Woods Broderick
Current City: Brooklyn, NY
Record Label: Preservation
Most recent release:
‘From the Ground’
Various collaborations since then
Band Affiliation:
(from most current going back:)

Sharon Van Etten (US)
Alela Diane (US)
Efterklang (DK)
Horse Feathers (US)

Brief Intro:
Growing up in the relative quiet of the Maine countryside while learning a range of instruments and being sung to sleep by her parents playing folk songs, natural and rural sounds became central to Heather’s sense of song, falling into a deeply personal realm. The subtlety and nuance in Heather’s music also comes from her inclination towards ambient and experimental sounds, conjuring atmosphere equally with the striking melodies at the core of her songs.  – Preservation

OSW: What is your songwriting/composing process? What are you most proud of?
Heather Woods Broderick: Generally my songs begin with a melody. I sit down with a guitar or at the piano and play around until I come up with something I like. The words usually come as that melodic idea is developing, as I’m play it over and over again.

OSW: What is your favorite songwriting lyric?
Heather Woods Broderick:  Ah, so many. But one of my favorites might be: ‘Where is the reason. Don’t blame it on me. Blame it on my wild heart.’ -Stevie Nicks

OSW: You have a very musical family. You and Peter have played together in Efterklang and some other settings. Did you both develop interest in music at the same time or did one of you influence and/or lead the other into music?
Heather Woods Broderick: I feel really lucky to come from such a musical family. I’m four years older than Peter, so naturally I was playing music a little earlier than him. I asked my parents if I could start taking piano lessons when I was 8 years old. Peter might have started Suzuki violin at an even earlier age. We both developed similar music tastes a little later on, sharing bands we liked with each other. I still have a pile of mixed tapes he made me when we both lived in Portland. He used to leave them in my mailbox.

OSW: You and Peter have taken musical ideas that your Dad created and built songs from those. How much fun was that?
Heather Woods Broderick: Well Peter has had more to do with that than I have. On the latest 10″ my dad put out I did write and record some lyrics for one of the songs, and played some various additional instruments on that track. It was really fun to surprise my Dad with those songs after we’d added our parts.

OSW: What advice would you give to young songwriters/composers?
Heather Woods Broderick: Keep writing, and don’t get too hung up on making things perfect all the time. Easier said than done for sure. I feel like the more you write, the more you’ll grow.

[OSW Note: The next question is further proof why one, namely me, should not trust either Spotify or Amazon as a research tool… read on friends…and hit play on more Heather Woods Broderick songs to stream while you read]

OSW: It’s been 8 years since ‘From The Ground’, which I think is a great album.  When do we get a new solo album from you? (though I did enjoy ‘Portland Stories’ that you produced/compiled)
Heather Woods Broderick: FTG came out in 2009, so it’s been a few years, but thankfully (for my own sake) not 8. 🙂 I’ve been working on new songs consistently for the last couple years, on the road, and during the small breaks from touring I’ve had. I’ll be recording a new record at the beginning of 2014.

OSW: What movies and/or books have influenced your writing?
Heather Woods Broderick: I think most things I watch or read probably linger around and somehow come up in my thought process or writing. I like descriptive writing; books by authors like: Faulkner, McCarthy, Kundera, Dillard, C.S. Lewis.. the list could go on and on.

OSW: If you could go back and be part of any album, what would it be and why?
Heather Woods Broderick: Hard to choose. Maybe Neil Young’s ‘Comes A Time’. I learned to sing harmonies to his records, and I often have dreamt of being there singing along. Or I might just want to be a fly on the wall during the making of Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Nebraska’.

OSW: If you could sit down and talk about songwriting with anyone, who would it be and why?
Heather Woods Broderick: Probably Neil Young, but I’d be scared out of my mind so I don’t think the conversation would last too long.

Heather Woods Broderick on the Web
‘From The Ground’
website coming with new album

“Wounded Bird”

All interviews and Bonus Materials, including Heather Woods Broderick, will be archived alphabetically HERE for easy access in the future.

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Thanks for spending some time here,
Our Scattered Words


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