Nick Heyword’s career in music initially rocketed to acclaim as frontman of hit making 80’s band, Haircut One Hundred. The band scored two top 40 hits in the US and four top 10 in the UK. But the evolution of his life has taken him far from the 80’s synth pop days. His most recent release, “Woodland Echoes” reflects a calmer evolution of love and nature that matured over the decade it was formed in.
It took 18 years, 10 of which were spent fleshing out the music, for Heyword to release his ninth studio album on November 3, 2017. When I chatted with the articulate and introspective singer/songwriter, he referred to the process as pollination. Describing it he said, “It was completely natural, you know. The same process as trees, what makes trees grow and flowers and vegetables and people. Any time I tried to push it, it just didn’t want to be pushed.”
So Heyword approached the music for “Woodland Echoes” with careful respect, writing and re-writing songs until they blossomed into finished works of art. He explained the process, “When they were finished, I just knew they were finished. Sometimes they would be finished and I knew they hadn’t reached their full potential, so I recorded them again. I either kept the lyric and re-record the music, or visa versa.”
One particular single he revealed, was re-recorded four separate times. “This song, ‘Beautiful Morning’, I had the lyric and I recorded the song melody and chords and everything, I think it was about three times. And on the fourth time, it just happened when I wasn’t trying to push it. I wasn’t even thinking about the lyrics. I was sitting and the window was open. I was living in the countryside.”
As each song reached maturation and assimilated over the years, Nick reflected on the body of work that had taken shape saying, “It seemed to be a musical. A story of an old man by the sea in a beach hut, where the hand of time compels him to leave the beach house. He hasn’t found romantic love. He’s found love in his heart, but he hasn’t found it with another person. So he leaves the beach hut and he turns around to look at the hut to say goodbye really, and he realizes he’s been inside a cuckoo clock and maybe he’s a cuckoo bird. So goes this story, the journey of this cuckoo bird meeting this bluebird in a forest of love.” Continuing, “I didn’t set out to do this. It just – you sort of step back and go oh, that’s what I’ve been doing.”
What he did set out to do, was create art and music that would live and breath on its own for many years to follow. He concluded our conversation eloquently by explaining, “That’s really it. That’s what the artist wants. Not for the artist, I don’t want to be known. It’s the music that you want to be known. That’s what you’ve done. That’s what you want to be appreciated. So really it’s about the painting not the painter. The painter dies but the painting lives on.” And he promises it won’t take another decade before he releases music again, “It’s not going to take another 18 years to do the next album. Now I’m set up it seems. Because I’m in this process of sharing, I now have my own record label.”
“Woodland Echoes” is available for purchase at PledgeMusic.