Behind the Song
The Arrow & The Bow
Hannah Lou Woods and Hillary Reynolds are two songwriters hailing from the Midwest joining forces on a musical journey to explore the healing and heart opening power of music, meditation, yoga, and travel.
For fans who have never heard your music, can you pick three words to describe it?!
Grounding, introspective, fairy-folk-pop
What is your favorite part about being an artist? Is it songwriting, performing, recording, something else? Tell us why.
Hillary Reynolds: My favorite part about being an artist is being able to have full autonomy over the vision of a song. Over the years, I’ve learned to keep the precious songs close, and let others find homes with other artists. I love the flow state I enter when I’m writing, recording, and performing. When I enter that state, that's when I know I’m fully present and connected to what I’m creating.
Hannah Lou Woods: For me, I think it’s pretty close between songwriting and recording, though if I had to pick one, songwriting would win. I love creating music, writing and expressing deeper feelings through sound. If I didn’t have that outlet to express myself, I think I might go insane. But I also love recording and building worlds of layered vocals and instruments to bring the fullness of a song to life. When I’m writing, I often hear in my head ideas for production and arrangement, and it is just so satisfying when a song goes from a tiny seed of an idea to this blossoming flower of sound that reflects exactly what you’re trying to say. Can you tell us what being in the recording studio is like for you?
Hillary: It really depends on the studio for me. During the pandemic, I’ve gotten very comfortable with my home recording process. Sometimes studios have such a big presence that I can often psych myself out and not really bring my full self into the space. If the vibe feels good, I’m right at home.
Hannah: I LOVE being in the studio. It is so fun to get to create and make up ideas and explore and play. Lately, I’ve been mostly recording from my home, so it’s usually very relaxed. I can lose track of time and just be recording and mixing for hours. If I’m with another producer, I have to be with a producer I feel comfortable with, who respects my ideas. If I don’t feel that sort of equal shared camaraderie, it makes recording a little more difficult. Hillary is a person who is so fun to be in the studio with, as she’s super creative and we just go back and forth with ideas until we make something we both love.
Okay, this a fun question. When you are not doing music, what else do you enjoy doing? Hillary: I love to go for hikes, spend time being a couch potato with my six month old pup and my 23 year old cat, cooking with my husband, backyard fires with friends, and traveling whenever possible! Hannah: I love traveling with my husband, going for hikes in nature, yoga, playing with our dog, painting, and I also love baking! My favorite thing to bake lately is lemon poppyseed muffins and pumpkin scones.
Who do you admire most in the music scene today and why? Hillary: I really admire the country duo Honey County, We Saw Lions, Mickey Guyton, Kalie Shorr, Sara Bareilles, Aurora and Carole King - they're all women and their authenticity shines in their own way. Hannah: I admire any artist that’s trying to follow his or her passion and dreams, it really takes so much perseverance and courage. But someone who I really admire lately is Alica Keys. I feel like she brings a spirit of authenticity into everything she does, and I also love what she’s doing with the She is the Music initiative. I also love her music, and her sincerity in her performances.
Can you tell us what song you've written that is the most emotional and describe the meaning behind it?: Hannah: It’s definitely hard to pick just one! We feel like it’s a tie between a song from our first EP, “Be Still,” and our most recent single, “Universe.” “Be Still” came about while we were in Oban, Scotland, drinking coffee, and Hillary shared with me a lyric idea she’d had that morning. The words inspired me to write the next part of the lyrics, and we went back and forth creating this sort of vocal hymn/chant. We walked around this beautiful village, singing and writing this song, and we ended up in a cathedral. It was the perfect place to write and finish the melody and lyrics, which are all about finding peace amidst the storms. The original demo we recorded while we were in that cathedral from our iPhones is on our youtube channel. It’s such a healing song, we still sing it sometimes to ourselves to help us feel calm. It’s also a song we’ve shared at the end of yoga classes. “Universe” is also a song that has been with us for a while now, and it’s a song that has given us strength and courage to continue following our paths within the music industry. It’s a sort of prayer to life and the universe to help us become more empowered and believe in ourselves.
Are you working on any new material right now or what's in the works for the upcoming year?:
Hillary: We are! We’re in the midst of recording our version of one of our favorite Tom Petty songs. Since Hannah lives in Minnesota and I live in California, we’re using this cover as an opportunity to develop our own remote recording processes so that we’ll be able to really dive into production on our next original single in 2022.