LANNDS sat in front of me with a small smile lighting up her face. She fidgeted and looked down at the wood floor below her.
She immediately thanked me for wanting to speak with her, and humility radiated from her nervous demeanor. She held her hands together and rocked back and forth when she talked. Her heels alternated tapping the floor.
It’s not what you would expect from an artist with almost 10,000 monthly listeners on Spotify.
Otherwise known as Rania Woodard, the Memphis, Tenn. native has musical prowess that is shaking Jacksonville to its very core. Her dreamy, atmospheric style of music, edging on electronica is one of the few like it in the Bold City.
Two remixes of her debut single, “Still” were just released, and when both artists reached out to Woodard through social media, she was flattered.
“No matter how you look at it, I think it’s always cool to collaborate with other musicians just for the love of music whether it is a remix or not. Whenever I hear these remixes or any remix of any kind, I just see them as another body of work re-worked from the perspective of the artist who is creating it. It’s their own way of thinking and hearing it, which is cool.”
She released her debut EP, Wide Awake in a Sleepy World, on February 10. It’s about just that.
“Lately, I’ve been into this transcendental feel of things. I feel more rounded. My themes for writing have been more about uniting people. This entire EP is about being conscious and aware of what’s going on in today’s society and trying to find peace through it all,” she said.
Each song lends its own hand to the theme of keeping yourself grounded and knowing that you are connected to everyone else. The title track, “Wide Awake” is most about this concept. “Metanoia” and “Still” follows it, bringing in the concept of being in love.
“Basically, it’s about being in love with someone and realizing that in that moment of ‘stillness,’ that’s all there is,” she said.
“Young Years” is a brave defense of millennials. “Everyone thinks we’re lazy, but we actually care a lot,” Woodard said.
The four-track EP was written on her laptop first, using a production program called Logic Pro.
For her, the music comes first.
She creates a dichotomy with her guitar and the program, using both to construct her album. I asked her how she does it, and she immediately pulled a small keyboard (a Novation Launchkey Mini) out of her backpack, apparently always ready to record.
She builds the song off guitar riffs and a drum beat. Then, she basically presses different buttons on the keyboard, which makes atmospheric sounds on Logic Pro, until she finds what she likes. She adds vocals and keeps adding filler sounds until she feels a complete song is born.
“I want this to be the thing that I do,” she said.
She is a dichotomy in herself: being down to earth, while simultaneously transcendental. She’s on a journey to find herself and her music.
Catch her at Rain Dogs on May 18 with MRENC, Wild Pines and Banquet.