Royce Hood has just released his latest single 'From This Rock', and in this interview with Louder Than The Music he explains the background to that song and the emotional story behind some of the other tracks on his recent EP, 'Since that Day'.
For those who haven't heard of you before, can you tell us a bit about yourself and how you got involved in making music?
I'm a husband and father to a beautiful growing family. I’ve been blessed professionally to be involved in everything from the practice of law to the production of films.
I started writing and performing music in my teens. But for the last 10 years or so I have only shared my art with my family and close friends. During the lockdowns of 2020, I could no longer ignore the burning desire in my heart to share my music with anyone who would listen. My motivation to record and release music is this:
I want to make music my kids can listen to without jeopardizing their souls. People are hungry for truth, for positive influence, for virtue.
If you listen to my music, you will hopefully hear the influence of my faith spilling out through the chords and lyrics. We need music that will enrich souls but that is also fun to hear. I'm on a mission to promote virture over vice. If it's God's will people will listen.
Tell us about your new single 'From This Rock' and what the inspiration behind it was?
This song is about trusting the Holy Spirit. When you put God's will ahead of your own will, you become completely free. As we grow in faith we grow in power. Faith the size of a mustard seed can move a mountain. So by trusting in the Holy Spirit, in what I call the Holy Spirit Action Plan we can serve God's will and not be afraid. Let the fire of the Holy Spirit grow in your heart. ''Be who God called you to be and you will set the world on fire'' ~ St. Catherine of Siena.
That track is from your recent EP, 'Since that Day', which also features a very special song called 'Fulton's Song'. Tell us a bit of the background to that song and the EP in general.
Since that Day EP started off as a single I wrote as a gift to my wife to celebrate our 8th wedding anniversary. Right before we released the song Since That Day, my wife and I learned that our unborn son Fulton had a life limiting complication in-utero. He was due to be born the following March but would only live a matter of minutes. Long story short, medically there was nothing we could do to save his life. So we enjoyed every minute he was with us during the pregnancy.
This led me to record what would become Fulton’s Song. During Fulton’s 22-week ultrasound I was able to capture an audio recording of his heartbeat. The heartbeat was used at the metronome for his song.
The response to Fulton's Song was incredibly moving. We were joined by thousands of people around the world in praying for a miracle for our son. And in the end, the miracle we received was not the miracle we wanted but it was what we needed. Fulton passed away a week before his birth date. He was still born on Good Friday, April 2. He went from the womb to Heaven and he never suffered. By surrendering to God’s will we were able to enjoy our time with Fulton and get through a really difficult situation. There is more to the story published at FultonJoseph.com
As for the EP, it includes four songs each with a different message. I intended to include a few additional tracks but ultimately my musical direction shifted focus after Fulton. Tracks on Since that Day include:
Since That Day - Anniversary Song
From This Rock and
Before this Altar a song that celebrates marriage (the single and music will be released later this year).
What message would you like people to take from your music?
Faith, Hope and Love. Give my music and listen and you may discover new ways to approach your own faith. When you listen to my music or watch my music videos see if you can find the message each of my songs deliver. In the end, although some of my songs are simple songs about my life or love, I want my music to be an instrument of God's will. To that end the music being released now with From this Rock and in the future will hopefully enrich hearts, minds and souls.
How would you describe your style of music and what are your influences?
My musical influences are all over the place. As a kid I was exposed to everthing from classical to new age to alternative to classic rock. From there I've explored hip-hop, country, jazz, blues, techno and everything else you can imagine. My favorite records from secular groups include albums like Dark Side of the Moon and The Wall by PinkFloyd. I love how they combined synth and lead guitar riffs. As a kid my family would take crazy road trips from Florida all the way to Colorado and beyond. At one point my parents kept playing Enya or Yanni CDs (probably to keep the drive calm). Enya is really interesting how she builds her vocals by adding layers upon layers of her own vocals using different sounds and harmonies. The more modern artist known as Iron and Wine does something similar with vocals and goes further to incorporate various strings with catchy grooves and beats. On the Christian side the very first concert I ever went to was Jars of Clay. Between whem and DC Talk I guess I'm sort of old-school. I don't want this to come across the wrong way but I listen a lot to my own music. Over the years I've recorded well over a hundred songs. I'm constantly critiquing the old and the new. I'm trying to create a unique sound that combines elements of my favorite sounds along with expirementing with new sounds. Each of my songs is different.
If you could work with any songwriter, who would it be and why?
I've never thought about it in this way before. The people I really want to work with in the studio are people who write music and live their lives consistent with their faith. I've worked with some really talented musicians over the years. But the musicians who understand what I'm trying to do are the ones who share my fire for the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. That said I've love to work with a group like We Are Messengers. I was actually on a shuttle bus with those guys heading over to the March for Life Rally a couple of years ago. I'm also a big fan of upcoming artist by the name of Seph Schlueter. Hoping to work soon with Nick and Alina De Le Tora on a track called Cover Me in the early part of next year. Last, I'm good friends with an incredible musician Sal Solo who is working on some really cool material. He's extremely talented and I keep texting him asking for a beat.
How would you define success in your career as an artist?
Honestly anytime someone takes the time to watch one of my music videos or listen to one of my tracks that means everything to me, especially when they tell me about their experience. I love hear from people even if they are providing constructive feedback. When we released Fulton's Song I was contacted by a woman who said she hadn't gone to church or prayed in like twenty years. She was going to confession, praying and going back to church because of Fulton's story. That's a success. I'm in this world but I'm not of it and so if people can be lifted up through one of my songs than I'm good with that
What is your favorite album of all time?
Right now it's the Since that Day, EP. As for other artists I can't answer this, there are too many incredible albums out there to name one.
You're stuck on an island, it's hot, you only have enough battery life left to listen to one song on your phone. What track is it?
I grew up in South Florida and spent a ton of time on little Islands off the Florida coast and in the Bahamas, so to be honest this sounds fantastic. If I was gonna die on the island (I'd survive) I would listen to something for my soul, like the Divine Mercy Chaplet which is about devotion to Jesus Christ. On the otherhand if I was just hanging out, I'd listen to some island music like Three Little Birds by Bob Marley. Big difference between the two soooo.
What does the next year hold for you?
Great question. I'm working on three songs in the studio right now in the studio that I hope to finish before the end of the year. But I have dozens I want to put into production or finish. In January of 2022 I will be at the March for Life Expo in DC promoting a new music foundation that will be launched before the end of 2021. So over the next year I plan to record, produce and release as many songs as Providence will allow. Each song will be accompanied by a music video to illustrate the message of the track.