“Even as a kid, I was a true performer. I was singing, I was dancing. I was telling stories from such a young age,” says 27 year old Roderick Woodruff, a New York City-based music artist.
Raised in Detroit, Woodruff (who uses they/them pronouns) grew up surrounded by the arts, performing internationally with The Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit’s choir, and attending performing arts schools and programs throughout their high school and college career.
“Early on, my family saw lots of potential in me. They're like, ‘Oh, you're going to do this,’” they say, “but for a long time I had rejected the music industry because of my bad experiences with it.”
Roderick Woodruff’s New Album The In Between
Now Woodruff, who is known for creating autobiographical multimedia plays Boyz and A Boy’s Room in addition to their music, is maximizing that ever-present potential in a stunning new album, The In Between, officially releasing on all streaming platforms today. On Tuesday, February 6th, the artist will celebrate the album launch with “An Evening of Fake Celebs” - part concert, part New York Fashion Week event. Taking place at Lower East Side hotspot Nublu NYC, the evening will feature not only Woodruff’s first full-scale live performances of their album’s material, but also special guest performers Jah X and Croconile.
Though Roderick Woodruff Showed Star Quality Talent From a Young Age, It Wasn't Until COVID-19 That They Pursued Music.
Woodruff may be in full-fledged pursuit of art and music now, but it took the COVID-19 lockdowns to spark a real change in their life.
“When the pandemic happened I was living in New York. I had nothing to do, so I just started writing about my exes—very Taylor Swift style,” Woodruff explains. “These sort of ‘fuck you’ voice-memos that I had recorded on my phone became the music that would eventually make up this album.”
As an avid voice-recorder, Woodruff often recorded themselves ranting about various situations—both in love and life—as well as any rhythm or sound they heard on the streets of the city.
“I'm very inspired by New York. There's always something fascinating about the stimulation; it's infectious so I like to record that,” he says. “I'm a person that can't let things go—sounds, situations, anything. So even when I record it, I'm dissecting, and picking it apart all day long.”
Armed With Unparalleled Talent and a File Filled With Audio Recordings, Roderick Woodruff Harnessed Their Hurt into Art.
“[Music] was therapy before I had therapy,” they explain. “In 2019 I had gone through a horrendous breakup where, for like two months after the break, we were just in this in-between phase of ‘we’re back together’ and then not. That was kind of the basis for this album.”
With each of The In Between’s seven tracks exploring the many manifestations of grief and self-growth, Woodruff hones in on one unique theme in particular—generational patterns in relationships and the journey one goes through in breaking them.
How Did Roderick Woodruff Produce The In Between?
“A lot of my experiences have been the same as my grandma and my mother,” they say. “Like them, I love very hard, forgive way too easily, and believe men way too much. This album was a way for me to get to ‘Actually, you don't have to continue this pattern.’ I don't have to take care of a man, and I don't have to fight for love—that love is already inside of me.”
After teaming up with Nashville based producers Bian Nathan and Adrienne Howard, the album’s sound was infused with local beats from New York, Detroit and Nashville to create a soulful tone that was authentic to Woodruff’s experience.
“Brian's a music connoisseur,” they explain. “He heard that I was from Detroit and incorporated some Detroit techno into [the track] ‘Fake Celeb.’ He was like, ‘Oh, Brooklyn, you are part of the queer scene in Brooklyn. Let's incorporate some of that culture into the music and bring in Nashville influence as well.’”
With a variety of genres sprinkled throughout The In Between, Woodruff credits artists such as Frank Ocean, Freddie Mercury, Miley Cyrus, Gaga, Ed Sheeran, and many more as sources of inspiration for the album’s sound.
What’s Next For Roderick Woodruff?
Through heartbreak sprouts growth, and what Woodruff hopes for listeners is that they can use their experiences as inspiration for change.
“I want to make art that is a reflection of my own experiences and hope that someone sees themselves, that someone can take that and grow and learn from my mistakes, that they don't have to sit in this in between,” Woodruff says.
Stream ’The In Between‘ now on all platforms!
And catch their upcoming performance for a NYFW party:
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Elara Montana is Editorial Director of The Lexington Line at LIM College. A Fashion Media major, she is currently in her junior year.