It only makes sense that Australian-born, Canadian-raised singer-songwriter Ruth Moody has enjoyed her illustrious career, filled with Juno Awards (Canada’s answer to the Grammys), Billboard-charting albums and more than a dozen appearances on A Prairie Home Companion. After all, she’s been groomed for it since birth.
“When I was growing up, there was music everywhere. Either someone was singing or practicing, or there was music playing, at all times,” she said. “In that sense, music was a very normal thing in the house, but it was also a very special thing; my mother brought the family together with music and a lot of importance was placed on it.”
Moody’s music-teaching mother had all of her children classically trained, breeding a world-class violist, violinist and cellist in the process. Moody chose piano, eventually focusing on vocal training before folk music took over.
“It became obvious to me that I wasn’t going to be an opera or a classical singer. My voice didn’t want to do it, at least not consistently,” Moody said. “I never really quite fit into that classical mold, but I refer to my training often, both consciously and subconsciously. I don’t think you can really separate these things. They all just become part of you.”
She joined roots band Scruj MacDuhk in 1996, then award-winning trio The Wailin’ Jennys in 2001. After nearly a decade of overwhelming success, Moody began writing material that would become her solo debut, The Garden, in 2010 — not that it was a totally natural step.
“That was the scary part. It felt so new, and it wasn’t something I was craving or planning on doing,” she said, “but when the Jennys went on sabbatical, I thought, ‘OK, I guess I’d better face this fear now.’ Now I’m really starting to enjoy it.”
Currently, Moody splits her time writing and touring with The Wailin’ Jennys and working on a new batch of material that will become her sophomore solo effort, hopefully for an early 2013 release.
“I’m mostly just pushing myself to try new things and to remember that there is no formula,” she said. “It’s amazing what you can end up with if you step out of your comfort zone a little bit.”