When most people think of Colour of London they think of two men: Jimmie Allen and Nate Woodall. Since Jimmie seems to be everywhere these days, we wanted to take a moment to give our fans the inside scoop on Nate.
A guitarist, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, Nate was born the second oldest of seven children in DuPont, Ind., and was raised in Cadiz, Kentucky. Through his experiences playing different instruments — saxophone in concert band, bass in his dad’s blues band, and guitar in his friend’s rock band — Nate quickly expanded his talents across the board.
In college Nate focused on playing football and graduated with degrees in Music and English. But, when he was through, he wasn’t comfortable enough with his skill level and experience as a guitarist yet to dive in to a career as a musician. “I thought I should get a ‘real’ job so I moved to Los Angeles after graduating to work at Interscope Records.”
Having been immersed in the record industry, Nate felt his skills lied in the creative side of music and left in 2003 to pursue his passion. In 2007, Nate moved to Nashville, Tenn., to focus solely on his music.
Currently, Nate performs with newly-formed band, Colour of London, where they are presently on tour.
Q: You’re a self-taught musician. How did you assess your talent growing up?
A: I started playing sax in middle school so the band director did it for me during chair tryouts. I wasn’t a natural talent, but I worked at it. Sometimes because I really loved to play and other times simply because I didn’t want to embarrass myself in front of the entire band.
Q: Who is your biggest inspiration in life and why?
A: The people in my family; all of them. From the grandparents to the new-borns. It’s large and encompasses so many different personalities, choices, perspectives and lifestyles. It’s not a picture perfect family, and even a bit messy at times, but it has been held together by love, forgiveness and loyalty. That’s inspiring to me.
Q: What was it like growing up in such a large family?
A: There were so many people around the house! Brothers, sisters, their friends, my friends, parents, my parents’ friends, lots of cousins … on and on. I grew to realize it as a blessing to be raised in that environment. There was never a dull moment and we were encouraged to get out of the house and be adventurous. Probably because my mom needed a nap!
Q: How did your father also being a musician affect you wanting to pursue a career in music?
A: Some of my earliest memories of my dad involve him playing his guitar and mandolin or riding in his work truck and listening to music. I learned things from him that still influence my musical decisions to this day and really developed a love for music by watching, listening and later, playing along with him. My musical roots run deep though. My mom went to college on a cello scholarship, my mema is a lifelong pianist, and my granddaddy is a retired band director who still plays a few gigs a month with various wind ensembles and big bands — he’s 86.
Q: What artists have you worked with and how does that dynamic change how you approach writing and music?
A: Other than playing American Idol tours in Japan and Europe, and a few side gigs here and there, I’ve mostly invested my time playing in bands. I’ve written songs with other songwriters and that’s always refreshing, especially if you’re in a rut and feel like you keep writing the same song over and over. It’s good to go through the creative process with other perspectives than just your own. I really believe that’s how you can get the absolute best out of a song. What’s better than one good idea? Two or three good ideas, then you can choose the best! Jimmie and I had that situation happen a lot while working on our new EP with producer Dustin Burnett and I know it really brought our songs to life.
Q: Tell me about playing football and what happened to that dream?
A: I always loved playing the game so I worked hard at it in high school and ended up being decent enough to play all the way through college. I never really had a dream to play past the college level, but maybe I should have. I might’ve been one of Belichick’s first undersized receiver projects. Haha!
Q: The entertainment industry is extremely competitive. What keeps you motivated to continue to pursue your dreams?
A: Part of my motivation is in planning, setting goals and working towards them every day. If you’re serious about making something a career you need to be diligent and disciplined in your work. Otherwise, you’re an unfocused daydreamer. The other part is just that constant pursuit of being in transcendent moments of music that speak on a universal level. In those moments, you are part of an energy that is much bigger than your song or whatever you’re playing. You can’t force them though. They are really a gift.
Q: Where do you draw your inspiration from?
A: I read books, try to observe what’s going on outside of my immediate world, and listen to all kinds of instrumental music. Sometimes I have more complete thoughts when there are no lyrics to follow. My mind can wander, be creative, and process ideas instead of singing along.
Q: How did you meet Jimmie Allen?
A: As shady as it sounds, we met on Craigslist! That being said, I think there was a bit of divine intervention involved. I was killing time during my lunch break at work, saw an ad looking for a guitar player and rang Jimmie up for a quick chat. As fate would have it, we actually ran in to each other later that week at a filming for a TV show we were both playing for, so we would have eventually met even without the ad.
Q: Tell me a little bit about your band mate and the chemistry you guys have?
A: Jimmie has definitely been given a gift from above when it comes to his voice and he’s worked hard to develop his sound. He is a uniquely talented singer/songwriter with a good heart and those two characteristics alone make it really easy for us to work together as Colour of London. On top of that, we are great friends and compliment each other well because we not only care about the music, but we both care about the places that its coming from and what we are trying to communicate.