Photographer: Josh Wessolowski

LANNDS sat in front of us in the back of Deep Search with a small smile lighting up her face. She fidgeted and looked down at the wood floor.

She immediately thanked us for wanting to talk to her. Her 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 100k listens on Spotify.

Photo by Josh Wessolowski
Photo by Josh Wessolowski

She didn’t know how starstruck we were. We gushed over her music and she gushed over us.

We stumbled upon her at an acoustic show at Mockshop Music Exchange where we were blown away.

Mockshop is a small room inside of a Murray Hill strip. Guitars decorate the brick walls and decorative carpet dress the white floors. On that September evening, LANNDS stood in front of a small audience with only a microphone, an amp and her electric guitar. It was so quiet, it seemed as if no one was breathing.

She laughed into the microphone and introduced herself. She seemed in awe of herself, standing in front of people there to hear her. She started a song–stopped–and started again. She laughed at herself, the audience laughed with her–and then she changed. The music seemed to overtake her–it was what she knew best. She started to sing and took the audience’s breath away.

Otherwise known as Rania Woodard, the Memphis, Tenn. native has musical prowess that is shaking Jacksonville to its very core.

Finding her music was a bit serendipitous. She is very connected to Sea Cycles–her album was produced by member Brian Squillace, and they both have a dreamy, atmospheric style of music edging on electronica.

She released her debut EP, Wide Awake in a Sleepy World, on August 16. 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 says.

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. We asked her how she does it, and she immediately pulled a small keyboard out of her backpack–as if she was always ready to record.

Photo by Rania Woodard
Photo by Rania Woodard

Photo by Rania Woodard.

She builds the song off of 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 told us.

Her show at Mockshop ended with a small smile and a thousand thanks. I could feel my heart swell as she left the stage.

She is a dichotomy in herself–almost a contradiction–being down to earth, while simultaneously transcendental. She’s on a journey to find herself and her music.

We’re excited to be along for the ride.
Find her music on Spotify and Soundcloud. Catch her with Narrow/Arrow, Cave Paint and Sea Cycles on Nov. 2.