The People’s Choice Award: Kyle Woolard
18: Kyle Woolard
Create a live music concert and light show experience
Glorious Leader is the solo project of American musician, vocalist, and multi-instrumentalist Kyle Woolard. Written and recorded in his home in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom, the music is an attempt at uncompromising honesty. It is a celebration of humanity, of the far north, of the infinite shades between joy and sorrow, of wood stoves and whiteouts.
Kyle has toured 20 countries and counting and plans to record an album for (and on) each continent.
As my solo act Glorious Leader, I write music that transmits the spirit of the Northeast Kingdom as I feel it. However, I am a bit tired of simply being another guy with an acoustic guitar. I miss the experience of orchestrating many different instruments and having more dynamic range on stage. I want shows that can go from the microscopic to the galactic and everywhere in between.
To achieve this, I’ve been planning for two years on how to build a new kind of live show — one that lets me be the guitarist, synth player, bassist, drummer, and vocalist without relying on conventional looping or settling for a laptop-zombie performance. This past year, I finalized the hardware and software lineup and dived into learning everything I needed to learn. I am building the live show this year with the intention of taking it on the road in 2024. In September 2023 I will begin working with professional lighting designer Cavan Meese (Glover, VT) to design a light show using completely novel lighting techniques and technologies.
The stage show will be minimalistic and value-dense, with everything on stage taking up a minimal footprint and providing as much punch as possible. My equipment rack will sit on the top of a 2-tiered keyboard stand and will contain the audio interface, laptop, in-ear monitoring system, and DIs for front-of-house. On the bottom tier will be a miniature midi controller keyboard next to a lunchbox-sized modular synth that will create generative drum beats based on parameterized random voltages and midi sequencing. Aside from what’s on this stand, I will have an acoustic and electric guitar, a Zimbabwean kalimba, and my grandfather’s 1935 Martin ukulele.
As I start a song, I will build everything possible — from synths to guitar lines, drums to bass and beyond — in real time. The difference from most live shows will be that all looping is automated. That lets me create more textures in less time and with more attention to interact with the audience. The light show will play with videographic moving-head lights, which we’ll use not to project video on a screen but to create new types of movement and atmosphere on and around the stage.
The equipment is quite costly. I am using everything I can that I already have, but it has required thousands of dollars worth of purchases in addition.
I will be renting lighting equipment from Cavan, because buying it appears to be prohibitively expensive at this point.
I am so excited to share this show with the world. My concerts move through a wide range of emotions but always leave people feeling uplifted, and with this concert, I intend to take that experience to a new level.
“Green Mountain Sun.” This is an example of my most recent music, released in 2021.
“Green Mountain Sun (live demo).” This is my sample reworking of the song through my electronic live show setup.
“If You Love Her (Say That You Do).” This is an unreleased song from my upcoming EP, recorded in my home studio.