Sudburian Ashley Woodruff wrote one of the songs on her debut self-titled album in an unlikely place — while working at Tim Hortons in the drive-thru and sandwich counter.
While recording her album with her songwriting partner, Rob Murphy, it became apparent that their plans to record a remixed version of one of her songs wasn't going to work out.
So Murphy told her that she needed to quickly write a new song so they could finish the album.
“I'm writing a song in my head in between customers,” Woodruff said. “I wrote most of that in my mind on sandwich counter.”
The unusual songwriting arrangement worked out, though. “'My Heart Always Does' was the one she wrote in two days,” said Murphy. “People are saying it's one of the best on the album. That's why it became the opening track.”
Woodruff held an album release party at Little Montreal Dec. 15. “It was a very good turnout,” she said. “It was a great night. Lots of people showed up. I was really happy about that.”
The 22-year-old is a graduate of Sudbury Secondary School's performing arts program, where she was a vocal major.
She was taking social work at Cambrian College, but decided not to continue with the program, so she's taking a year off to focus on her music career.
Woodruff said she plans to return to Cambrian in the fall to take developmental services.
Her album falls under the broad category of adult contemporary, although it incorporates many different musical styles, including ballads, dance and even rap, she said.
It was a bit of serendipity that led her to work with Murphy, a veteran Sudbury musician who has credits on 17 albums.
Murphy said he was working out of town with a band, and during a break, he was scrolling through social media, and happened upon Woodruff's page. He contacted her after deciding he liked her material.
“It took about a year to do everything,” Woodruff said. “We actually produced the album together. The lyrics and melody, I composed that myself, and I worked with Rob, who put together the instrumentals. So we worked together on that.”
When asked if he thinks Woodruff has what it takes to make it in the music business, Murphy said “I know she will. She's the most determined musician I've ever worked with.”
If you're interested in purchasing Woodruff's album or learning more about her, visit her website.