When musician Elijah Woods, who has amassed over 590,000 streams on Spotify alone, needed quality guitar strings for a late-night recording session a few months ago, he knew just who to call: his former Algonquin College professor, Colin Mills.
“I was in a pickle,” Woods said. “We had to get this song done by 6 a.m the next day and all the stores were closed. I was like who can I call at 11 p.m. at night who will have guitar strings and who I know will have good ones? So, I text Colin I was like ‘hey man, been a while. Do you have guitar strings for me?’ and he was like ‘for sure come-over.’”
Woods, who found success soon after his graduation in 2015 with fellow Algonquin graduate Jamie Fine, is now recording his own solo music and is set to appear at music festivals this summer. The pair would go on to win the Canadian music competition The Launch with their rendition of “Ain’t Easy” originally by Ryan Tedder and Camila Cabello.
After their amicable breakup in 2020, which Woods says came down to different musical interests, he branched out and began singing and writing his own songs. His first solo song called “Lights” which was certified gold, remains a fan favourite months after its release.
Woods continues to be connected to the college. Along with connecting with Mills, he visited the CKDJ studio on March 21 to sit down with Liam Fox, an Algonquin Times reporter about his time at the college, his early days with Jamie Fine and the future.
The interview was a production of both the journalism students, as well as students in the advertising and marketing communications management program. in collaboration with the radio broadcast team. It was broadcasted on CKDJ 107.9 and simultaneously streamed on Zoom.
During the interview, Woods said that not only did he learn a lot during his time in the program, it was also valuable to him because it’s where he met Fine. “For a couple of years we made music together and that was kind of the start of my musical journey,” he said. “I had an amazing time at the college. All the profs, all the people, I really enjoyed my time here.”
During the interview, Woods reacted to a story from his former professor and 11-p.m. -phone-friend, Mills, spoke about his entry into the program
“I told him to not waste his $90 with Ontario Colleges and apply because he is not going to get in,” Mills had said to Woods when he’d first reached out to him.
Mills says he told Woods there was no way he’d be accepted for the upcoming academic year. The wait list was too long. He should try again next year. Woods’ reaction? He applied anyway.
“I feel really privileged that he did get in but it’s one of those things where we almost missed that connection,” Mills said. “It’s one of those things everything happens for a reason, and I am glad he didn’t listen to me and not apply.”
Upon hearing his professor’s story, Woods laughed.
“I haven’t thought about that story in forever. That’s kind of just how I live my life when someone tells me no. I’m like, ‘no fuck you. I’m going to do this anyways,'” he said, with a laugh. “Love you, Colin.”
Woods is slated to perform at Ottawa’s BluesFest music festival on July 17. He is also currently working on his first solo album, with a release date to be announced.