If you didn't notice, last week we were missing our Musician/Artist Spotlight. Due to technical difficulties and the holiday I decided to hold off until today so that our local talent could get the attention it deserved. So without further ado...welcome to this weeks Musician Spotlight of the ultra talented and sultry sounds of my favorite soul sister Carrie Scott. I had the lucky fortune of living with Ms. Scott for a few months and let me tell you, to wake up to the belting of this beautiful babe is perhaps one of my favorite life memories. Imagine for yourself the tunes of Aretha Franklin or Ella Fitzgerald echoing through the walls of your apartment sung by your own personal minstrel. That's my kind of alarm clock. I bet you are now all oozing with jealousy, I can tell. Oh and FYI we totally paid her to say stuff about us. We are shameless like that. :)
Where do you draw the most inspiration?
I'd definitely have to say from the A Blond, Brunette, And A Redhead blog, hands down. Sometimes when I'm feeling particularly uninspired, I just sit on their doorstep and try to soak in the mixture of pure awesomeness and creative energy emanating from that house. I just sit and sit, looking wistfully at my hands while giving them a pep talk about their creative potential. Sometimes I picture James Earl Jones sitting there with me, and that's pretty cool. Me and James. Aside from that, I try to stay as connected as possible with my higher power. I feel like all my good stuff comes from Him.
Tell us about your writing process.They say that in writing music there are three stages: the madman, the poet, and the editor. My madman stage usually includes getting ideas from all over the place- a zill rhythm from my belly dancing class, a song title from a phrase in a book, a concept learned from an encounter with another person, and so on. Then I try to do some free-writing and brainstorming. If nothing comes, I ask myself, What would Hamlet do? And maybe foam at the mouth a bit. I hear madmen do that from time to time.
I like to have structure in the poet stage. I figure out what genre I want to write in, usually based on the title I've chosen. I determine the song form, the rhyme scheme and construction. Maybe map out some scenes for the verses so the song has progression. Once that structure is established, it's easier for me to write.
Sometimes the editor comes out a little too early and tries to step on the toes of the poet. I give him a talking-to and try to reserve him for the third stage. It's too easy to throw out the baby with the bath water if he's allowed to have his say prematurely. Once I've edited it to my liking, I try to get feedback from other people whose musical opinions I respect. It's typical to do multiple versions of a song before it feels complete.
What are your go-to tools? What does an average day in the life of Carrie Scott look like?I really like working with VST instruments (virtual studio technology- like Apple Loops, Virtual Guitarist, Groove Agent, etc.) along with recording software to get musical ideas down. Like a lot of songwriters, I also like using a rhyming dictionary and thesaurus when I'm writing lyrics. An average day includes going to my day job as a cook for teenaged girls in a residential treatment center, spending time with friends, going to band practice or gigs, and saving the world- one blog entry at a time.
How do you keep the creativity juices flowing? What happens when you have a block?I read a great book called The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron that has some great ideas about that. Two of her ideas that I really like are called Morning Pages (basically a brain dump of all the informations swimming around in your head, first thing in the morning) and an Artist Date (where you do something with just yourself to nurture the creative muse- going to a concert or museum, spending time in nature, etc.) If you haven't read that book, I highly recommend it.
Also, like David mentioned in your interview last week, spending time with artistic people is a great way to prime the pump. I like to read blog entries by my creative friends (see question #1), go to concerts where local artists are performing original music, find out what recent projects my visual artist friends are working on, or just talk about the creative process with like-minded people. And collaboration always feels like a synergistic process to me.
I was listening to a podcast on creativity the other day and they were interviewing the singer, Alex Boye. One thing I like to do that he also recommended was to spend time doing something artistic in a discipline that isn't your area of expertise. For me, that includes taking dance classes, coloring, working on the book I want to publish, taking out my camera and trying to capture some decent shots, and other things like that.
What are some of your favorite songs you've produced?I haven't "produced" much besides the music on my album, in the sense of being a producer. But from that album, some of my favorites to do were "Mystery" and the title track, "Segue", which I'm working on a music video for right now. It's also been fun to produce (in the sense of bringing something into existence) music for the soul band that I currently sing with... they are some talented and fun guys to work with.
Who do you look up to most in the music world?Anyone who has the guts to put their own music out into the world... especially the people who have the commitment to make it their full-time job or who move to a music center to pursue their dreams. That takes real chutzpah.
Other than making music what else would you say defines you?My magnetic personality and irresistible charm, of course. Ha ha ha... Actually, I'd say that my faith defines me. I generally try to make the world a better place, help people I encounter know that I care about them, and all that other Hallmark-esque stuff.
If you could share a cup of cocoa with any person who would it be?There are lots of people. If I had to choose one, I'd say my future husband... that guy is like a ninja! Very elusive.
Who are your favorite bands?Locally, The Soulistics (I love those boys), Blues on First, Fat Soul, Kenji Aihara, Ryan Shupe, The Feel Good Music Coalition, and pretty much any of my talented musical friends.
Of all time, Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, James Brown, Ray Charles Tower of Power, Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, Ella Fizgerald, Billie Holladay, Sarah Vaughan, Michael Jackson, BB King, Jimmy Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Janis Joplin, Lauryn Hill, Led Zeppelin, Ray LaMontagne, Susan Tedeschi, Joss Stone, The Temptations... are you still reading this? The list could go on and on.
Where can we find you?My album is on iTunes, Rhapsody, eMusic, Amazon mp3, Napster, and CD Baby. My fantastic soul band, The Soulistics, can be found all over Utah. The website has specific gig details. You can also visit my website or check out my blog. If all else fails and you can't find me anywhere, try the front porch of the blond, brunette, and redhead.