Scott Smith is an Americana Rock artist out of California. Scott has a passion for powerful music that lifts your spirits and gets you moving. Inspired by the early origins of American music, Scott takes an Americana sound and adds elements of blues rock to create something fresh. His most recent project ‘Igniting the Flame’ is a stand-out example of his passionate work.
Was there something (an experience) or someone in your life that was the "catalyst" for you to start writing music? Tell us about it.
After playing in a cover band for years, I met and played with a songwriter named Poncho. He shared his main technique of writing with me, and it totally clicked. It was a couple of years after that and one day, songs came flooding out of me, unexpectedly. I wasn’t even thinking about writing, it just happened. Once you start it’s hard to quit. It becomes an obsession.
Let's get this out of the way. What is the CRAZIEST thing that has ever happened to you in your music career?
I guess it was working with David Grisman (who played with Jerry Garcia). One night, the studio called and asked if I wanted have David record on a track. He had just finished touring with Willie Nelson. I had to rush down there spur of the moment. David was very accommodating, though it was odd directing one of the best mandolin players in the world. He played on a song on my last EP, called Skeleton and Roses, that I wrote about the Grateful Dead.
What has been the high point of your music path?
Working on my latest EP. I decided to switch gears and work with a producer down at Fantasy Studio’s in Berkeley. I hooked up with Julie Wolf who has produced Bruce Cockburn and worked with Ani Difranco, and Carly Simon. I learned a lot and it was a thrill to record in the same studio as Creedence Clear Water, Santana, Journey, Green Day, Counting Crows, and many Jazz greats.
So, how do you approach songwriting or what is your creative process like?
It often starts with a musical idea or a riff. Then I have to come up with what the songs about. Usually, I come up with one line that fits the songs character. It often starts with the chorus, then build around that. Sometimes it’s a pressing emotional issue like in “Drop Kick it” Which was about a bad day I had. I got the image of kicking a beer bottle off the back porch. There’s no one way to write. I keep my ears peeled in conversations for material.
What do you see as the biggest challenge facing Indie Artists today? Or, if you could ask the music industry to change one thing, what would it be?
Getting noticed. My stuff is unique and is not in the main stream. Fortunately, in Europe, there is a hunger for new music and they really honor the Indy artist. I’m getting airplay on some stations over there, like Lonely Oak Radio and Blues Roots Radio. This latest release, is on regular rotation. You write this stuff and put all the wonderful, creative work into it, you want it to be heard.
If you could share the stage with one other artist or band, who would it be and why?
I’m going to say, the late great Tom Petty and Neil Young. They are great performers and know how to have a good time. They have a certain grace, I admire. They know how to rock.
What are your rehearsals generally like? Or, how do you prepare for a live show?
I’m performing solo, so I have to come up with alternate versions of my songs musically. I have to be a one-man band, so to speak.
Pick one song that was your greatest challenge to write. Tell us about it!
All of the stuff on this new EP were fairly easy to write. I just finished the 1st draft of a song that I’ve been working on for maybe 3 or 4 years. It has great music and melody and trying to find words to fit it was tough. I finally fell back on a love song. It needed to be simple, yet intriguing.
What's coming up in the future?
I have another album written that has to be recorded. It’s got some great stuff on it. One song that was inspired by The Foo Fighters. Another that reminds me of JJ. Cale. It’s called “We’ve been Running from a Storm”. I wrote another song about the divorce of my parents, when I was young, Called “Four People”. More catchy stuff.
Where can fans can access your music.