Listen to the live interview Episode #455 Behind The Music with Jacqueline Jax : http://tobtr.com/9933709
GETTING TO KNOW SCOTT THORN
by Jacqueline Jax host of A.V.A Live Radio
I recently attended a songwriter retreat hosted by Judy Stakee, a former Executive and Music Publisher who now has her own company dedicated to the support and development of songwriters. She shared her experience having been in the Music Business for over 30 years and was the developmental force behind iconic artists such as Sheryl Crow, Jewell, Gavin DeGraw and many others as a fundamental shift between the “music industry” and the music business”. Because the Internet and recording technologies have made the music industry so much more accessible an artist no longer needs the big record company to adopt and develop them.
They can on their own record, produce and distribute their music to an international audience. This development basically stripped the “music industry” from the big record companies who today are nearly solely the “music business” set to promote and expose an already developed artist or brand for the purposes of creating profit. So the long and short is this, if you are an artist no matter at what stage in your career you are the music industry.
If your goal is to be a “signed artist” to one of the major record labels you will have to be the one who develops yourself, your fan base and proven music sales to make yourself attractive to the labels to pick you up. The days of a record company snatching up raw unproven talent and investing time and resources into their development in the hopes making the next big thing are probably over. For me, I have already surpassed any original goal that I had but my one pie in the sky dream would be for an established big artist to cut one of my songs. To me that would mean I am a professional songwriter.
I know the question says one but I have a few who inspire me all for different reasons, namely Jon, John and John. I would love to have 5 minutes alone with Jon Bon Jovi. I have written some new songs that I think would fit his body of work and vocal range perfectly. He is an artist who has it right from every angle even though outside entities have tried to exploit him. People see him as this big rock star but in reality he has had to fight and defend his music and band at every level over decades of successful album releases. He has reinvented himself and the band while still staying rooted in his core sound and songwriting. He is also well anchored with his home life and family, which I admire.
Scott Thorn is an American singer/songwriter
who grew up around the Gulf Coast and central panhandle of Florida listening to Southern rock/blues, country, gospel and rock and roll.
Since that time he has travelled and lived in many places throughout the United States from one coast to the other and abroad taking influence from his travels. His direct and introspective songwriting style forms the medium to tell his lyrical stories of love, joy, loss, and standing up for what’s right.
His music bears the marks of his travels and fuses several influences from rock,Americana, and country. Currently residing in the Washington D.C. area, Scott is a 2016 Alumni of the Acoustic Guitar Project and a member of the Songwriter’s Association of Washington.
Scott’s debut album titled Ordinary Day was released in July 2016. From that album, the song Watch Out Wichita was picked as one of the top 5 Americana songs for 2016 by the Big Fat Wide Americana Radio Show. Ordinary Day is available on iTunes, Amazon music, Google Play, Spotify, and CD Baby.
when I went into the studio to record my album the working title was “My Explosive Heart”. However, the song I had written for that title never developed like I had hoped, although I really liked the name. Ordinary Day was actually the last song recorded for the album and it turned out to be such a fun and up-tempo song that my Producer and I decided to make it the lead song and I subsequently named the album the same. Ironically, it fit well in the approach I took recording this album and in writing the songs for it. It was just another “ordinary day” of living and writing songs about everyday experiences.
The song itself is simply about looking back at a fun period of time in life growing up before all the realities of entering the workforce and being a grownup with all the responsibilities that go with it. It is also more clandestinely a nod to lost youth as part of the chorus of the song says “and if I had the chance, I’d go back and do it all again”. I think that carefree spirit permeates the song in both music and lyric. The flashbacks in the song are actually a little autobiographical in that brief period of time after graduating high school and going to college and before entering the grownup workforce. Hanging out with friends, summer swimming at a nearby lake, football games and cruising in muscle cars and enjoying life.
If you ask me in the writing, which came first the words or the music, for Ordinary Day, it was the music. It is a fairly simple chord progression that I had picked up on my acoustic guitar and I started playing it over and over. I began humming and adding gibberish lines to follow the music when the first line came out “I was thinking back a couple of years, when we were kids full of fear of the unknown”.
The rest of the lyrics came shortly after. Add the simple song idea with some reminiscent metaphors along with my buddy Richard Livoni’s cool guitar licks and you have “Ordinary Day”. When we recorded the vocal parts in the studio we found that I have a unique quality to my voice in the key and range of this song, a natural timbre that my Producer liked to call “buttermilk”. The resonance qualities to my vocal in this song are not studio add-ons but truly just my voice recorded with a hint of reverb.
It came out kind of cool.
was never originally intended to be an “album” per se but a personal project and collection of songs. You see I am one of those guys who was in a garage band as a kid who along with some buddies played really loud and bad music. Somewhere along the way life, a career and a family took priority over the music and it took a backseat for a long time. However, the fire was always there. In my grownup professional life I started a successful career and I have no regrets. One of my outlets has always been playing and writing music.
I dragged an acoustic guitar with me around the world a few different times. I would write songs but never do anything with them; many of them disappeared over the years. Anyway, about two years ago I had written a series of songs and was playing them around the house during quiet times on the weekends and my wife encouraged me to find a place to record them so as not to lose them. That’s how it kind of began. What started as a personal project turned into an album and some of the songs on it are over 15 years old that have finally come out to see the light of day, an “Ordinary Day” if you will.
Listened to as an album, Ordinary Day is a collection of songs from life experiences, relationships, love, joy, loss and standing up for what is right. Genre wise, I find it hard to classify the whole collection into one neat box as I think it skirts several areas of rock, country, Americana and alternative rock/country. I have had what I think is a classic rock song called a “great country song” and vice versa. So, I am not to hung up on labels as long as people like it, connect with it and listen.
I was living in Southern California when I recorded the album at Blitz Recording Studios in San Diego but, I currently reside in Arlington, Virginia in the greater Washington D.C. metro area. The D.C. area has so many talented musicians, songwriters and artists it is crazy. Now for me, I was a studio artist and not a performing artist and it wasn’t until after I self- released my album that I decided to start performing live and I have had quite the education. Live performance is scary and the ones who make it look easy have spent countless hours practicing to make it look easy.
The great thing about the D.C area is I have had nothing but a positive and supporting experience as I have developed my live performances. I started showing up to local open mics and croaking through a few songs, making mistakes, stopping and starting because of nerves or anxiety about being in front of a bunch of strangers and bearing my soul. But the more I did it, the better and more comfortable I became where I could get into that place or zone that allows me to express what the song is about. The responses have been amazing to the point where I now receive gig offers to open for other bands or to perform solo as the featured performer, its kind of surreal.
There are so many great small venues in the D.C. area like Gypsy Sally’s, Iota Club, Epicure Café, Jirani Coffeehouse, The Velvet Lounge many of which have open mic nights that allow developing singer/songwriters to practice their craft. I would also mention that I joined the Songwriter’s Association of Washington (saw.org) which is a terrific organization of local songwriters who host SAW sponsored open mics nearly everyday of the week throughout the area. Again terrific and positive support network no matter the experience level.
I would also love to have a beer with John Mellencamp. You know that dude has got some stories to tell. I admire him because if you listen to his album releases and progression over the years he has allowed his music to mature along with himself. He does not try to recreate something that was successful in the 80’s because it would be disingenuous. I think he is and always has been straight up with his fans and what you see and hear is what you get; raw and unapologetic. The last one person I would mention would be John Hiatt. He is by far the most significant American songwriter of the last 30 years hands down in my opinion.
He can rip your heart out or make you laugh your ass off from one song to another. Lyrically, I do not think there is anyone better in music today, which is why he has been covered by countless artists over the years. I think it would be awesome to tour with John and experience his day to day motivations and process to songwriting.
FB link: https://www.facebook.com/Scott-Thorn-Music-1596457927319697/
Twitter: @Scott Thorn Music
Reverb Nation EPK: http://www.reverbnation.com/rpk/scottthorn
Links to buy the song/album Ordinary Day:
Amazon Music: https://www.amazon.com/Ordinary-Day-Scott-
CD Baby: https://www.cdbaby.com/cd/scottthorn
And of course it is on Spotify.