We caught up with Canadian artist Marlee Scott today. Calling from Nashville, she was more than happy to share with our readers details about her upcoming album, her love for Canada, and some of her passions. With an album coming out in early 2012 and a Christmas song currently playing on country radio, Marlee is most definitely keeping busy making her voice heard in Music City and seeking the recognition she deserves. Check out the interview below to find out what a humble and inspirational artist and human being Marlee truly is.
You currently live in Nashville. Being from Alberta, what do you miss about living in Canada?
Number one, I miss my family and friends. It can be lonely at times being in another country by yourself and because my family is out west now, it definitely is harder to see them and for them to come down and see me. That’s definitely a challenge. I’d say that’s number one. Of course, there are differences. I love Canada – if I could live in Canada and do this, I would. It’s a great place to grow up and I was so blessed to have been born in Canada and to be Canadian. I just miss my Canada. It’s hard to explain it, but I miss it. Every time I cross the border, I’m always just instantly in a great mood.
You probably don’t miss the weather though. It’s really cold here today!
I actually don’t mind chilly weather. I prefer the chilly weather over the hot summers we have here. That’s definitely something you miss. I grew up in Alberta with the dry heat and the short summers, whereas here summer starts in April and lasts until October and it’s humid and hot.
I’m pretty jealous. I’d switch spots with you if I could.
A lot of people say that. They’re like, “You’re Crazy!”
You’re singing at tonight’s Predators vs. Oilers game. Will you be cheering for Edmonton or Nashville?
That’s always a tough one! I feel like I should be cheering for the Oilers because that’s where I grew up. I was fortunate enough growing up to get to go to a lot of Oilers games and I became an Oilers fan. I’ll probably cheer for the Oilers, but then I feel guilty that I’m not cheering for the Preds. They’re kind of my team now. But I think if I have to choose, I’ll be cheering for my hometown team, the Edmonton Oilers.
You’re currently putting the finishing touches on your album that will be released in early 2012. Where did you draw the inspiration to record and release “Beautiful Maybe” as the first single?
“Beautiful Maybe” is a song that talks about hopes and dreams. It’s just one of those feel good, happy songs. I wanted to release something as the first single off this record that was happy and something that would be very relatable to anybody. I think that this song can touch anyone at any point in their life. Elderly people, middle-aged people, children, teenagers – I think that everybody can kind of listen to that song and go, “Wow, that’s something I can relate to and I can feel.”
What can fans expect to hear on your upcoming album?
The record is really fun. There are a lot of songs on there that are a little bit outside of the box either content-wise or music-wise. The next single that we’re releasing is called “Train Wreck” and it’s definitely very different from what you’re hearing on the radio right now. It’s definitely still a country song. I can’t wait. When I’m choosing songs, I want to pick stuff that I love, but also stuff that my fans would love and that they would find relatable and they would listen to and go, “Wow, I’ve been there,” or “I’ve done that,” or “That makes me laugh,” or “That makes me smile.” That’s really important to me.
How do the new songs off this album differ from your older material?
I think this record – I know it’s very clichéd to say it – but it’s a lot more edgy than my last couple of records. It’s a little more rock-driven whereas my past records were more pop-country. This is almost more pop-rock country. There are a lot of electric guitars and guitar solos. My producer is a fantastic guitar player – he just does such cool things with the instrument. Yeah, a lot of guitar-driven stuff and groove-driven. I just wanted it to be more rock-country.
Can you share with us what living in Nashville is like for a singer and songwriter?
A typical day for me can vary. I have been on the road since May promoting my music down here so I actually haven’t been doing a lot of writing at all. But when I am in town, you get together with friends that are other writers or you get set up with other writers. I had the chance to write with Carolyn Dawn Johnson a few months ago which was really great because I’m a big fan of her music so that was really, really great for me. We talked. For a 3 hour session, we just sat there and talked for two hours. So it’s definitely a great opportunity to get to do that stuff. I see myself sometimes going, “Wow. Today I just wrote with Carolyn.” One of my songs from my record is written by Marcus Hummon and myself. He’s written “Born To Fly”, “Ready To Run”, and “Bless The Broken Road.” The list of his success goes on. It can be kind of daunting at times, depending on who you’re writing with. When I went in to write with Marcus, I was definitely a little nervous, but he would make me feel very comfortable and very at home.
One of your previous singles, “Here To Heaven” was a top 20 hit here in Canada. Can you recognize any differences between how Canadian and American fans embrace your music and country music as a whole?
Being Canadian, Canada has been very, very kind to me in the last few years with my music and I’m so thankful for that. It’s great – you want to be successful in your home country. I always say that it would be a dream come true for me to win a Canadian Country Music Award, ’cause that’s my home!
It’ll happen soon! I know it will.
I hope you’re right. I always say, “It would be awesome to win a CMA or awesome to win an ACM and all those other awards.” Of course it would be wonderful. Just to be nominated is crazy. But it’s always, “Well I still want to win that CCMA because it’s my home.” So for them to embrace me has been great. I’ve been out promoting my music down here since basically May 15th and they’re friendly. They make fun of my accent sometimes. Everybody has been really wonderful. It’s really exciting to see the journey and the ride of my career. I look back to where I was last year and I’m so much further ahead but I still have so far to go. I’m just lucky I get to do what I do.
I read recently that you’re a big Keith Urban fan. In what ways do you appreciate his music and performance style and how do you use him as an inspiration for your own music?
Golden Road is one of my favourites. He’s just such an inspiration. I’ve seen him in concert a couple of times and he’s just so passionate about what he’s doing. He doesn’t need the big stage. He doesn’t need all of the lights. He could just sit up there with his guitar. He’s just so incredibly engaging. That’s one of the things I think is so amazing about him and that I really look up to. And when you meet him in person, he is just a very sweet and, again, engaging person. He’s friendly! He’s had so much success that you would think he would have the right to be a little snobby or not wanting to give you time. He’s just that way and I look up to that very much and hope to be like that someday when I’ve hopefully had his success.
You just released your first holiday single to radio called “Someday At Christmas.” Can you tell us why you wanted to record a Christmas song?
You listen to radio, especially at this time of year and getting closer to Christmas, and you want to hear that stuff and I wanted to release something that wasn’t heard that much. I didn’t want to do something that was a traditional holiday classic. “Someday At Christmas” is actually a Stevie Wonder song. It was always a favourite of my mom’s and my sister and I. We would listen to it every year at Christmas time. My manager and I were talking one day, saying, “We should do a Christmas song.” We actually both separately came to the conclusion that that was the song I wanted to do. We thought it was destiny to do that one because it’s not a very common song. For both of us to come back a couple of days later after searching and thinking of what song to sing, we thought it was meant to be and that it was “the one” if we both chose it.
You are quite involved in charity organizations such as “Women Rock For The Cure,” and “Girl Up Campaign.” Can you tell us about your involvement and the personal significance of working with these organizations?
“Women Rock For the Cure” … for the last couple of years, I’ve got to play. They do a benefit concert here in Nashville in October. It’s raising money for breast cancer awareness. Breast cancer is something that runs in my family and is something that is dear to my heart. My aunt is a breast cancer survivor and my grandmother actually passed away from breast cancer. So for them to ask me to sing at this and to perform for them and help make people aware of this or help however I can is such an honour and I’m so glad to be a part of it. I recently got involved with “Girl Up” and I think it’s just a great organization. It’s put on by the United Nations. It’s basically helping young girls in third world countries becomeeducated and learn that they can be a powerful woman and that they can do what they want and they can control their lives. They’re doing that through education, but also by teaching them their rights. It’s just an amazing thing to get involved with that because I was just so fortunate as a a female growing up in Canada and now being down here in the U.S. to be able to control my own life and to be able to do what I want to do. Some of the statistics are crazy. The percentage of girls that are dying from teenage pregnancy complications are amazing and it’s very sad because they’re just not educated enough to know what they can do to prevent that. Working with them is such a cool honour and I’m so glad that I got involved with them.
On your YouTube page, there’s a video of you performing a mashup of Britney Spears and the Backstreet Boys. Do these acts from the 90s inspire you as an artist in any way and what can you take away from their music?
Totally! I was born in 1986 and my appreciation for music as a teenager came out of the 90s. I’m a big fan of the Backstreet Boys and a big fan of Britney Spears’ earlier music and the earlier stuff from Christina Aguilera. It’s definitely inspiring. I love playing those songs. My band always laughs at me and they’re always like, “We’re never playing those,” and I’m like, “Yes we are” (laughs). In our sets, sometimes we throw in that mashup and we do those two songs. It’s just so fun to play. It’s just mindless music that brings people back to that time. For me, it brings me back to when life was so easy. I was a teenager and my biggest concern was making sure I had good grades at school. I love playing that stuff and it totally inspires me. When I’m having a bad day, I’ll put that stuff on. Or if I feel like picking up a guitar, a lot of the time those are the songs that I’ll start playing around with.
What kind of experience do you hope to provide to your fans when they come out to see you play?
I want them to go away thinking, “Wow, that was so much fun. I didn’t want it to end!” and for them to want to go and buy the records and become a fan and become a friend. I look at my Facebook page and I feel like the fans that are on there are truly like friends of mine. They really care about me and what I do. So I want them to come away just feeling really good and singing along to the songs. This next single we’re going to release, “Train Wreck” – every time I play it, by the second verse, people have picked up on the lyrics and they start to sing along. And that’s the coolest thing for me as an artist. But I think as a fan, it’s fun to have stuff that you can sing along to and you can pick up on and scream at the top of your lungs and just have a great time.
Is there a particular song or artist that you currently can’t get enough of?
I’m loving Avril Lavigne’s new song. It’s called “Wish You Were Here.” It’s a great song. Right now I’m listening to a lot of pop music. But just take Miranda Lambert’s new record – it’s fantastic!
Can we expect to see you up in Canada soon?
Soon, hopefully! I just signed with a booking agency up there and we’ll probably start playing some shows hopefully in January or February in Canada.