It’s always a pleasure to talk to the lovely and talented Marlee Scott. Having talked to her last November and discovering firsthand how genuine she is as a person and as an artist, it was refreshing to catch up with her again today to talk about her career. Marlee is set to release an album this spring through Big Ride Records.
Earlier this week, she released her second single “Train Wreck” from the upcoming album to U.S. radio and iTunes. The single will hit radio airwaves in Canada early February. The upbeat and witty tune even garnered backing vocals from Vince Gill. She’s currently on a nationwide radio station tour promoting the new single. In 2011, she visited over 100 radio stations and still had time to make some major appearances along the way.
Marlee shared with us what fans can expect from the new album, her thoughts about the single, and some insights she has toward herself and her ongoing success as a country artist.
First I want to congratulate you on receiving a nomination at the Canadian Radio Music Awards. How does that feel?
It’s cool. I was nominated last year for the same award. It’s basically an award given out to new artists on radio. It’s definitely a cool, cool thing for sure.
Your single “Train Wreck” was released to U.S. radio earlier this week. What drew you to the song and what does it signify for you?
I was attracted to the groove of the song and what it said. The song basically talks about a bad date. I’m sure you’ve had a bad date and I think everybody has had a bad date before. That song just celebrates the bad date. It’s so much fun to play live. Anybody can relate to it.
You teamed up with Vince Gill to record the single. Could you tell us a little bit about that opportunity?
Vince is a legend in country music and music in general. I remember growing up listening to Vince Gill and being a fan of his and we used to cover a couple of his songs. He’s just such a fantastic guy … so casual … such a talent. It’s definitely an honour to have him on the record.
Can you give us some hints about what to expect from the video for the song?
I got to work with Roman White. He’s a fantastic director. He’s worked with Carrie Underwood, Justin Bieber, Taylor Swift … all of the heavy-hitters. So to work with him was just a cool thing because I remember just in the last few years, seeing his work and going, “Wow. It would be so neat to work with Roman White.” So to get the opportunity to work with him was fantastic. The video, well like I said, the song is about a bad date and we definitely bring that into the video. Let’s just say the concept is about speed dating – speed dating going wrong. It’s really fun. We’ve got some great actresses doing some really funny scenes. And there’s some great band shots and cool lighting. It’s a rocking video. It definitely goes with the song for sure.
Last time we talked, you eluded to the fact that your upcoming album is a bit more edgy and outside of the box. What is it that you want your fans to take away from this new musical direction you’ve poured into the album?
As you just said, it’s edgier. It’s got a little bit more rock. It’s got a lot of guitar solos and more of the rock sound. But it’s really fun. I want people to listen to it and go, “This has so much energy! I wanna listen to this in my car and I wanna listen to this sitting on an airplane. I wanna listen to this everywhere I go.” That’s one thing that is so important to me.
What’s the hardest part about waiting for your album to be released?
Waiting, of course. This whole industry is very much hurry up and wait. We’ve been working on this record … it’ll be two years ago in April when I hit the studio for the first few songs. It feels like a long time coming. It’s finally in the last stages of mixing and mastering and figuring out the order that’s going to be on the CD and the artwork. That stuff is all very exciting. I think the hardest part is just that waiting process – “when is everything going to be finally done and I can have the product in my hands?”
How do you think you’ve progressed as an artist since the release of your first album up until this point?
I’ve come into myself as an artist. I’ve done a lot of growing up. I released my first CD in Canada when I think I was about eighteen. I’m twenty-six now. I think you do a lot of growth in that period of time. I think anybody will look back at who they were when they were eighteen and who they are at twenty-six and go, “Wow. I’ve grown up and changed.” The concepts of my songs are more mature. I took voice lessons as a kid. But in the past five years, I’ve still been going to voice lessons and working on my voice and working on my guitar playing and my stage show. I think that just being comfortable with every situation I’m put in is something that I’ve been really working on. I think in the end it’s just that growth, of going, “Wow … I was eighteen. All I wrote about was boys (laughs).” Now I’m twenty-six. I’m an adult. I have a lot more things that I want to sing about.
What do you think you have that allows you to stand out from other artists on country radio or in Nashville?
Well first of all, I have dark hair (laughs). But I’m not afraid to be myself. I’m a jokester. Of course I can be serious also. But I like to have a good time and be casual with my fans and with people who are taking THEIR time to buy my records or come out to my shows. I want to make sure that people know that I consider them friends! The fact that they will do that and spend their money … That is amazing to me. I think that I have that casual friend-like feel to people.
You have a series of YouTube videos called “Make It or Bake it with Marlee Scott.” Is it a dream of yours to have a cooking show someday?
I would not be opposed to that at all! I love being in the kitchen. I find that it’s a good way to be creative in a way other than singing or playing a musical instrument – especially baking. I grew up in the kitchen with my mom baking. Every Christmas, we would make cookies. I remember one year she actually pulled my sister and I out of school for the afternoon so we could bake Christmas cookies because we were running out of time. She said, “You guys are skipping school tomorrow!” We got to stay home and bake gingerbread and shortbread. I have some fond, fond memories of baking and being in the kitchen. So to have a show some day would be very fun for me to do.
Do you gave a favourite recipe?
I made banana bread a couple of episodes ago. That recipe is kind of a staple for me. I make it everywhere I go. I would probably say that’s one of my favourite things to make. I can make it off the top of my head.
It’s obvious that country radio loves playing you and embracing your music. Have there been any artists or people in the industry that have given you some particularly memorable support or advice?
Anybody you meet I think is inspiring. Any time I’ve seen a concert live, I always go, “I wanna be up there”, or when I watch an award show. Any time you can sit down with an artist and have a conversation with them – I actually wrote with Carolyn Dawn Johnson three or four months ago. She had a couple of songs out down here probably about ten years ago and has stayed in Canada since. To sit down with her and listen to her …. she had been through the same things that I’m going through right now – doing the radio tours, being a female in this industry … all of those different things that you have to deal with. It’s very interesting and very inspiring for me to talk to her about that and for her share her stories and her wisdom about that.
Since we’re only a month or so into 2012, it’s still appropriate to ask if you made any New Year’s Resolutions or goals for yourself this year and if you’ve been successful at keeping them so far?
I did start a diet last week and decided this past weekend I wasn’t doing it anymore (laughs). I don’t always make a New Years Resolution. I think going into 2012, it’s a goal to grow even more with my career and to have things go my way. This business is crazy and you never know what is going to happen next. If anything, I wish for 2012 to bring success for me.
Living in Nashville, you’ve obviously been around a lot of performers. Is there anything you’ve seen or heard recently that you want to incorporate into your own performances?
At this point in time for me, it’s like, “I wanna go up on the big stage and stadiums and have pyrotechnics and background dancers.” That kind of stuff is something that I dream of and would love to have someday in my shows – those extra fun things. I think that right now, any time I watch a seasoned performer, I’m just studying what they do and how they bring an audience in. That’s something I want to be able to do as well. I just study every little thing that artists do and learn from that.
Do you have any dreams to record with an artist outside of the country genre?
For sure. I love all kinds of music. I listen to top 40, pop music, country, jazz, opera. It just depends what mood I’m in. My mom loves classical music so I remember growing up listening to classical music a lot. So definitely – if the opportunity presented itself to do a collaboration with another genre of music artist, I would be completely open to that. I think it’s great to experiment with new things and be able to share with your fans other sides of you as an artist.
Be sure to pick up “Train Wreck” on iTunes. Listen to it just below and let us know what you think!