Sought-after Hollywood session singer Scott Oatley aka Vân Scott is finally set to release his first full-length solo album, 'Almost Gone' via AWAL / Oat Brand Music.
Scott has had many successes along the road towards this release having garnered numerous vocal credits singing on blockbuster film scores for La La Land, Mulan, Jurassic World, and Sing, on TV shows such as Black-ish, The Simpsons, The Goldbergs, and The Voice, to name a few, and he’s performed for renowned film composers like Danny Elfman and Michael Giacchino. Now, Scott’s ready to bring the spotlight directly onto himself and put his musical talent and songwriting skills front and centre.
We had the chance to speak more in depth with him on the album release and more...
Introduce yourself and tell us a bit about you!
"Hey there! Well, my name is Vân Scott. You can just call me Scott if you like. I like to play tennis and consume Buffalo wings. I’m an indie pop artist, songwriter, and producer. I got my start in the music industry singing for film/TV projects like La La Land, Black-ish, The Simpsons, The Voice, and lots of other cool stuff. I love to write honest, meaningful songs that encourage the listener, especially by helping them to know they’re not the only one that feels the way they do."
You’ve just released your debut album ‘Almost Gone’! Tell us a little about it!
"I could probably summarise it by saying this album embodies the rollercoaster I’ve had in the last couple of years, leaving my full-time church job to pursue my own music, having my belief system shaken up (in healthy, but challenging ways), and going through depression. I came out of it in one piece, but it was a struggle. I think this record is for anyone who’s gone through a rough patch, and needs a little help keeping their chin up."
How did you decide on the album name?
"I borrowed the album name from Track #6. I feel like 'Almost Gone' was the perfect title and thematic umbrella under which all the other tracks and their subjects made sense. This album deals with questioning yourself, and even reaching the end of yourself, before finally hitting rock bottom. At that point, the only thing left for you to do is to climb back up. That’s what happened for me. I “almost” lost myself these last couple years, but I came back stronger. I got awfully close to the precipice, but I was never “gone.”
What was the writing and recording process like?
"The writing process was very gradual. I had some help from one of my producer mentors, Mike Elizondo (Twenty One Pilots, Ed Sheeran, Jonas Brothers), to hone in on my sound and artistic voice. (He used to be the Senior VP of A&R at Warner Bros. Records.) I met with him every 6 months for a while, playing him my new demos and getting feedback. Eventually, we landed on 'Poster Boy' and 'Die Young' as my first couple singles to put myself out there.
It wasn’t until quarantine hit that I took more of an inventory of the songs that I had in my catalogue. Over the course of 2 years (and a couple trips to Nashville), I had a good chunk to choose from. Half of the vocals that you hear on the album are the original demo vocals from the day the songs were written. They just came from such a raw place; we didn’t want to try and recreate that. I kind of just go all-in from the start, apparently! But yeah, there were only a few songs we had to finish up in quarantine, but I had really great collaborators to help me tie up all the loose ends. In the end, I think this album had nine different producers, including myself, which is wild, but also pretty unique."
Are there any key themes, stories or inspirations that run throughout?
"There are strong themes of doubt and forlornness, which also get challenged by belief and hope. I think there’s always hope to be found in the struggle, and that it’s in life’s valleys where we really learn to have faith. I’ve described the overall album as having this feeling of hopeful melancholy. I think in today’s “sad boi” culture, we’re all craving hope and something to believe in."
Do you have a favourite lyric or whole track? If so, which one and why?
"My favorite lyric might be from 'Die Young':“Wish I had more time on the coast by the ocean / Wish I knew how we found paradise / Back when I believed that life was eternal / Back when I was just living my life.” Even though the song has a heavy, darker subject matter, it’s also very nostalgic. It’s less about obsessing over death and more about cherishing the moments that we have. That may be why it’s my top song on Spotify. It was a risky song to write, but so many people relate it to it so many different ways."
Have you got any fun behind the scenes stories from the writing / recording process?
I haven’t made it widely public, but for my song 'Starry Eyed', I was able to collaborate with Rodney Jerkins aka Darkchild on the production. I was giving his daughter guitar lessons last year, and I ended up hanging back to share some demos with him. 'Starry Eyed' really struck him and so the next time I came to the studio, I got a front row seat to see him throw down a little Darkchild magic on the track. It really took it to another level."
How have you found making an album and trying to be creative over the past year which has been really difficult for artists?
"I think it depends on the artist really. We all take our inspiration from so many different things and so when our options for daily activity got pulverized, I think some thrived in having that space to collect their thoughts, and others were tormented by them. It became an outlet for some and a prison for others. As far as making my album, I had enough experience with recording software to keep the ball rolling. Plus, I had already done a few virtual writings sessions before Zoom took over world. But I’m sure there are lots of artists out there who are more reliant on the producers to make things happen and would have found a project like this to be extremely challenging."
What can we expect next from Vân Scott?
"Well, I have a couple more shows in LA to promote the album before I leave for New York City! I’ll be attending Berklee School of Music’s brand-new Songwriting and Production program at Berklee NYC this fall, located at Power Station Studios in Manhattan. Only about 40 of us from around the world were selected, so I feel pretty stoked that I get to take part. I’m looking forward to taking a deep dive back into my creative flow and taking inspiration from being in a brand-new city – the Big City. I fully intend to stay active with performances and content for Vân Scott along the way. My goal is to come out of this one-year program with my second album, if not more! I have high hopes that a lot of great new songwriting and artist opportunities are on their way."
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