Michael Scott Interview
Interview by Bev Moser, Moments By Moser
October 9, 2008
Michael Scott is hitting the airwaves with his current release, “Ray Rays Juke Joint” and hitting the road with Tracy Lawrence who signed Scott to a record deal earlier this year on his own label, Rocky Comfort Records. I visited with him about what it took to get this far and where he would like to go in his music career.
Bev: Michael thanks you so much for the opportunity to visit with you about your new project. Your schedule has been very busy, have you had time to catch your breath and slow down enough to let all of this sink in yet?
Michael: It has been moving right along, but really I have been preparing for this a long time, so I was kind of ready for it.
Bev: Your story, like many who choose this career, is growing up listening to the greats of country music while your father played their songs and then finding yourself as an adult moving to Nashville to try and land a music deal, do you think without that background you would still be here now?
Michael: I think that they influenced me quite a bit. I was born in Milwaukee, but all of my family was from Tennessee and Kentucky so family was definitely a big influence.
Bev: Your debut CD is called “Bring It On”; do you have a release date set yet?
Michael: Originally was supposed to be just after Christmas, but now there is talk of moving it up earlier, so all we can do is see what happens.
Bev: Your single is out on radio now, what is the one question you get most about the song?
Michael: I get asked if I have a personal “Ray Ray’s”
Bev: “Ray Ray’s Juke Joint,” written by James Edward and Wade Battle, did you know them or how did you come to have the opportunity to record this song?
Michael: The gentleman who was originally going to produce my album, Chris Luisinger had a connection with Wade Battle, so that is how it came to me. I started this project three or four years prior to signing with Tracy Lawrence.
Bev: You love to entertain – absolutely enjoy every second and it shows in your live performances, what motivates you when you are in the spotlight singing? Do you get inspiration from anyone else you have seen or been on stage with?
Michael: I think people pay a lot of money to see performers, and it does not matter if they are coming to see me, Tracy Lawrence, Garth Brooks or George Strait. Now, especially with the economy where it is, I want the audience to forget about everyday life and just have a good time, and put a smile on their face and they are not alone.
Bev: Garth Brooks is an influence on many young artists, I hear his name come up in almost every interview I do, but your story is a little different in regards to him and your career. Do you think he knows how much that day of literally bumping into him has changed the outcome of your music endeavors?
Michael: I do not know if he does or not. We have had some brief moments, but I hope one day to have time to sit down and tell him.
Bev: Do you try and incorporate anything you have seen another successful performer do into your show?
Michael: I think you pick things up from everyone you see. I love George Strait and so do a lot of other people so I hope that I can bring out his “good guy” image, Tracy is very passionate about his music and performing, and I am picking up on how to express that passion in my music, Garth is one heck of an entertainer and I can only hope to one day be half the entertainer he is.
Bev: Tracy Lawrence signed you to his RCR (Rocky Comfort Records) label earlier this year. Is it hard to work with someone who has been so successful in the music business or does it make it less hard on you, because they have already endured the hardships and made the mistakes, and you get to benefit from them?
Michael: I definitely have benefited from working with Tracy. I am actually a part of his show right now as we are out on the road together. Each night when we get off the stage we can talk about what went wrong or right and how we can make certain things better. I was very nervous the first time I sang with him, I grabbed the mic and remember thinking to myself “oh my God, I am singing with Tracy Lawrence” and now, I get out there and I am very comfortable and I am singing with my friend, Tracy Lawrence.
Bev: What was the very first song you sang with him?
Michael: Sweet Home Alabama
Bev: What has been your most difficult hurdle this far in your career?
Michael: There are so many great acts out there and so much talent that getting the radio play you need is harder to come by.
Bev: Do you think that the availability of the digital music downloads and fans’ being able to access their favorite songs on demand has an impact on radio programming?
Michael: Definitely. It is great for the public and sales, but from the industry side and being able to book shows and things of that nature it is a huge factor. The music venues and entertainment buyers for fairs and shows base their wants on the Top 20 artists, so if people are not calling radio and requesting their favorite songs then you won’t be in the Top 20.
Bev: You also write songs, have you had anything recorded by another artist?
Michael: No, but I never tried. I have been a little selfish with my music up until this point, but I am starting to open up and put some things out there.
Bev: I know you have played in some of the top venues all over the country opening for some of the biggest artist’s in country music; do you have any favorite cities or venues you love to perform at?
Michael: I really like Oklahoma, and also Texas. I just played Billy Bob’s for the first time, and it is just the best honky tonk venue ever to play in. Oklahoma has been great for my career so if I had to choose only one I would say Oklahoma.
Bev: What instruments do you play? Did you take lessons or have you got a natural talent and feel for playing?
Michael: I play acoustic guitar, I am a wannabe lead guitarist and wanna be drummer. Most of it is self taught, but on the road some of the guys in my band and in Tracy’s band have been showing me some licks and how to do a few things.
Bev: If you had your choice of anyone to write with who would it be? And Why?
Michael: I have always been a huge fan of Dean Dillon, but there is an artist who had a single awhile back called, “That’s Just Jesse”, his name is Kevin Denney and he is one person who is a great writer. I actually may get the opportunity in the very near future to sit down with him and write, so that would be a dream come true for me.
Bev: Same questions, but performing, anyone past or present you would love to perform with?
Michael: I think Elvis and I would have had a great time. I would love to perform with George Strait.
Bev: Worst experience on the road?
Michael: I have a long list. I bought my own tour bus, so that has been an experience in itself with tires blowing at 4:00 am or the radiator go out. I am not a mechanic, but I am a hands on person and we had to rebuild it in below zero weather in Wisconsin. On the upside, I have learned a lot because over all it makes me a better person being hands on in the business.
Bev: Any embarrassing stage stories?
Michael: I did have one night where I forgot the words and I made something up and the band knew but the audience never figured it out. Probably the most embarrassing thing was once when two women rushed up on stage and started to remove articles of their clothing. I was definitely not ready for that.
Bev: How about pet peeves of being an artist?
Michael: The only thing that irritates me is there are so many changes going on and when someone has a fresh and new idea, people are so quick to put it down because they are afraid of the change.
Bev: What do you enjoy most about being in the entertainment industry?
Michael: Meeting the people and the fans and seeing how from one part of the country to the next the culture may be different, but the people themselves share many of the same problems. I am a story teller, so I love hearing their stories on how my songs affected their lives.
Bev: Have you found that you tend to have a certain pattern in your following and fan base?
Michael: I have a wide variety because I really mix it up in my show.
Bev: In 50 years, looking back at the life of Michael Scott, what do you want to be remembered for most?
Michael: I have a goal to be Entertainer of the Year someday, but if that never happens, I would hope people would say I worked hard and never gave up, and that I never did any dirty business. I want to be remembered for just giving it my all.
Bev: Is there any one song that you absolutely love to perform, not necessarily one you have recorded, but any song that you just really love.
Michael: I always enjoy performing George Strait’s song, “The Chair”. I especially enjoy doing it when there are older folks in the audience, because in today’s country music the people who are in that generation feel that today’s country music is moving away from that sound and I like to sing this tune to show people that I can do all kinds.
Bev: Traveling from venue to venue, when you arrive in a new city, do you consistently have one of the 1st thing you look for to make you comfortable?
Michael: Absolutely, and you probably will laugh at me, but I love to shop. I look for a shopping mall. I like hanging out there.
Bev: Are you recognized now that you have been in the public eye?
Michael: It depends what I am wearing and if I have my contacts in and my hair done, then I will usually get stopped and people will approach me. I love to kid around and pretend I am not me. I am a prankster, in a good way, but I love to kid around and have fun.
Bev: Is there anything in particular about this upcoming album you really want to say about it?
Michael: This is a nice blend of music. There are not a lot of CD’s out there you can pop in and really like every song on there. I tried to accomplish that. There are a lot of messages in the songs. One song is called “I hear you now” and it is about a son and his relationship with his father and how he finally hears what his dad has been saying, and the words are sinking in.
Bev: It has been such a pleasure to talk to you and I want to say thank you for your time and wish you great success as both a song writer and a performer. I look forward to visiting with you again. In closing, anything else you want to add?
Michael: I would love to hear what people think of my CD, so please visit my website and myspace and let me know what you like or don’t like. I have enjoyed visiting with you too.
For more information on Michael Scott visit him online at http://www.michaelscott.com/ or www.myspace.com/michaelscottspace