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Alison Scott: ‘We Call it Soul Music’—With a Twist

The Richfield singer-songwriter is working to make her dreams come true.

She’s been called by the Star Tribune a singer with an “undeniable soulfulness” and, City Pages, a songwriter who is far from interested in “pleasing so-called hipsters.” But Richfield artist and resident Alison Scott would just call herself a perfectionist.

“I really struggled with severe stage fright for the first couple years of performing,” she told Richfield Patch. “I am such a perfectionist that I would just sit up there stiff and nervous. I was completely unable to enjoy the performance because I was scared I would sing or play a wrong note.”

Now a handful of years later, Scott and her bandmates play an average of 100 shows each year—from Minneapolis to Pittsburgh to Los Angeles. She has an Adele like voice and her style is soul with a hybrid of influences from all musical genres, and she’s even covered TLC’s big '90s hit “Waterfalls.”

“I even did [Left Eye’s] rap part,” she said with a smile.

After growing up in Plymouth and graduating from Wayzata High School, Scott followed in the footsteps of her parents, who were music majors in college.

“I’ve been doing [music] since the womb, more or less,” she said. “It was really the only thing I was interested in in school, so I ended up studying it, as well.”

Creative Vision

About six years ago, Scott found her creative counterpart in Grammy Award-winning songwriter, producer and guitarist Kevin Bowe, after entering a songwriting competition.

“We’ve been working together ever since,” Scott said. “I write all the music myself, or with the help of Kevin. We share the same creative vision.”

Bowe has worked with an impressive list of notable artists, including Jonny Lang, Lynyrd Skynyrd and the late Etta James. He was drawn to Scott's songs and voice. 

“I am one of the most critical people when it comes to songwriting. I used to joke that I don’t like anyone’s songs but my own," Bowe said. "But Alison is a drop-dead-amazing singer, and she is a phenomenal songwriter.”

“In the beginning, like most artists, I wrote from personal experiences. But, we only have a certain amount of really interesting life experiences to write about," Scott said. "I end up writing about my friend’s lives, or I try to imagine myself in a certain situation and write from that perspective. Sometimes I have to step outside of myself and play a role.”

Philanthropy

Scott recently received a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board that will allow her and her band to bring their music to “underserved” communities.

“There are a lot of theaters in greater Minnesota that don’t get good acts coming through town very often—a lot of times because the theater can’t afford it,” Scott explained. “With the grant, the theaters will be able to just pay a portion of the fee and the grant money will make up the difference.”

She and her band will also play two benefit concerts in February: one for La Fiesta for Freedom, an organization with the mission to care for and educate abandoned, abused or enslaved women and children in Minnesota and around the world, and the second benefiting The Wildcat Sanctuary.

Looking Forward

In addition to her touring, Scott also teaches music and voice lessons out of her Richfield home. However, she said her teaching will likely take the backseat if her dreams and goals begin to become a reality.

The ultimate goal? To support the family she and her husband, Andy Mattila, are planning.

“We’d like to have four kids, and we’d like to adopt," she said. "But we’ll see what happens.”

As far as her early battle with stage fright, Scott said she’s let it go.

“I’ve learned that the audience doesn’t care if you mess up if you don’t care,” she said. “Now, I often point [a mistake] out and we all get a laugh out of it.”

For a full list of tour dates, or to learn more about Scott and her band members, visit alisonscott.com. Also check out the You Tube music video at the top of this article for Scott's song "Smash and Grab," off the 2010 album "Chinese Whispers."

Steve January 26, 2012 at 01:50 PM
Congratulations Alison! We hope you keep teaching but we love your music!

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