Savannah siren Britt Scott back home
By Shawndra Russell, DO Savannah
Britt Scott recently returned from working on her first EP in Virginia Beach with her dad, drummer Tom Scott.
Britt is a familiar Savannah face thanks to her band, Lovely Locks, and regular shows as a lounge singer at The House of Mata Hari. We sat down with Scott to learn more about her album and new acoustic Americana band, the American Hologram — a collaboration with other Savannah music scene staples Eric Britt, Craig Tanner and Eric Dunn.
DO: Until recently, you were in your hometown of Virginia Beach working on an EP with your father. What’s the status of that project?
Scott: Since it’s the first album either of us has recorded, there is a learning curve. It will take us more time than we originally hoped to complete the album because we want to do it right and haven’t been rushing the process. ... It’s been rewarding hearing my Garageband demos translate into a live band performance. They almost sound like real songs.
DO: What’s the rest of 2013 hold for you?
Scott: I recently moved back to Savannah to play more live shows and get inspired by the city again. Savannah is where I became the musician I am today, so it’s hard for me not to consider this home. I recently got a day job in the admissions department at SCAD, which has been really stimulating. And I’m actually going on three years performing at Savannah’s only speakeasy. How time flies. In addition to singing torch songs and wearing fancy dresses, I also participate in the burlesque-inspired variety shows Mata Hari produces.
They are presently few and far between, but after the new year should become a regular event. We are currently working on a Vegas-themed show set to open this fall. I foresee the rest of this year as one to regain a sense of stability, develop my musical talents through gigging and guidance of other musicians, grow Lovely Locks as a band and a brand, and to continue working on my EP long-distance while maintaining a strong relationship with my family.
DO: What can people that come to your American Hologram shows expect?
Scott: We formed the project this summer after I heard Eric Britt’s CD, “Greener,” and sporadically joined in on some of his gigs. We have a chill acoustic Americana vibe similar to the likes of Ray LaMontagne and Neil Young guest starring Stevie Nicks. ... Usually we don’t have a drummer, and part of my role is to supplement the rhythm using a stomp box, tambourine and shaker ... On Aug. 16 at Retro on Congress, my father, Tom Scott, will be guest drumming with us, and that’s a show not to be missed!
DO: What do you think needs to happen to further improve Savannah’s music scene?
Scott: I think with the addition of Savannah Stopover and national networking done by our local musicians, touring bands are starting to consider Savannah an actual gig destination.
The local scene is a little spread out amongst regions, but more and more musicians are connecting through open mics and mutual friends, contributing to the formation of new bands. Everyone is really supportive here and loves playing with each other.
The main issue is keeping it fresh and people interested, while sticking to your own personal artistic goals. Sometimes it’s a struggle to get people to see you as an original band while simultaneously playing gigs in order to make a living.
But in all honesty, I think doing both makes us stronger, experienced performers. No one should ever say there’s no live music in Savannah. Every night of the week, I know someone playing music somewhere, and most of the time, there’s no cover charge. The culture here is rich with talent and humility, and I think the size of the community actually keeps it that way.
We could make the scene stronger by changing our mindset of what the music scene is here in Savannah.
First of all, acknowledge that there is one. It may not be huge, but it’s thriving, and new bands and genres are constantly popping up.
Secondly, one of the best things about Savannah is the ability to create something when there’s a gap. If you don’t think there’s a strong punk scene, start a punk band or a make a ‘zine to promote shows or a clothing company specializing in band shirts, and most importantly, attend shows and buy merchandise from local bands.
Next time someone complains about Savannah not having a music scene, ask them what they are doing to contribute to it.
Britt Scott: Hello, goodbye
By Bill DeYoung, Connect Savannah
After seven years, various musical and artistic projects completed and a million friends made, Britt Scott is leaving Savannah.
The flame-haired Virginia native is headed back home (to Virginia Beach), and her dad's recording studio, in mid-October to make an EP of original songs.
Scott came to Savannah to study graphic design, and in 2010 her musical muse - which had been put into the closet while she pursued those other dreams - jimmied the lock and broke free.
"Before I started doing design, I was always in performing arts," Scott explains. "And sang in bands. When I came to SCAD, I didn't do music at all, for years. A lot of people didn't even know I sang until I started doing Karaoke.
"My relationship status changed, and that's when I started feeling the need to express myself. Before, I wrote music with other people, I didn't know how to play any instruments ... about two years ago, my roommate had a guitar and I stole it from her."
She'd founded the short-lived Outlet magazine, a quarterly guide to arts and entertainment in Savannah, in 2009. While assembling songs for an Outlet mixtape, Scott began rubbing shoulders within the city's musical community.
She collaborated with electronica guy Paul Goerner, aka Magic Places, and brought the pilfered guitar to every Open Mic in town, where she'd sing her own material, newly melodized from her scribbled poetry. She joined a belly-dance troupe.
Most recently, Scott has been one-third of The Lovely Locks, with Chrystina Parker and Anna Chandler.
"I don't think any other city could have been a better place to kind of change careers," she says. "Everyone's been so supportive of that."
One of the best-kept secrets in town (even though most people seem to know about it) is The House of Mata Hari, a vintage late-night speakeasy on Factor's Walk, admissible only if you know the password (or are a friend of Britt Scott's).
She's one of the original slinky Mata Hari lounge singers. "The Karaoke prepared me for the job," Scott explains. "I already had this list of songs I knew. And you have to be comfortable enough with yourself to be entertaining without interacting with anyone else onstage."
On Oct. 5 and 6, Mata Hari is opening up to the public - for the first time - with a special show called Carnival Bar Cabaret.
"It's more of a variety show that's burlesque-inspired - I say that only because it's not the full striptease; we're still keeping the classiness that Mata Hari's upholds," Scott reveals. "It's going to include more singing and dancing, comedy, fire-eating and a bunch of different sort of things. The plan is for it to be a monthly event."
Yes, Britt will be there.
The trip home, she explains, is to continue her musical mystery tour, maybe put a band together, get her name and exquisitely soulful voice out there. "Everyone says I'll be back," she laughs.
Will she? Scott is non-committal. "It's one of those moments where I feel I need to go away from the social environment in order to focus on the work, and kind of get that done, and then I can come back.
"The plan is just to figure out where it leads me. I just want to put my work out there and see where it goes. I'm open to anything, really."
Tickets for Carnival Bar Cabaret are $20 (shows at 7 and 9 p.m. Oct. 5 and 6). Call (912) 272-8693
Eddie Baker Wins the Karat Jazz Award
I'm a paragraph. Click here to add your own text and edit me. It’s easy. Just click “Edit Text” or double click me to add your own content and make changes to the font. Feel free to drag and drop me anywhere you like on your page. I’m a great place for you to tell a story and let your users know a little more about you.