Welcome to ‘Druskiville’: Exclusive w/ Grammy Nominated Producer/Songwriter Drew Scott
Having worked with everyone from Fantasia, Tori Kelly and Luke James to Zendaya and most recently Teyana Taylor (on her debut album “7”), Drew Scott is slowly but surely making his mark in the music industry. A Sacramento, CA native, Drew’s musical eclecticism and lyrical adroitness has placed him amongst some of my favorite artists. From being nominated for a Grammy for his first ever songwriting placement, to going on to work heavily with Dawn Richard (formerly of Diddy Dirty Money and Danity Kane), creating a unique sound that set her apart from her peers, Drew released a series of free downloads and buzz songs that initially caught my attention. It was one of those “who is this guy?” moments, and it was refreshing to hear what he had been creating.
Fast forward about a year later and Drew, also known as Drew Scotty or Druski, released part 1 of a 3 part series of EP’s entitled “Places I’ve Ever Been”. The strength of each of the records he offered was quite impressive and extremely progressive. Now with “Places I’ve Ever Been, Pt. II” which was released on Friday, Drew takes his creativity one step further inviting listeners on an emotionally charged journey laced with the musical intricacies and songwriting wit that continues to make him stand out. The first single “Playa Role” is a strong introduction for the songwriter/producer who is finally ready to take center stage. Paying homage to the Bay area sound that seems to be ruling the airwaves, “Playa Role” is gearing up for its official introduction to radio.
Not only a singer/songwriter/producer, Drew lends his talent, expertise and experience to emerging artists, working with them on developing individual sounds and musical identities. His efforts have landed those artists major deals with today’s top record labels. With all of this, Drew seems to maintain some sense of normalcy and approachability that translated throughout my conversation with him. We talked about everything from his über religious background and new project “Places I’ve Ever Been, Vol. II” to working with Teyana Taylor, cheap sangria and earning his first Grammy nod.
Welcome to Druskiville.
On first single, “Playa Role”
I’m from Sacramento, so that sound is blowing up right now, but back home in the bay area when I was in high school that kind of music was playing. Back in like 2002-2003, that kind of music was all that was playing and now DJ Mustard has kind of helped to carry that sound and make it mainstream. For me, it was one of those things where I wanted to do something for back home…
On New EP, “Places I’ve Ever Been Vol. II”
It’s still thematic and taking you places, but in this volume it’s a little bit darker…Instead of actual physical places, it’s transitioning more into emotional places.
On collaborations for the Project
Of course I worked with Carla Carter; I worked with this amazing writer Coline Creuzot out of Houston. She’s signed to Sony and she’s amazing! We’ve worked a lot in the past, so she and I wrote the record “August Rush” which seems to be a favorite for people I’ve played it for!
Will we get visuals from this project?
Absolutely! You know the last project, I was so amped to do a lot more visuals but it just got to a point where I had just signed my publishing deal, so I was writing a lot with other artists. With this project I’ve really taken the time to focus on me and really go full force. So, you’re going to get visuals, lyric videos, the whole rollout! We’re going to radio right now with “Playa Role”
Is the official introduction of ‘Drew Scott’ the artist?
Yeah! This is kind of the official statement of this is Drew Scott the artist, here right now.
Introduction to the Industry
Music has always been apart of my life. Since I was 5 I’ve been playing the piano and through high school I started to learn how to produce and straight out of high school I was like I want to pursue this industry. It wasn’t available in Sacramento, where I’m from, so the closest place to me was L.A. It’s only a 5-hour drive, I’m still close to my family, and you know I’m 17 at the time, so I’m like I’m just going to go to L.A. and try to make it happen! It’s been a journey of trial, error, ups and downs, promises, lies…you name it! It’s been a roller coaster and I always tell people, the music industry is like an abusive relationship. You get in it and you’re like “this is the last time, I’m not going to take this no more! I know my worth!” and the next day you find yourself back in the studio writing, recording and doing the same thing over and over again. It’s one of those things that you hate to love it, but you love to hate it too.
I was working a lot with Matthew Knowles and Music World at the time and Trinitee 5:7 is on their label, so we were working with them. We did like 5 records and only one of them made it and it was crazy that it was my first placement and that project was Grammy nominated!
My family is so religious! You know come from a strong spiritual and church background. Like we were in church literally 24/7! If there was an 8th day of the week, my mom would have had us in church that day too! That’s how crazy it was growing up. So, when my mom knew I was going to pursue this industry, she was like “son, just please be careful…” and all this kind of stuff, so when my first placement was a Gospel placement I was like there you go Mom, that’s for you! I started in this industry the right way with God, that’s for you! Now I can go head and do all the records that I want to do! [Laughs] But the fact that the project was Grammy nominated, it was really to me God saying, “you got this”…So, that was my first official placement.
Did you find yourself pigeonholed?
Well, that’s what I was afraid of when they said we want you to work with Trinitee 5:7! Don’t get me wrong, they’re amazing and I’ve played for them before back when I was a teenager. I just didn’t want to be labeled as a gospel producer, and not in any negative sense, I just didn’t want to be pigeonholed into that world because it’s only so far you can go in that specific genre. So I was afraid of that, but something was just like go for it and just do it. That was me internally saying “you can write anything and everything,” so why not?
On writing partner Carla Carter
She’s like the Terry Lewis to my Jimmy Jam…the yin to my yang. We’re like brother and sister and it’s crazy because when we first met, I didn’t even tell her I did music. A mutual friend introduced me to her, and I didn’t tell her until about 6 or 7 months later. One day I was fixing levels on something and she was like, “what was that?” and I’m like, “oh, that’s me.” She was like, “ wait, you sing? I know you produce, but you write and you sing too? oh, we have to work together!” and from then on it’s been like a match made in heaven. We’re so in sync. Even when we get in rooms with other artists, they’re like I’ve never seen people work that fast. It’s one of those things we’re not even thinking about anymore, that’s how in sync we are; and it’s scary at times. We’re the same person, just anatomically different! [Laughs]
The great thing about it is we pick up where each of us is lacking. If someone is stronger where the other person is weaker, we know that so we’re able to play off of each other’s strengths and weaknesses now.
On working with and developing other artists
I’m still writing for other artists, like I’m on Teyana Taylor’s new project and I’m working with Tori Kelly and Pia Toscano from American Idol. I’m in a place like, a couple of years ago when I was working with Dawn Richard it really taught me the Indie circuit and the Independent grind, you know the benefits of it and the setbacks of it. Being major and independent are two different things and I think that we were able to move like we were major. Fast forward to now, and I’m still able to apply that with these other artists that I’m developing right now. I have a 13-year old that we just got signed to Roc Nation and then I have a 15-year-old named Josh Levi who was on X-Factor. He just signed to Capitol last week. I’m in a place where it’s an artist/producer relationship. That’s what I’m doing with these artists, creating an individual unique sound for them and then just going and getting them signed. I’m on my Scooter Braun tip right now.
It’s one of those things where it’s a relief and it’s an outlet for me.
On working with Teyana Taylor
I wrote that record with Harmony Samuels, Courtney Harrell and Teyana. I remember the night because it was crazy! We went to the 7-Eleven up the street from the studio, got this big ass, cheap ass bottle of Sangria [Laughs], went to CVS or Walgreens getting candles…Because this record that Harmony created just sounded super sexy, and she’s like “the mood has to be right! I need something to drink, I need some candles, I need some incense, I need the lights dim…” [Laughs] So, it was this really sexy atmosphere. Like, the mood was just right for the song and it was kind of one of those things where we just went into the booth and was mumbling words and the song was just king of writing itself! The crazy part is, I wasn’t even there when Teyana ended up cutting the record. When I heard it for the first time, I didn’t even know what to expect. They were like yeah, Teyana is using the record and I’m like okay cool, and then I hear it and I’m like Whoa! This girl can sing. That whole project is crazy!
Advice to a person aspiring to success in the music industry
I’m learning that it is coming down to having a team! It’s about surrounding yourself with the right people that have the same dreams, same goals and the same drive and ambition, if not more than you. Those are the people you need to have on your team, because no matter how talented you are, if you don’t have the right people and connections to put you in front of the audience you desire to have it’s all for naught. It really comes down to ‘team’ and aligning yourself with the right people.
On what we should take away from “Places I’ve Ever Been Vol. II”?
I want people to go on a journey with this one. I want to take people to a destination with this. I want people to have fun to this, to have sex to this, to drink to this…I want people to lose themselves for the next 25 minutes.
I’m starting to work on Part 3 and it’s going to be the last part to this volume. All I can say is, this one is going to be full of features and I can’t tell you guys right now, but it’s going to crazy! I’m using all of my relationships and all of the people I’ve worked with over the course of these years. I kind of want it to be like a shock value! It’s coming in the Summer, I’m not going to wait too long for that one!
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All Photos © Copyright 2014 Carla Carter