"Call Me Adam" catches up with songwriter Scott Alan to talk about his new album Scott Alan Greatest Hits Volume 1 and his upcoming 54 Below debut concert on January 19, 2015 at 7pm, which celebrates the release of Scott Alan Greatest Hits Volume 1!
Scott Alan Greatest Hits Volume 1 features Samantha Barks, Shoshana Bean, Stephanie J. Block, Lisa Brescia, Liz Callaway, Kerry Ellis, Hadley Fraser, Eden Espinosa, Marcus Paul James and Willemijn Verkaik, and new tracks by Marc Broussard, Taylor Dayne, Cynthia Erivo, RJ Helton, Christina Marie, Jonathan Mendelsohn, Stuart Matthew Price, Oliver Tompsett and Natalie Weiss.
Scheduled to appear at Scott's 54 Below concert include 2014 Tony Award Winners James Monroe Iglehart (Aladdin) and Jessie Mueller (Beautiful), Tony Nominee’s Joshua Henry (The Scottsboro Boys, Violet) and Chad Kimball (Memphis) as well as Lilla Crawford (Little Red Riding Hood in Disney’s upcoming film adaptation of Into the Woods), Alysha Umphress (On the Town), David Burtka (upcoming’s It Shoulda Been You), Mykal Kilgore (Motown), Natalie Weiss (Wicked), Katie Thompson (Giant), Ellyn Marie Marsh (Kinky Boots), Danny Calvert (Altar Boyz), Elizabeth Stanley (On the Town). More performers to be announced. Click here for tickets!
1. You have just released your new album Scott Alan Greatest Hits Volume 1 which features, well, some of your biggest hits from your previous five albums, plus a few new recordings and re-workings of other hits. What made now the right time to release a Greatest Hits album as opposed to recording a new album? To make a new album would cost too much money and putting out a Greatest Hits album allowed me the opportunity to revisit my older catalogue of music and reconstruct it enough to give these songs a new feel. In addition, since so many of my past albums are out of print, it only made sense to place the greatest hits on one album instead of spending the money to duplicate all or most of my previous albums. Everything comes down to money, which isn’t to say this album didn’t cost money, it actually cost more to make then my debut album, Dreaming Wide Awake.
2. What does it mean to you to have enough material to be able to create a Greatest Hits album? It means I’m getting really old. I’m now in that stage of my life where graduates tell me they discovered my music when they were in Junior High School. Old. Old. Old.
3. How did you decide which songs you wanted to put on this first collection of Greatest Hits and how did you decide which songs you wanted to re-work/change from their original recording? We did a poll on my website and about 90% of the songs were picked from that poll. As for the re-worked songs, it was important to have updates on many of the songs to make this album special and unique and not the normal "greatest hits" collection of songs that fans already own.
4. Some of the artists featured on your Greatest Hits were not the original artists you initially had record the song. Why did you choose to change some of the artists for this release? It started with the song "Anything Worth Holding on To." It’s a very personal song but it never caught on when released on my third album, What I Wanna Be When I Grow Up, even though it was beautifully sung by the iconic voice of Crystal Monee Hall. Then when I did my IndigO2 concert at the O2 and it was performed by the extraordinarily gifted talents of Cynthia Erivo, it gained a new life and a new following. I knew I wanted to try and recreate that and so having Cytnhia record the song was not even a question. Nothing will ever match the magic of the live performance but it’s so incredible to have it recorded for this album. And, to have Stuart Matthew Price re-create his performance of "Over the Mountains" was a no brainer. He was my original idea for the recording but I had already offered it to Bobby Steggert. Then we tried to have him in for the LIVE album but he was busy with Shrek. So, we finally had the timing right. Thankfully. And, "In This Moment" recorded in the studio was a no-brainer. Marc Broussard. Hello. This new version of "Kiss the Air" was featured on the special edition of LIVE, so we changed the arrangement a bit. Oliver Tompsett’s voice is timeless. And Natalie Weiss' new version of "The Distance You Have Come" was our way of going back to the original demo of what the song represented. Simplistic and organic.
5. One artist who is new to this recording is the one and only Taylor Dayne who sings "I'm Coming Home To You." I have loved Taylor Dayne since she burst onto the music scene in the 80s. How did you come to work with this Grammy-nominated artist? I’m annoying and overly eager. Taylor can tell the story better but truthfully I just kept tweeting her and emailing her assistant until she said yes. I wouldn’t give up and kept on pushing and thankfully our schedules linked up and I had the opportunity to work with one of my childhood idols. I grew up the biggest Taylor Dayne voice and that voice hasn’t changed one bit. It’s still crazy to look in my phone and know I can call her, and I do. She’s so down to earth and awesome. The studio session was a blast. Just two Long Island kids. We have the same lingo and she is brilliant in knowing what she wants and how to achieve it. She’s got a brilliant mind. It was an honor.
6. On January 19, you will be making your 54 Below debut to celebrate the release of your Greatest Hits. What excites you about making your 54 Below debut? Why was now the best time to make your 54 Below debut? You know, I feel like I’m having an affair on Birdland because I've been performing there for years but when Jennifer Tepper asked me if I would be interested in doing a concert at 54 Below I couldn’t help but say yes. I mean, aren’t all the cool kids doing it? Sometimes new scenery is just what the doctor ordered.
7. In addition to this concert being your 54 Below debut, your first concert in a year and a half, why should fans get excited for this concert? and What do you hope audiences come away with after attending this concert? I have always feared performing in New York because I feel like I can’t just sit back and relax and be myself. Over the years, performing in London and Australia and Holland and Germany and just having the opportunity to sit back and tell my story - I’m excited to do that now, in my city. It’s gonna be a very different vibe and I’m really excited to share that with this audience.
8. Why did you wait a year and a half to return to the New York concert stage? I always think nobody will show up and so I think it’s always smart to take breaks so that the audience awaits your next visit and I don’t overdose on xanax.
9. What's the best advice you've ever received? From Frank Wildhorn. He said "The day you stop thinking you’re a new voice and think you’ve learned everything there is to be learned, leave the industry." Smart advice. Thankfully, I keep learning. And advice I always tell the young one’s which is to "Always remain a fan" and I do. I continue to work with my childhood hero’s because I am still that 12 year old kid in his bedroom waiting for life to begin.
11. How do you want to be remembered? As a father and a husband. I just need a husband and kids to father. But that is what I want my legacy to be.
12. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose? I seem to dream about flying a lot. I don’t know why. I have dreams often that I can fly. So, I guess that one?
13. If you could be an original flavor Life Saver, which one would you be? Oh, hmmmm. Is cool mint an option?
14. If you could create your own signature drink, what would you call it and what would the ingredients be? The Dreamer. Part Malibu Rum, Part Pineapple Juice, Part Citrus Absolute Vodka, part Midori Melon and topped off with a cherry. And yes. I was a bartender and that actually was my signature drink back in the day at Stonewall Inn, located in the W. Village. So I’m sorta cheating.
Since returning to New York City in 2003 many of Broadway's elite have sung Scott Alan's songs, including Liz Callaway, Jonathan Groff, Shoshana Bean, Adriane Lenox, Stephanie J. Block, Cheyenne Jackson, Eden Espinosa and more, all of which can be found featured on his debut CD Dreaming Wide Awake. Scott then released the follow up CD, Keys, in 2008 which features more of Broadway and West End elite singing his work, including Sutton Foster, Norm Lewis, Kerry Ellis, Randy Graff, Megan Hilty, Hadley Fraser, Julia Murney and many more.
In the fall of 2010, Scott Alan released his third album, What I Wanna Be When I Grow Up, featuring Christiane Noll, Darius de Haas, Christopher Sieber, Willemijn Verkaik, Patina Miller and more.
Scott Alan released his fourth album, LIVE, in 2012 which was recorded at the famed Birdland Jazz Club in New York City. This recording featured Samantha Barks, Lea Salonga, Jane Monheit, Marc Broussard, Ramin Karimloo, Pentatonix and many of today's brightest Broadway and West End stars. On May 24th, 2012 Scott's composition, "It's Good to See You Again" was featured on the premiere episode of the ninth season of So You Think You Can Dance. His work has also been heard in the documentary The Standbys and on VH1's reality show Off-Pitch.
In 2014 Scott released his fifth album, a seven song collection sung by the composer called Anything Worth Holding on To.
Scott Alan has sold out concerts of his music in New York City, London, Holland, Germany, San Francisco, Boston, Los Angeles and Australia.