The Japanese know a good thing when they hear it.
Popular Tokyo FM station, J-Wave, latched onto Glen Scott’s potent debut single, “Heaven,” last winter and stayed with it all the way to the Top 10 on its weekly Hot 100 chart. (The song also peaked at No. 3 for three weeks on P&P’s weekly Picks chart in March.)
The London-born singer/multi-instrumentalist, a cross between Bobby Womack and Roachford, finds the whole concept beyond belief.
“They’ve responded really well to it in Japan, which is a total shock for me,” he said recently, “because the album wasn’t even released there yet. That’s what music’s about, reaching people of all different races, ages. That’s the power of music.”
Now it’s America’s turn. Scott’s debut 550 Music album, “Without Vertigo” (released May 18), is wonderfully melodic with elements of 1970s soul, Beach Boys harmonies and Caribbean influences.
“The music is quite eclectic-sounding,” Scott said. “I found myself pouring out all my different influences over the years. From being a session musician and playing on other albums and tours, that sort of influences the way I am and have stayed.”
Scott first honed his talents – singing and playing a Hammond organ and a drum machine – with a reggae-gospel band at age 15. By 19, he toured with Dave Stewart of the Eurythmics and other artists.
“It was more about paying the bills; I was doing sessions to pay the bills,” he said. “You get to the point where as a musician you become really frustrated because you’re not doing what you feel you should be doing, and when you don’t quite know what you should be doing, it’s even more frustrating.
“But I had a lot of encouragement from various friends of mine in the music business, and it was through one particular individual, Kenny Hall, that I started doing my own tracks and write. He really helped me a lot and was a surrogate manager; he’s now my publisher, actually.”
Scott then began collaborating with Swedish producer-guitarist Martin Terefe.
“We recorded about 30 songs,” Scott said, “and it was the music that made people’s ears prick up. We didn’t go shopping for a deal or anything like that. It was a natural response from people, who discovered the sound more than anything else. For me, that’s a major buzz, to hear people’s enthusiasm.
“A number of labels wanted to sign the project. I was about to sign a deal with RCA in London. I was in the states when my manager got a call from 550 Music and they desperately wanted to meet me. Reluctantly, I went over to New York to meet them. At that point, I had already met with a lot of record companies and wanted to get on with finishing the album. I fell completely in love with their enthusiasm for me as an artist and the album, and not for just one album but for many albums. They showed a huge commitment for me. I thought, ‘This is a place I could call home.’ ”
Whether “Without Vertigo” falls in the cracks between superstar releases and hot newcomers is beyond his control, Scott said.
“It’s all new to me, even regards to doing interviews. I’m a novice,” he said. “Whenever people ask me, ‘What do you want to be remembered for?,’ the best thing I can say is ‘I want people to know me for me, Glen Scott.’ I’m just a musician who likes to write songs, express himself onstage and in the studio.”
THE FIRST RECORD I EVER BOUGHT: “I used to follow my older brother everywhere, and we were going to my auntie’s house in south of London. We were walking past a second-hand store, and I remember my brother had 50 pence on him. We saw this Parliament/Funkadelic single, ‘One Nation Under a Groove,’ and it had two bonus tracks on it. We bought that together. My father was a builder at that time and he used to clear out old houses and build them up. He brought home this orange turntable and it had speakers built in, and we played that song all the time on it.”
THE FIRST CONCERT I EVER WENT TO: “I haven’t been much of a concertgoer. I used to find it frustrating, because it was always something I wanted to do. I was almost afraid of being inspired and enjoying it, even at a young age.”
BWF (before we forget): For more on Glen Scott on the Web @ www.glenscott.com.