Dylan Scott says he’s fired up, but even if he didn’t say so, that’s the impression you would have gotten anyway. He’s so enthusiastic about so many different things that you could get the exact same impression, whether he was talking about songwriting, touring, recording, or even just being back home in Louisiana.
In this case, he was talking about his new single “Lay It On Me”, but it didn’t have anything to do with the fact that it sold so well the very first day it was out, because that part hadn’t even happened yet. What he was talking about was the song itself, writing it, recording it, working on it, the whole personal, musical, shared adventure. “I’m fired up,” he says, “and what I like about it is, it’s just making good music and having a good time. Not worrying about the money, just worrying about the fun we’re going to have.”
Even if you happen to talk to him on the day that his third single is being released by Sidewalk Records, the forward-leaning imprint of Nashville’s legendary Curb labels, he’s not likely to bring up anything about the business, about his success, or even about his very promising future. It probably doesn’t matter though; even if none of that comes up, you’re still going to get a good idea of why so many people are excited about his music. That’s because in everything Dylan Scott talks about, you’ll hear the same effortless good will, and the same absolutely irresistible enthusiasm, that always seems to come through in the music that he makes.
It’s getting so that you can hear the music he makes a lot of different places. His debut EP Dylan Scott was produced by studio icon (and now, CEO, The Curb Group) Jim Ed Norman, so it’s not surprising that his EP and his singles mean a lot to the label; they’re at all the sites and on all of the streaming services, and his band is on tour just about nonstop, playing to audiences that aren’t getting any less fired up, just a lot bigger.
You can find Dylan Scott’s music a lot of other places too though, because fans in a lot of different places manage to find his music, wherever it is. His single “Makin’ This Boy Go Crazy” was a top five track on SiriusXM, up there with some of Country’s biggest names, and at the Sidewalk Records Soundcloud, his debut EP has an amazing half-million plays. If he doesn’t seem all that preoccupied with any of that, it’s only because he’s so enthusiastic about the music, and about the people he’s working on it with. Besides, that’s not the way he looks at what people might want to know about an artist anyway.
So what would people want to know about Dylan Scott, the people waiting in line to see him and his upstart Country band live, the people listening to him at the Sidewalk Soundcloud, the people crowding iTunes on the day “Lay It On Me” was released?
“Let’s look at it this way,” he offers, “I’m just a guy born in this little town in Louisiana, and I’m a fan of music. Country music, rap music, pop music, anything, I just love music.” Even though he’s been writing and recording with some of the best musicians in Nashville since he was eighteen (he was twenty-three when “Lay It On Me” was released), he still knows exactly what it’s like to be a fan. “It wasn’t that long ago,” he continues, “that I was the guy sitting on my computer, or hanging out with my buddies, and this artist would come on that I’d never heard of. So I would look him up, and I would listen to his music, but what I would really like to know, and I’m sure everybody else is like this, is where is he from, how did he grow up? I mean, what kind of person is this guy?”
Those would be some good questions to ask about Dylan Scott, if only because what kind of person he is, and how he grew up, have so much to do with what you hear in his music now. Much of the power in his writing and in his singing seem to come from just being who he is, and who he already was before he ever got to Nashville.
He grew up in the country, in a close family where he was surrounded by music. He talks about seeing pictures of his Dad when his Dad was in Nashville as an artist, and out on the road touring as a working country musician. “I would see pictures around the house of him on stage, so all of that was just normal,” he says, “That’s just the way it was, music was what I knew.” He got to know it early, too; he started out playing piano when he was three years old, and he quickly learned how to play songs he heard on the television, just from hearing them. A few years later, when he was eleven or twelve, his Dad started showing him some chords on the the guitar. “Once again, I was just playing by ear,” he says, “and from there, I started writing.”
Music was a lot of what home was, and still is, for Dylan Scott, but there was a lot more too. Being out in the woods was just as important, the woods that are everywhere, and that are such a large part of growing up if you grew up where he did. “The nearest town, not even city, but the nearest town from where I grew up is twenty minutes, and then you go another twenty minutes to get to the nearest city, which is Monroe,” he says. “You hung out with your buddies every day when you were young, you rode four wheelers or dirt bikes, and then when hunting season rolled around, you’d hunt. That’s just kind of what we did.” You get an idea of how valuable all of that still is to him from the way he talks about being out in the woods now, early in the morning with his friends in a duck blind, or in the evening during deer season. “It’s just peaceful,” he says, “you get to watch the sun set, you see the birds flying, squirrels jumping in the trees, rabbits will show up. There’s just something really cool about it.”
When he’s not on tour, and if he doesn’t have writing or recording commitments in Nashville, he still heads back to Louisiana as much as he can. All the same things still matter, and that may well be where his ability to bring such power to his music comes from. There are certainly a lot of things in his life now that he could only have imagined before he moved to Nashville, and as important as where he comes from is, he’s just as enthusiastic when he talks about working with Jim Ed Norman, about writing with other great Nashville songwriters, or about the unbelievable energy of playing for an audience that’s really into what you’re doing on stage.
Somehow though, it seems like all that enthusiasm may be more powerful because it comes from someplace less frenetic, from the clarity that you learn growing up caring about music, about where you live, and about the people who care about you. That’s where Dylan Scott comes from, and in many ways, that’s where his music still comes from. Maybe, even with all the excitement, that’s a lot of what people hear when they hear Dylan Scott’s music. That just might be why so many of them get fired up too.