A month before his senior class graduated from high school, Gerald Scott penned a song for the choir to sing at the commencement ceremony.
“It was 2003, I was eighteen years old, and I wrote a song called ‘Destiny’ for the choir to sing for the graduation,” Scott recalled in a recent interview. “It was an inspirational song about moving toward the future and getting ready for what’s to come.”
Figuratively and literally, “Destiny” was also a portent of Scott’s own music career. Incredible, the new CD by Gerald Scott & Co., was released on Habakkuk Records on July 1.
‘We want to have some fun and tell you that it’s gonna be alright. Any of your problems and situations, it’s gonna be alright’: Gerald Scott & Co., ‘Alright,’ from the new album, Incredible.
Scott hails from a musically gifted family. He credits his piano playing and singing grandmother from Clarkton, North Carolina for inspiring her children and grandchildren to make music. Scott’s mother sang in church, and his cousins are praise and worship artist Leah Clark Leach and jazz drummer Greg Clark.
There was a piano at Scott’s home but he also took a fancy to the organ. He was happy to play the organ during church services; since it was secondary to the piano, he had a chance to learn to play it. “I just sort of padded softly behind the service and developed my skills a little more.” Although he could play by ear, Scott took music courses in high school to learn to read music better.
Scott entered Clark Atlanta University. While he prepared to become a lawyer, he continued playing for local churches. By his early twenties, music had trumped law as his career focus. “I am still interested in law,” Scott rejoined, “but music took over.”
Among his gospel inspirations are Pastor Marvin Winans, whom he calls “one of the greatest songwriters in gospel;” Pastor John P. Kee, and Isaac Carree. “These days I’m loving a lot of the new artists like Zacardi Cortez and Jessica Reedy,” Scott added.
From their debut album, 2008’s Intro, Gerald Scott & Co. perform ‘Dreamer’
Gerald Scott & Co. spent the latter half of 2011 recording their new album, Incredible. When it was completed, Scott gave a copy to April Washington-Essex, CEO of Habakkuk Records. “April is someone I respect musically,” he said. “I gave it to her to get her opinion. She liked it and wanted to take it. She made some small changes so it would be a better fit for what she wanted to do, and we went from there.”
Scott said that while a couple of the songs on the new album are remixed and remastered versions of earlier recordings, the newly-written material represents a different sound for the group: Not far from the group’s original style, but still not the same. “The music has a new edge to it,” he said. “I’m excited to see the response.”
Scott agrees with his friend Jawn Murray’s description of his music as “edgy Sunday morning.”
“I want to cater to the traditional church crowd, but I also want my music to be young.”
His songwriting style is organic. “I don’t like to ‘make’ a song,” he said. “I like to let it come to me so that it flows naturally. Sometimes I have the lyrics first, sometimes the melody comes first. My brain is always going, and before I know it, I can sit down to a piano and finish it. Other times, I store the idea away until I know what I want to do with it.”
Clifton Holmes of www.TheGospelBlog.com interviews Gerald Scott about his music ministry and his new album, Incredible
When asked about his singing style, which has the pacing of a preacher, Scott said: “Preaching is something I do, but preacher’s pacing is not something I do intentionally [on record]. Preacher’s pacing is good! Maybe it comes to me second nature!”
“Alright,” the debut single from the new album, is garnering raves from listeners. Scott believes that people will enjoy all the songs on the album but especially the high-energy title track, the churchy “He ‘Rose,” and a remix of “When I Think About Jesus,” a song that appeared initially on Gerald Scott & Company’s first album, 2008’s Intro. The talented Claude Deuce and a Christian rap artist named Enyaphace cameo.
In August, Gerald Scott & Company hit the road on a multi-city tour with other Habakkuk artists such as Cheneta Jones and Lisa Page Brooks.
“Our main service is to Jesus Christ,” Scott said. “We have a heart for God, and it’s important for us that the message of Jesus Christ gets out. We love to have fun, we love to make great music, but at the end of the day, we would like to see more souls come to Christ. If that happens as a result of our music and our ministry, it’s a wonderful thing. All glory goes to God for that.”
For more information, visit www.habakkukmusic.com.
Bob Marovich is a gospel music historian, radio announcer and author. His “Gospel Memories” radio program of vintage black gospel music and artist interviews airs live first Sundays from 3 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. on Chicago’s WLUW 88.7 FM, and streams live at the station’s website. Snippets of recent broadcasts can be heard online at the Gospel Memories Radio Show. Bob is also founder and editor of The Black Gospel Blog.