WILD RIDE: Scott shares his passion for music

Published 4:14 pm Monday, January 27, 2020

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Zack Scott, an alumnus from Charles Henderson High School and a senior at Troy University, is making his mark as a musician through performing with and writing music for a group called POPulus.

POPulus is a class that Scott takes at Troy University where he gets to play different genres of popular American music. Scott has written two songs so far that have been produced and released on two different albums by POPulus including his first song titled “Life’s a Wild Ride” on the album Wild Ride and his second song on the album Glory titled “Move On.”

From a young age, Scott developed a love for music. He began playing at his church, Pleasant Ridge Missionary Baptist Church in Henderson, Alabama, around the age of 12, and he played keyboard, piano, and the drum set. “I started playing for the church, and when the head musician left for another job, I took his position,” Scott said. “I was the head musician playing with the choir when I was just in middle school.”

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Scott continued to play for his church throughout his high school and college years. While in high school at Charles Henderson, he also joined the marching band.

“I had the option to either play football or be in the band, and I chose to be in the band because I love music and wanted the opportunity to march when I got to college,” Scott said.

Once he got to Troy University, he did just that and joined the Sound of the South marching band where he has marched for three years. He is also an interdisciplinary major with three minors including music industry, fine arts, and graphic design.

Being in the Charles Henderson band and the Sound of the South band, showed Scott that there’s a lot of different kinds of music out there and he found a love for all types of music. “It taught me how to be completely open with my music selection and how to accept all music and not judge people on what they listen to,” he said.

“When I make song list for a set I’m performing for, I want to have something in there for everyone, so whoever is at the venue at the time will enjoy the show,” Scott said.

One of Scott’s drum instructors, Zack Wilson who was also apart of the music group POPulus, told Scott about an opening position for a drum set player within this group and encouraged him to audition, which he did.

“I went to this audition and it was the scariest thing I’ve ever done,” Scott explained. “It’s a massive group of about 42 people that includes artists, singers, musicians, engineers that do the sound and lighting, and they were all sitting in this small room.”

“I walked in and they asked who wanted to go first and being from Troy and growing up here I was like, ‘Oh, I want to go home’,” Scott laughed.

Nevertheless, Scott made it through the audition process in April 2016, and a couple of weeks later, he got an email of acceptance into this music group, which changed his life.

Since joining the group in 2016, Scott has had the opportunity to perform at different venues and locations where he plays the drums, bass, and also sings. “We played at the Dothan Opera House, at the Peanut Festival, and at a couple of schools,” Scott explained. “This past year we got to perform in Italy, which was really cool!”

While in Italy for a week, Scott got to play in downtown Pietrasanta for a festival and a show case put on by the theater department.

“We were on the downtown square where everybody sits outside to have dinner and socialize,” Scott said. “It was kind of like a flash mob even though the people saw our equipment set up.

“We played the songs we were supposed to play, and the governor of Pietrasanta came and asked us to play the songs one more time, which we did,” Scott continued. “We turned the block into a full party. Everybody jammed out and danced too.”

One of the latest projects that Scott was able to be a part of through POPulus was performing at the bicentennial in front of the governor, congressmen, and Kirk Jay who was a contestant in the singing competition The Voice.

Before the performance, Scott went with other POPulus members to the venue to set up, and they were surprised by how big the venue was.

“We were told the dimensions of the venue, but we didn’t understand how big it was going to be until we got there. I thought this is either going to be really good or really bad,” Scott laughed.

As the audience started to come in for the show, Scott looked through a crack in the curtain backstage to see the crowd. He was nervous at first to see everyone who had come, but once everyone got into place and the show started everything went smoothly.

“The people loved us,” he said. “We were high energy, the audience was high energy, and they enjoyed the whole show.”

During this show, Scott remembered what one of his voice teachers, Mrs. Jilla Webb, told him about performing. “She told me to just have fun on stage, and ever since then, when I’m on stage I’m there to have fun, which will make the audience have fun too,” he said.

“When I got on the stage, I thought to myself, alright this is the biggest crowd I’ve ever played in front of, so it’s time to have the biggest party of my life,”

“The show went well, the band did exceptionally well, and it was a lot of fun,” he said. “It was an amazing life changing experience to be exposed to that environment at such a young age.”

Last fall, Scott had the opportunity to co-write the title track called “Life’s a Wild Ride” on the latest album Wild Ride for POPulus. Scott and his advisor Mr. Robert Smith came together on a lunch break to brainstorm, and after about 20 minutes they started writing lyrics down.

Scott wrote the lyrics to the overall song section, Denver Wallace wrote the rap section, and the producer Madison Smith wrote the chord progressions.

For two or three weeks, the process continued as they wrote the music to the song, the band learned the songs, and later recorded it in a studio in Montgomery. The album was released in February and has been
doing well since.

During the process of recording, Scott was amazed and explained that it was done quickly, and everyone was on top of it.

Now, Scott is helping work on a new project and has written a song that will go on the album next semester. This music can also be found on any streaming platforms including Apple Music, Spotify, and others.

“My first song ‘Life’s a Wild Ride’ is about the roller coaster we go through as we learn about life, the troubles we go through, and the ups and downs,” Scott explained. “And my second song ‘Move On’ is about being able to fight through the hardships and struggles that are going on now, from standing with kids who have depression and helping them move on to standing by those who get mistreated because of their race.

“Music is a universal language. If we can connect and have a moment through a song, we’re inseparable. Mr. Smith would say, ‘People will always remember how you made them feel,’ so if I can make people feel great with this music than they won’t ever forget how my performance was that day,” Scott said.

In the future, Scott plans to start his own production company. He wants to be able to have a venue where he can bring in artist who are touring, so they can come and perform at his venue. He also wants to start his own recording studio label with his own brand.

“I want to have it to where it’s international, but I specifically want to have a branch in the southeastern United States, maybe really close to Troy,” Scott said. “It would be cool to be able to bring something
like that here.”

Story by Lauren Johnson 

For more stories from the January/February edition of TroyLife, pick up a copy at various locations around the community or at The Messenger office.