Tower of Power frontman steps into solo spotlight
May 9, 2019
He’s just 34 years old, but his voice and style evoke an era of music born before his time.
For the past few years, Marcus Scott has been making a name for himself as the lead singer of the legendary band Tower of Power. Now, he’s striking out on his own with a new solo album, Back 2 Da Soul.
Bringing back the soul
“Part of why I named it that is because a lot of artists from my generation are not really familiar with soul music because a lot of us use technology to our advantage,” Scott explained. “We may use a beat machine with samples and everything. I wanted to go another route. I call it, ‘waking it up.’ It’s bringing it back to the essence of the music.”
Scott said the album was heavily influenced by James Brown but contains his own personal touch that provides a glimpse into who he is as a person and as an artist.
“Some of the songs are personal, dedicated to my daughters,” he said. “I have two little daughters, four and six years old, and I have a wife I’ve been married to for 10 years. Me being on the road, I’m always thinking of them, so I wrote a lot of songs with them in mind.”
Scott is holding an album release party and show on Wednesday, May 15, at The Clyde. He said the venue just made sense because he’s developed a connection to and love for Fort Wayne while recording the album at Sweetwater Studios.
The partnership was the culmination of a friendship that evolved after Sweetwater Studios owner Chuck Surack and Senior Producer/Engineer Mark Hornsby bonded with Scott after a Tower of Power show two years ago. Their shared passion for Memphis soul music led to a discussion about Scott’s solo project.
Acclaimed studio musicians
Back 2 Da Soul was recorded over three days last December with live studio musicians, a practice that’s become less common these days.
“When you get everybody in a room together — real players — there’s a synergy that can’t be replicated,” Hornsby said. “There’s a musical conversation going on between everyone. You have two keyboard players and they’re discussing, ‘You go here, and I’ll go there.’ Same thing with the guitar players, same thing with the horn section. Are the horns a feature or are they there just to back up the rest of the band? Some songs it’s one way, some songs it’s another way. We’re making those decisions per song, on the fly. The album mixes itself.”
The result was an 11-song album that Scott said he’s extremely proud to debut and an experience he won’t soon forget.
“After we recorded it, Mark sent me a copy of everything, and I was on an airplane at the time,” Scott said. “I’m playing it in my ears and all of a sudden, I hear this choir behind me, and, I’ve got to be honest, I almost lost it on the plane. It brought me to tears. Almost every song that we recorded brought me to tears. The energy behind it. The work ethic they put into it. I’ve never worked with people who work just as hard as me in the studio.”
The core band was made up of members of the Sweetwater All-Stars as well as acclaimed instrumentalists like Michael Omartian on keyboards, Tom Hemby on guitar, and others.
“We had something like 50 Grammys and 30 Dove Awards in that room,” Hornsby said. “Marcus is definitely on a mission. He’s on a crusade to bring attention back to the talented musicians who actually play this music.”
Connecting with the audience
The Sweetwater All-Stars will open the show on May 15 at 7 p.m. and Scott will play all of the songs from the new album along with a few others. Tickets for the reserved-seating show are $20 each or two for $30.
Scott is looking forward to performing in a venue the size of The Clyde that allows him to connect with the audience in ways that are more difficult in a larger setting.
“Starting off in smaller nightclubs in Memphis, Tenn., it really groomed me into the performer that I am today,” he said. “I take every audience to heart. I look at it as you want these people to remember you.”
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