Interview with Zoe Scott: Shades of Love

Shades Of Love, a Journey of Self-Discovery, Romance, and Love: 12 songs reimagined by international recording artist, Zoe Scott

International recording artist Zoe Scott will release her 12-song Bossa Nova debut Shades of Love on February 12th 2021.

Produced by Moogie Canazio, known for his all-analog recording style, which earned him 10 GRAMMY and two Emmy Awards. This meticulously curated collection of reimagined songs, made famous by legendary artists and set to Bossa Nova arrangements, sets a tone for romance and love.

Zoe moved away from her family in London for Rome at 18, leaving behind a loving mother and an alcoholic father for the life of an actress, songwriter, and singer. After years starring on stage and in films, the love of music drew her to Los Angeles, where her name became synonymous with Rock ‘n’ Roll. 

“I remember the hard edges of performing rock music and the rock scene in general. I loved it at first — the angst, the power, the energy — but simultaneously, I recall how boxed in I felt,” says Zoe as she settles into a camel-colored, buttery soft chair in her Malibu home’s living room —  the Pacific Ocean as her backdrop.

“That day, I started a journey of self-discovery and healing. With that came new artistic expressions and new ways to feel and receive love. One day I came across Antonio Carlos Jobim’s music, and I was swept away. I felt his soul through every note, and in that moment, I knew I had to make this album.”

Zoe plunged heart first on a mission to express the freedom, sensuality, and romance she was drawn to through Bossa Nova. Each of the 12 songs on Shades of Love reflects a chapter in her life’s book and an expression of what she calls, “feeling in.”

“I was always looking outward for answers, but I found true joy and peace when I turned my attention inward. Something magical happened: I not only found answers, I realized love was all around me this entire time. It’s this love I want to share with the world.”

Zoe’s Bossa Nova Journey

After years spent honing a hard-edged rock voice, Zoe knew mastering Bossa Nova’s understated sensuality was a journey she couldn’t make on her own. She reached out to Moogie Canazio, who ultimately helped Zoe feel her way into the silky, hushed vocal qualities she shares on this album.

“Moogie coached me on how to get to that place, and it felt quite vulnerable,” Zoe recalls. “As a rock singer, it was more about putting on a show. Bossa Nova is more a process of undressing.” With Moogie by her side, Zoe learns to “get behind the lyric and express from her heart.”

Like Bossa Nova itself — born from a marriage of Jazz and Samba, and sometimes called “Brazilian Jazz” — Shades of Love represents a cross-cultural creative melding that connects artist and producer, LA and Rio, past and present, emotion and craft.

Zoe enlists the talents of Bossa Nova legends

Zoe also chose to honor the authentic style and original sound cultivated by Bossa Nova originators João Gilberto and Antonio Carlos Jobim. Enlisting the talents of Bossa Nova legends: guitarist-arranger Torcuato Mariano and Daniel Jobim, grandson of Antonio Carlos Jobim. Daniel is a featured performer on two of his grandfather’s most iconic songs, playing piano on “Quiet Nights” – the lead track off Shades of Love, available Friday, Sept. 18 – and scatting in the style of his grandfather on “Wave.”

“There was total silence from all of the musicians in the studio because they could feel Daniel’s grandfather coming right down and going through him,” Zoe shares. “I cried when I heard it mixed.”

Zoe reimagines iconic songs

Along with these two Bossa Nova classics, Zoe also reimagined iconic songs originally recorded by Stevie Wonder, Amy Winehouse, The Beatles and more, including “I’ll Stand By You,” made famous by Chrissie Hynde; “This Girl’s In Love With You” written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David, recorded by Herb Alpert; “7 Lives,” an intimate anniversary gift written by Brazilan Zé Ricardo to his wife.

Zoe continued her thoughtful curation with “The More I See You,” part of the famous club scene in Roman Polanski’s “Frantic,” starring Harrison Ford. “Baby It’s You,” written by Burt Bacharach was recorded by The Shirelles and The Beatles; “Once I Loved,” made famous by Frank Sinatra; “My Cherie Amour,” by Stevie Wonder; “In My Life,” recorded by The Beatles; and “Triste,” written by Jobim in 1966 at the Sunset Marquis Hotel in Los Angeles. The album closes with “You Know I’m No Good” by Amy Winehouse.

Bossa Nova taught me that there is life in the quiet spaces

“I chose each song for personal and artistic reasons. I related to them and each is a snapshot of a part of my journey I wanted to share,” says Zoe.

In her journey from performing original indie rock to Bossa Nova covers, Zoe has embraced an expansive, openhearted vulnerability she’d never experienced before. In the process, she connected her craft with who she was becoming as a person. “Bossa Nova taught me that there is life in the quiet spaces. I find peace, love, and joy there. It’s my hope this album opens the doors to the hearts of anyone who listens.”

Shades of Love track listing:

1. Quiet Nights
2. I’ll Stand By You
3. This Girl’s In Love
4. 7 Lives
5. Wave
6. The More I See You
7. Baby It’s You
8. Once I Loved
9. My Cherie Amour
10. In My Life
11. Triste
12. You Know I’m No Good

Interview with Zoe Scott

1. You have just released your 12-song Bossa Nova debut Shades of Love? Can you tell us more about the album and what it means to you?

The album represents a lot to me. It was in many ways a gift of love, romance and adventure that I gave to myself. During my Rock years, I was in a much more anxious and angry space. I went on a journey of self-discovery and self-love.

The song choices for Shades of Love are two ends of the emotional journey, from Amy Winehouse I’m no Good To Wave By Antonio Carlos Jobim. The emotions of despair and cheating oneself to admitting to myself I wanted love and companionship, “The fundamental loneliness goes whenever two can dream a dream together” lyrics from the song Wave. I was exploring love and the feeling of love within myself. So, a lot of the songs I’m singing from my heart to someone I love. They become an autobiographical journey even though I didn’t write them.

When I step up to sing the songs in the vocal booth. I am inside the story of them for sure. I am singing each song to someone in my life. It is a romantic journey to go to a place like Rio de Janeiro and record. I have such a soul connection to Bossa Nova and the period in Rio when Bossa Nova was created. It was absolutely thrilling to arrive in Rio the birthplace of Bossa Nova.

Although I have lived all over the world. I am a British woman at heart and I feel we British women love a good romantic adventure. I think that’s part of our roots, British people are very creative and adventurous, and we love to travel. 

The album means love to me in all its forms. I give love through the album with all my heart to anyone who listens. Especially in these troubled times, I hope it’s soothing and uplifting. I hope you all come on a journey with me through the album to discover love and joy, and the sounds of Rio.

2. What have been some of your favourite moments of your music career so far? 

My music career started with an adventure with my dear sister Victoria in the mountains of Spain. We lived there for 5 months; this became a vision quest in our 20s to discover who we really wanted to become. I came across Joseph Campbell’s work and was moved by his famous line “Follow Your Bliss”. This inspired me and my sister and we boldly decided our bliss was to go to California and make music like our rock heroes, The Doors.

For me, living In London was difficult. As an actress, I did not have a lot of work. I certainly was Broke Girl at times. I longed for freedom and adventure. Making the decision to move to Los Angeles while in the mountains of Spain was a big magical moment under the stars with my sister. When we arrived in California, we found ourselves in the Mojave Desert living in a cave which is where we wrote my first album together. We could not afford to stay in LA and being in nature and staying in the cave was inspiring. We really made the most out of our financially trying times. You know, being broke can take you to all the right places.

The first time I played Whisky a Go Go was so memorable. The crowd and the energy was electrifying. I was thrilled to be performing in the venue that my rock heroes The Doors had also performed in, I was over the moon.

The first time I met my Bossa Nova producer Moogie Canazio was at The Village in Santa Monica. He had been hired to record some music tracks for me before he became my producer. The band he was working with took up all the sound booth so he asked me if I wouldn’t mind going in a closet and singing. It had been quite some time since I had been in a recording studio and I stood in that closet and I felt entirely at home again. I thought, “OK! If I only get the closet to start with I can work my way up from here”.

I knew the moment I started singing that Moogie was meant to be my Producer and the Producer I had always hoped for. For me, hearing Bossa Nova in a recording studio for the first time put me into that original state of Bliss that started me on this musical journey many years ago.

Another great moment for me was being in the studio in Rio recording my album Shades of Love. I was In the studio with the finest Brazilian players in the world. Hearing them play the songs we had chosen with the arrangements we created was absolutely a dream come true. I had tears in my eyes.

I’ll never forget the moment when Moogie played me the final mix of the album. We were both filled with such emotion, we shared tears of joy.

3. What inspired you to move away from Indie Rock and embrace Bossa Nova music? 

My experience with rock was a massive part of my young life. I found myself moving toward Bossa Nova through the inspiration of my boyfriend, who played the music for me and felt that my voice was a natural fit for this style. As I explored the music, I found myself discovering more of my feminine nature which felt alive, beautiful and sensual. I immediately found a Brazilian guitar player and began rehearsing Jazz and ultimately Bossa Nova songs. This was a pivotal moment in my life which has brought me much joy and beauty.

4. You seem to have been on quite a path of self-healing. Can you tell us more about this journey?

I grew up like many people with my own mix of family trauma. My father was an alcoholic and my mother was busy taking care of him. My sister and I really had to mother ourselves. I didn’t even realize I was on a healing journey. As I look back, it started the moment I left home. At this point in my life, I have a passion for the healing arts. Exploring many different healing modalities from yoga, psychotherapy, sound bowl healing, Native American ceremony and Shamanism. I hope to one day have a show about all this and inspire others to go on their own healing journey.

Zoe Scott

5. What would your message be to anyone listening to this album full of such iconic songs? 

In these trying times these songs are true pieces of art that have withstood the test time. My message would be to allow the songs to bring a little more love in your life. These are passionate songs and when we feel things it makes us all feel more alive. Love heals!

6. How has this past year been for you and life under lockdown?

As a Brit, we are survivors. My father always said “necessity is the mother of invention” so in many ways it has been a very creative year.

I got to work with James Chressanthis, a world-class cinematographer and filmmaker to make my documentary and music video. Although he was in a mask, we made it happen. We worked with a micro crew mostly in the open air with all the crew in masks. I have been wanting to work with James for a long time, but he is normally away filming on set. Due to Covid-19, he was available, this was my silver lining. Obviously, it was challenging as many of the stylists I work with. I could not hire so my marketing lady Liz and I had to do everything from styling to promoting. It was a lot of work for just the two of us. We made it happen to keep everyone safe and our crew very small.

It is hard to see how much of an impact Covid-19 has had globally. Specifically with artists as so many have not been able to perform and work due to the impact of the pandemic. My band and I have been rehearsing in the garden all year, but we have no gigs to perform in. We try to stay positive, and the reality is it is quite hard on everybody.

7. You started “Dance The Wave Of Love” initiative to try and help out of work dancers.  Can you tell me more about this?

Due to my frustration of not being able to travel. I was inspired to tap into my passion for dance. We began reaching out to dancers all over the world to see if they would dance to the tracks from my album. I raised funds to pay them, and we have filmed dancers performing in London, Rio, Buenos Aires, New York, Spain, Rome, Perth and in my hometown Los Angeles. The dance community is really suffering right now.

I would like to raise more money to give to the dancers and create more of these wonderful videos with them dancing. You can find all the videos of the dancers you can go to my YouTube page you can find me at ZOE SCOTT, here is the link. If anyone is interested in supporting the dancers feel free to reach out directly to support this noble cause.

8. As a British artist, you have also lived in Rome and now LA. What’re your favourite things about the city?

They say Los Angeles is a space, not a place. I love LA and the proximity of all the natural elements around the city. The ocean, mountains and desert is a natural wonderland. I am wildly in love with the ocean and spend most of my time in Malibu. I rarely go into the city much these days. On top of that, you will find one of the finest creative communities in the world in LA. As an Artist, anything you need to do for your work and moving it forward is available to you in LA. No place is easy to be broke. I’d rather be broke and warm in LA than broke and freezing in the cold months in New York or London.

I love the beauty of Rome. Also, I love working in the creative community in Rome and the romance and passion of Italians. I feel very at home in Rome as it’s wonderful to walk around Rome and enjoy the magic. It was a glorious part of my 20s. There was an abundance of work at that time which made everything very exciting. I was an exotic novelty being a British actress in Rome and received a lot of opportunities. It is a period of my life I will remember and forever.

9. What is your top tip for living your best life?

I say tap into what you really love doing. Once you figure out your Bliss. Joseph Campbell said you can always find out your bliss by how you sparkle and shine when talking about it. I have always loved performing. Though at times it has been rough. I have found that committing myself to my passion has carried me through the hardest of times and has enriched the best of times. Do what you love and be around people you love in a place you love. The bottom line is to tap into what you love!

10. What are your plans for the future?

Now that the album is out and until I can start playing live again. I am working on the development of an interview show that I would host and probably talk to people about living their best life!  The future is bright and I look forward to the ongoing adventure.

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