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BWW Feature: At Home With Scott Evan Davis

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Whether as music maker, maestro, or mentor Scott Evan Davis leads with an open heart.

BWW Feature: At Home With Scott Evan DavisScott Evan Davis will tell you that his songwriting career found him, chose him, nurtured him; it was not Scott's intent to become a songwriter. Still, the art form found him and he has been swimming in it ever since. Songwriting is not, though, the only way that Mr. Davis uses his creativity, his craft, or his calling. Scott Evan Davis is a mentor, a teacher who coaches those in need, and these days there are many in that club, including Davis himself. When the New York City lockdown happened, Scott was quick to create online content to inspire, entertain, and amuse; these last few months, though, Scott has placed greater focus on his work as a teacher, work that inspires himself, as well as his mentees. In doing this, everyone in his circle feels connected to something, to someone.

Right now, that's everything.

This interview was conducted digitally and is reproduced here in its original form.

Name: Scott Evan Davis

First Cabaret Show : Both Sides Now, Don't Tell Mama's, 2004.

Most Recent Cabaret Show: Fragments, a song cycle, Laurie Beechman Theatre, 2019

Website or Social Media Handles: www.scottevandavis.com

Instagram and twitter @scottevandavis

Scott Evan Davis, welcome to Broadway World! Thank you for chatting with us today - how are you holding up during the show business shut down and global health crisis?

I think that's the million dollar question! My honest answer is.....each day is different. Some days I am motivated, and optimistic and inspired, and others I am.....well....the opposite of that. When we all went inside back in March, I had just finished my third Broadway Workshop for my musical INDIGO, with Sing Out Louise Productions (producers of Hadestown, Mrs. Doubtfire, Inheritance, Slave Play). We were gearing up for our first full out of town production, with costume and lights etc., and then....poof. Broadway stopped.

I was working with Brooklyn Children's Theatre and Epic Players, who both frantically went virtual, as well as my 14 or so private students (voice and piano). So, the chaos has definitely quieted down, but each day is still a reassessment in my opinion. The flip side is....by nature I am an introversive person. I love to be on stage and have an audience, but deep down I am most comfortable at home. So there have been many advantages to this new world, as well as MANY disadvantages.

But... I also do my best to stay grateful. Grateful to keep working, grateful for my partner and grateful for both of our health, and the health of our families.

During the first few months of quarantine you remained pretty focused on producing online content - as a music producer, what was your reaction to creation with others by remote?

I think when this all first started, my first thought was......I really need to learn new skills. I needed to do a deep dive for audio production and for video editing. Which I did, obsessively for over a month. I reached out to some singers, and put together some really cool virtual collaborations, like with Nicolas King and Sally Mayes.

Working remotely was challenging in the beginning because I didn't know about things like Cleanfeed, or JamKazaam...but nonetheless, I found it exciting and new, and I had the ability to work with people in a whole different way. I am proud of the collaborations I did. I want to do more, but life definitely stayed busy, trying to stay on top of all of the new changes within my own work and teaching, that I felt like I didn't have much time for my own projects. I am definitely feeling the need to do something creative again though, that is just for me and the sake of creating art.

You made a segue from performing into songwriting - do you still perform on occasion, or do you prefer to have others interpret your compositions?

I feel like I sing all day every day, for my students. All of my life, I wanted to be an actor/singer. And then, at 30 years old, pretty much on a dime, I shifted my energy to composing. Since then the desire to be seen and heard was overtaken by my music. I didn't feel the need to sing or act the way I used to feel. When I released my first album I did sing a song that was just me It was called I AM. On my second album I did a duet with Derek Klena. But mostly, I am more fulfilled by handing my song to a brilliant performer, and letting them breathe life into it.

BWW Feature: At Home With Scott Evan Davis

When it comes to your own music, what kind of music director are you? Do you like to direct the artists, or would you rather see what comes from them in the interpretive process?

As a music director of my own material, I am definitely more the latter. Obviously there are notes and rhythms that need to be taught, but I LOVE LOVE LOVE when a singer begins to interpret it, in their own way. It excites me and there is nothing better than that.

I do love to break the song down as an actor, (both when I am writing and when I am teaching) and I feel like I have a lot to contribute in that regard.

The last few months of the year you have focused more on your work as a teacher, working with young performers and also with people living on the autism spectrum. Tell us a bit more about that work.

I have been a teacher for 25 years now. I feel like I have been that first, before anything else throughout my life. So these days, I am very focused on my private students, trying to provide the best virtual experience I can. I also still work with Brooklyn Children's Theatre doing Zoom musicals and group classes. I recently started working with Epic Players, which is a neurodiverse theatre company. I teach a Broadway Master class series, where I invite a Broadway guest, and the first half is a talk back and the second, the students perform individually and we provide feedback. To date I have invited Sally Mayes, Willy Falk, Ben Bogen, Analise Scarpaci and many others. I also have been musically directing and audio mastering for them.

I feel very close the community and I feel like it is a beautiful extension of my work on INDIGO, which is about an autistic girl, who is non verbal, and her grandmother who is suffering from dementia.

Did this part of your work life develop from your days as a performer or your time at the piano, or from some other place in you?

The only reason I have amounted to anything in this world is because of my teachers and mentors, especially the late Brian Aschinger, who was my teacher at AMDA college. He was brilliant, and took me under his wing in a way no other teacher ever did. I made a vow to myself that no matter what, I would continue to teach his method, and how he brilliantly broke down a song and taught you how to connect to the material. I have a great passion for teaching, and instilling the same ambition and love of theatre I have always had. It is the only way to keep theatre alive, and these days, as hard as it is, it is more important than ever before.

Being a coach is often about more than just teaching, it's also about being able to listen and inspire mentees through tough times. I'm not sure how much tougher times could get right now - how is that going for you, in your own coaching?

I think these days, I am just as much of a therapist for my students, as I am a teacher. I think staying positive and hopeful, even if deep down you are not feeling that way, is the most important thing for students right now. They are screen fatigued and tired of ZOOM, so in the time I have with them, it is important that the audio quality is great, and that we can sing and play together in real time. That has been my saving grace.

I have been lucky to retain the students that I had, although I do have time in my schedule to grow that base. That is something I really want to focus on. Like I said....teaching now....is even more important than before in my opinion.

Catch me up on the status of INDIGO - any breaking news to share?

BWW Feature: At Home With Scott Evan DavisAs I said earlier, we were supposed to be working towards our first production but obviously this year is a wash. We have a creative meeting in a few weeks with the team and the producers, to see how we will move forward knowing Broadway extended the shut down. I hope we can figure something out to keep the momentum up, and to keep creating because every day I feel the desire to do something outside of myself more and more.

You've mastered some really satisfying success with your art, and there's always an underlying theme of positivity and humanity within the mission statement of your work: where does that balance come from?

I've never thought of what my mission statement is, but I do know that I have had the most success with my songs that speak on social issues. My song IF THE WORLD ONLY KNEW, written about autism but since has morphed into a lot of different views of it, is sung all around the world. It won the ASCAP award for its social message and It is sung in show choirs, and chorus's and covers. I am eternally grateful for it. I have another song about Alzheimer's called BEFORE I FORGET which won me a MAC award, and that song will always be special to me. So I guess my mission statement would be revolving around opening people's eyes to the voices that can't always speak for themselves, if that makes any sense.

We've only talked business in your AT HOME WITH interview, and I'd love to give our readers at least a little glimpse into Scott Evan Davis at home -- put a picture in my head of life when you aren't working at one of your many jobs.

Hmmm. When I'm not working, I am taking care of my 46 plants in the apartment, loving on my dog and my cat, spending time with my husband, cooking ( I cook every night and I love it ) and being a couch potato watching bad reality TV or some scary NETFLIX series. I also am a complete news junky, so I have to be careful not to watch the news all day in the background, because lately well.......that falls more under the realm of a bad reality TV show.

I can't wait to be able to be out and about again, go see a show, go to a restaurant or just travel somewhere. Boy, I hope we can do that soon.....

I imagine many share your sentiment. Scott, thank you so much for visiting with us today - I do believe I could talk to you for another ten questions!

BWW Feature: At Home With Scott Evan Davis

Photos provided by Scott Evan Davis


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