Tom Phillips speaks to Scarlet Baxter, an upcoming singer who shows great promise, having already worked with the producers of artists like Usher, Chris Brown and Britney Spears.
When did you first start singing?
I’ve literally been singing since I was, like born (laughs). Always singing, that was all I used to do. But I only started songwriting two years ago because I’ve been training all my life in youth theatre. It was after then that I realised that I wanted to go down a different route of the performing side, to write my own songs and be an artist. The first year, I met my guitarist and we thought “ok, we’ll go around and do some gigs, a few covers” and then I was like, “this is definitely what I want to do now”. And it all started to fall into place, where I wanted to be and what path I wanted to go down. That year was realising and then second year was just loads of hard work.
How did the places you lived when you grew up affect your music?
I grew up all my life in a really small town in the country, in Northamptonshire. I went to a completely normal secondary school in the town. All my friends weren’t interested in what I was interested in. I was the singer and all my friends didn’t want to do all that sort of stuff. When I was 16, I had the opportunity to go to a really good theatre school and I had to board there for two years. I moved away to do what I wanted to do. And then when I was 18 I got into one of the big musical schools in London. I graduated and realised that I didn’t want to do it anymore, I wanted to do singing and to be my own artist.
Who are your musical inspirations?
This is such a hard question because my inspirations change daily. The people I grew up listening to, the sound I’m trying to make, is all the nineties R&B. I love that, like Plan B, Jermaine and all the R&B soul classics like Lauryn Hill, I love her, she’s amazing.
“I’m just about the music. I want people to be able to relate more to sounds.”
How has it been working with the producers of stars of the music industry like Usher and Britney Spears?
It was so surreal. In Glasgow in one of the famous studios, the producers there had worked with Chris Brown, Usher etc… But yeah, it was so surreal; when I was little, I used to sing along to their songs and now I’m in a studio working with people that wrote those songs. When I was recording there were facts in the studio saying how many hits they’d got. It was amazing. Me and my guitarist couldn’t stop asking questions because we wanted to know what the people were like that they had worked with, like finding out about Michael Jackson.
What is a typical week like for you at the moment? Do you have to balance your music with other commitments?
My music is the absolute main priority. I live in London and that is difficult because you get a job and then you can’t work those hours because you have to fly to Glasgow and work in a studio and write music. It’s hard to find that balance. At the moment I need money because I’m in London but I can’t get a regular kind of job because I constantly need time off for my music. But it’s a challenge I’ve got to take on board and I knew it was going to be that case. Everybody goes through this phase and one day when I get where I want to be I’ll be glad that I went through it. Even though I’m out of money it’s going to conquer my dreams.
Do you have plans for more material after Stuck’s December release? Perhaps a debut album in the near future?
Yes. I’m actually flying to Glasgow next Sunday to work. My guitarist’s coming along, he’s not just my guitarist but my co-writer and helps write songs with me. He has a very different take on music to how I do which is good. It’s important to write songs and write music with so many people in the business, it’s not just ‘oh Scarlet wrote this song.’ We’re planning to write two or three more songs next week and then have another release in January and hopefully after that we will try and build up more songs. There’s no debut album at the moment. I just want to keep going back to the studio to have more and more material and maybe eventually an EP.
What are the main messages that you try to give out in your songs?
At the moment I don’t go for a message directly, I’m just about the music. I want people to be able to relate more to sounds. I like to write songs that are nostalgic, I suppose that is a message in a way. I want people of my age, or any age, but especially around my age, to be like ‘oh my god I remember that sort of sound in the nineties.’ That’s a nostalgic sort of message.
If you could dabble in another genre, what would that genre be?
That’s a good question, I’ve never had that one. That’s really hard… Maybe rock, I’d go rock. I think I could lend my voice to that kind of thing. I like jumping around on stage anyway. Proper like dirty guitar sounds. Yeah rock, definitely rock.
Do you have any advice for aspiring singers?
My advice is literally stick with your dream. It is a slow, long process. It takes a long time and you should be really patient. Eventually you will get it. Positive thinking, you will get to where you want to be if you can keep going and keep pushing for it.