Naomi released her debut EP “Invisible Division” in 2014. From this the song “Hear the Bells” was used for DeLeón Tequila’s North American digital advertising campaign, which premiered and was frequently showcased during AMC’s Mad Men. Earlier that year, Naomi revealed the songs “Fool” (premiered by Noisey) and “Lover’s Lies” (featured on The 405) from her second EP, “Promises.” “Vows” marks a turn in her music career, blending a strong personal theme with intense bouts of creative freedom and a fresh sound. We sat down with Naomi, to hear more about her tour, the joys of writing music, and the overlapping worlds of music and film.
Elena Stanciu: You have an impressive career as an actress and I´m guessing most of us have come to know you initially from your films. When did you start making music, and what prompted you to pursue it?
Naomi Scott: First of all, thanks! I'm trying. I think what a lot of people don't know about me is that music is where it all started. Music is my first love, what inspires me and ultimately what I feel like I'm meant to be doing. But timing is everything. The last few years have just been a journey towards finding my voice musically and being able to do that on my own terms. I've learnt to be patient and see that as a blessing, rather than wanting a quick fix by jumping on whatever is hot at one particular moment. I'm so excited for this new music coming because I feel it's my time to put my stake in the ground and say: “I'm here to stay.”
ES: How do you balance/compare working on films and on your music – in terms of creative freedom, your personal involvement and satisfaction?
NS: Ah yes, the key word – balance. I take everything step by step and goals and a clear vision of what I want to accomplish. I´ve learnt flexibility is crucial, in order to get there. In terms of movies vs. music, it´s interesting because when I'm filming a movie, the ultimate responsibility lies with the director or studio. There's something nice about coming in, doing your job and then letting the rest take care of itself. With music of course I am completely independent, it's just us (my team). It's my responsibility, it's definitely more personal and more intense; there's nothing like the feeling of achievement of seeing something you've created from beginning, in its entirety.
ES: What do you borrow from your acting experience to apply in writing your music, and vice versa?
NS: Honestly, I think we are all products of our influences and experiences. Music or acting influenced one another, and I can often trace this influence. By being on a film set, I learn how to assert myself when I need to; I learn how to deal with rejection, when it occurs. I've grown in confidence in terms of how I see myself and what I can bring to the table, which is what probably influences the way I make music. In general, I think it´s about getting to a place where you're confident enough that you know your product is good, but you just have to learn the politics that surround it.
ES: What inspired “Vows”? What role does it play in your career as a music artist?
NS: “Vows” is the most personal song I've written to date. It actually happened one day I was trying all these new plug-ins and creating all these weird sounds and just hit a brick wall. I called Jordan, my husband, and he just simply said to me: "Get off the computer, get in front of the piano and just write a song." I did, I sat at the piano and it just flowed out of me, the lyrics, the melody, it was so easy, which is not always the case.
“Vows” is about this beautiful crazy thing we call marriage, two incompatible people learning to live compatibly. Sometimes it's not a feeling that keeps two people together, but the vows you made to one another. It's not always a warm fuzzy feeling. Sometimes it´s a choice, sometimes, a fight, but for me, that tethering is what makes it all the more beautiful.
ES: Some of the video work for “Vows” was shot in Japan. What was that like? What was it about Japan that resonated with this record – visually, in terms of moods and feelings?
NS: There are a few different themes in the video. One being communication, and how in our relationships we can be saying the same thing but it´s as if we're speaking two completely different languages (hence the Japanese subtitles). On a more personal note, another point we explore is how long distance can really put a strain on a relationship. Ultimately, just like I physically get on a plane and go home, I always find my way back to him.
ES: Your upcoming UK tour will also be your first solo tour. How do you feel about it? What should your fans expect?
NS: I'm very excited about my first UK tour! I'm excited for people to hear new music, some of which delves into the realms of Neo-soul. It's definitely going to be a vibe, and I'm going into rehearsals soon, which is where I can really get into the nitty-gritty of what works, what doesn't. There´s nothing quite like the feeling of performing to a live audience. I can't wait.
ES: What are you working on at the moment? Any future collaborations?
NS: I think collaboration is essential. It's funny I say this, because up until now, I have kind of written and arranged all my music. But I love the idea of seeing what happens when two different creative minds collide. I'm excited about spending some time in the studio working with different talented writers and producers. It may not always be the right fit, but it forces me to be better, make better music and when we hit that sweet spot, that´s where the gold is.
ES: What´s your favourite music score written for film?
NS: Easy: “The Holiday” soundtrack by Hans Zimmer. I walked down the aisle to one of the tracks.
Words: Elena Stanciu
Photography: Nadine Ijewere from PETRIe 68 'Not Your Savage' cover story.