The Boston-based artist steps forward in their solo songwriting career
by Nan Macmillan
In August, Heather Scott released their first solo project, a dreamy indie double single that packs a punch. Honey Coated / Big Moon is the first record released under the artists own name, after nearly six years performing in the Boston-area contemporary folk duo, 'Hawthorn.' Heather has been writing since they were a tween, and told me over the phone that in the process of writing with their creative partner in Hawthorn, Taylor Holland, "I began to "develop more of my own creative process in writing. Taylor and I have always been really supportive of each other. Something that developed through that was an importance of encouraging each others’ individual processes so that we could come together as collaborators as best we could."
When Heather sings, it seems to resonate from some deep part in their chest. It could knock you off your feet, and then in the very next moment, their voice shifts to tender and intimate, as if they're sitting across the table from you in a quiet café. This fine-tuned sense of dynamics comes through in 'Honey Coated,' as they open up on the chorus, singing out the words, 'Isn't it sweet?' then coming down for the tender, playful bridge: "over over little kisses, little pills." "Honey Coated has pandemic feelings in it," they tell me, "and reflections of different relationships and things I did everyday to keep myself sane. And there’s this kind of weird juxtaposition of 'this was such a sweet moment' but are we feeding ourselves some sweet delusions to get by, and that paralleled commentary on a relationship."
Heather recorded these two songs in Parsonsfield, Maine at Great North Sound. They played guitar, sang and co-produced with Colin Fleming. The band also consisted of Justin Nash Fisher on lead guitar and keys, Marion Earley on bass and vocals and Zoë Stone on drums and vocals. When talking about what they look for in bringing people on board to record, Heather says that it's important to hire friends, that the artists commit to the time and space of recording, and that they're 'a good hang.' "Its a term I heard way back when I was starting to integrate into the Boston music scene," Heather laughs. "If a person is 'a good hang,' it means they play well with others. They’re friendly and kind and just want to be in that group space and don't want it to be their spotlight time. Everyone I picked was a good hang, everyone wanted to be there and was excited about the music and there was no power play."
We chat a little about their role as producer on this record, that malleable term that can encompass so many responsibilities, and can play out in so many different ways. Heather shares, "I did some producing in terms of direction. With the role of a producer, I’m always like 'what is that?' I don’t really know. Sometimes I think producer could be an umbrella term. So I’ve listed myself as one of the producers, but I didn’t do any of the engineering. I was there for everyone’s tracking of everything. I love to watch people work. If someone says, 'I wanna try this crazy thing,' I’m like, 'show me.' I want people to bring themselves to these sessions."
These songs are raw and honest, and the delivery and production style reflects that. They aren't perfect, in the best way. There are little moments that fall out of time, where things don't perfectly line up, and it makes you feel like you're hearing something live, or something that has been left to breathe as it is. Listening, I'm reminded of Angel Olsen, Lucius, Sheryl Crow. The songs are epic and intimate, expansive and close to home. I can't wait to hear what's next for Heather. For now, they're trying to sit in the beauty of this post-release moment and not rush off to the next thing. But, they are "working toward putting out a full length album, and would love to build a tour."
In a final reflection, Heather shares, "Both of these songs felt really brave to me to put out. And even though probably no one else will know what they’re about, they still feel vulnerable because I know what they’re about. I can get into a catastrophic mindset of “is anyone listening” or “Is the world ending”. And [I'm] turning that into a powerful catalyst to push forward and love fully and to push myself to be the person I want to be."
-written by Nan Macmillan