LIANE HANSEN, host:
Now an update on a story we brought to you last fall on our program for our series on music and technology. We broadcast a feature about the pitch correcting software called Auto-Tune. Don't worry, we're not going to subject you to another dose of my rendition of "Take It to the Limit."
But at the time, we did hear from many of you who wanted to hear much more from an artist we ran into at Avatar Studios, where she was laying down tracks for her debut recording.
(Soundbite of song, "A New View")
Ms. SABRINA SCOTT (Singer): (Singing) If life is heyday, I haven't wiped it clean 'cause I've been living, never saying what I mean...
HANSEN: It was just a rough mix we played on the air at the time, but now the music is polished up and 23-year-old Sabrina Scott has released her four-song collection called "A New View."
(Soundbite of song, "A New View")
Ms. SCOTT: (Singing) Took my bike out and I rode it to the shore past my old house, but I don't live there anymore and though I miss it, I'm not the girl I was before. I need a new view, something whole and something good. I need a new view...
HANSEN: Sabrina Scott joins us from our New York bureau. Hi, Sabrina. It's nice to catch up with you.
Ms. SCOTT: Hi, Liane. It's so nice to be here. Thank you.
HANSEN: Well, we have to get rid of the elephant in the room. Did you use much Auto-Tune on this?
Ms. SCOTT: Well, no. The truth is when you're making an album like this one or an EP, you want to find a marriage between the aesthetic quality of the songs and the authenticity of the artist's voice, and in my case, this voice. So, yes, if we had a take where we captured the emotion of the song and we expressed what we were hoping to express, but there were one or two notes out of key that needed fixing, you know, because the software is there, we used it. But other than that we stayed really true to who I was as an artist and the voice that I wanted to present.
HANSEN: Now, it must've been very expensive to spend a day recording at Avatar. And you're still unsigned. I mean, you've released the recording independently.
Ms. SCOTT: I have, yes.
HANSEN: CD Baby, iTunes, Amazon and like that. How did you get your career going?
Ms. SCOTT: Well, I have to say a huge thank you to my producer and to my mentor and to my dear friend, Diane Scanlon. Because really my career began at 16 years old in the studio of her apartment in New York City. I had written a few songs and we made a demo together. And Diane promised me that when I finished college, if I still wanted to make a record, that she would make it with me.
And so the day that I graduated, I called Diane on the phone and I said, I'm ready. And she very wonderfully took me under her wing and helped to produce this EP and to make the record with me. So that's how it all got started.
HANSEN: Where did the money come from?
Ms. SCOTT: The money came from many years of savings, from babysitting and internships and the kindness of my grandparents and parents in certain cases. So I was very lucky to have the support of everyone in my family.
(Soundbite of song, "Nostalgia for the Future")
Ms. SCOTT: (Singing) It's nostalgia for the future, it's the sound of what's to come. It's the music of tomorrow when the melody is (unintelligible)…
HANSEN: Tell us a little bit about the songs that you've written on this collection, because they're so optimistic. I mean, there's even one called "Nostalgia for the Future," I think is the title.
Ms. SCOTT: Yeah.
HANSEN: Yeah. It's very hopeful.
Ms. SCOTT: It is hopeful, and I think that was a combination of where I was as a person at the time and the atmosphere of our country and the world even. I was graduating from New York University, so my mind and my heart were filled with thoughts of what's next, who am I becoming, who do I want to be, you know, what do I want to do on this planet in the short time that I have here.
And then I was also making this EP and writing the songs in the larger shadow of the presidential election and everything going on around me. And there was this collective feeling, particularly over the past year, that we were moving forward, that we were moving towards something new and something unknown for better and for worse. And it was that probing into the future, if you will, that inspired me to write the songs on the record.
HANSEN: You received a degree in ethnicity studies and South Asian literature from New York University?
Ms. SCOTT: I did. I was in Gallatin School at New York University, which is a create-your-own major. And I majored in ethnicity and international studies, human rights and then South Asian literature.
HANSEN: So, what is it you plan to do with that degree?
Ms. SCOTT: For the past few years, actually, and also in high school, I've been working with refugees. So I hope to continue to do literacy and creative arts programming to create a bridge because I believe that there is one between my music and the creative side of me.
HANSEN: So, in other words, if you manage to make a profit on your music, you would use it for your social work?
Ms. SCOTT: Absolutely. I'm 100 percent committed to using profits from the album, from album sales and from my career as a singer and a songwriter to using them towards the programs that I want to create in literacy and creative arts.
HANSEN: You're going to be performing this fall in the New York Songwriters Circle Showcase?
Ms. SCOTT: I am. I just got the wonderful news.
HANSEN: Now, it's for up-and-coming talent and it's at the Bitter End.
Ms. SCOTT: Yes, which is a legendary venue, so I'm it's an honor to be there.
HANSEN: Has it been a dream for you to play there?
Ms. SCOTT: It has been. I was actually born on Mercer Street and West 4th, and I would often accompany my parents as I got older. And then a few times had seen the New York Songwriters Circle and I always would turn to my father and say one day, one day I will be on that stage. So it's truly a dream come true.
(Soundbite of song, "Let Me Know")
Ms. SCOTT: (Singing) Graduation passed, in my cap and gown, I guess I'm not the first to ask where I'm going now.
The last song on the album, which was "Let Me Know," which was actually the first song that I wrote, it's about graduation. I wrote it just after I had finished NYU. If someone had tapped me on the shoulder and said, here's a glimpse, you know, I will let you know this is what it will look like a year from now, you'll be on NPR and you'll have the record, I probably wouldn't have believed them. So it's a dream come true that is beyond my wildest imagination.
HANSEN: Sabrina Scott. Her debut four-song collection, "A New View," is available as a download or CD purchase through CD Baby, iTunes or Amazon. And she joined us from our New York bureau. Sabrina, thanks and much luck to you.
Ms. SCOTT: Thank you so much, Liane.
(Soundbite of song, "Let Me Know")
Ms. SCOTT: (Singing) Let me know, what if I wake up tomorrow and I'm not who want to be. Let me know. You got to let me know. What if I look in the mirror and I don't like what I see? Just let me know. It's never easy. Let me know, oh, let me know. Graduation passed.
HANSEN: You can hear full songs from Sabrina Scott's new album at NPRMusic.org.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Liane Hansen.
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