Freewheelin' Marc Scibilia makes a stop in Seattle
Donning a red plaid shirt and his trademark wild, curly hair, Marc Scibilia made his way over to me in the bar of Seattle's historic Columbia City Theater on Tuesday night - just about an hour before the last show of his tour with fellow Nashville-dwelling singer-songwriter Jon McLaughlin.
There are a few influences that I can hear in Marc's music - maybe a little Dylan, some Springsteen - but he definitely has a style that’s all his own. What I appreciate about him, is his consideration and thought in terms of the impact of his music and how much he values honesty.
If you go to one of his shows, you may hear the story about how he moved from his hometown in Buffalo, NY to Nashville, TN to pursue music just after high school against the advice of people he knew (who said, “go to college!”). Though it sounds like it hasn’t always been easy, living in Nashville has turned out well so far. “Nashville is a great city. I think it’s one of the greatest cities to live in because of the people. Southern hospitality is a real thing.”
Seems to me like Marc fits right in with the hospitality in “The Music City.” He’s really personable and I very much enjoyed chatting with him about what his songwriting process typically looks like. “I generally have some pretty good luck writing songs when I’m in places like New York City,” he shared, “places that feel electric.”
“People ask where songs come from or what inspires them, but for me, there’s not really a good answer to that. I could be taking a left turn, stuck at a red light and all of the sudden I’ll hear the entire chorus of a song.”
“I’ll record the ideas, so when I’m sitting down, I’m rarely starting from scratch. Most of the time, I’m going through my ideas that I’ve had at red lights and trying decipher whether they’re good or not - most of the time they’re not, so that’s the good part [laughs]…but sometimes they’re awesome and I try to make a song out of something like that. It’s a lot like rain clouds gathering; they just kind of gather and gather until eventually it rains - sometimes a little bit, sometimes a lot.”
I shared that one of my favorite songs is a track called “Better Man” off of his latest record, <em>Out of Style</em>. I love that it is simple, but still strong. “It is super simple. I’m so glad that you found that song. I’m really not trying to prove my intelligence to anyone with what I do, I’m just trying to be myself. I’m trying to say the things that feel the most honest to me.”
“The way of record labels and the way music is distributed or not distributed - sometimes people don’t get to hear the best songs on an album. And I think that’s probably one of the best songs on the album. It’s one of those that a large record company might not pay as much attention to it, but I wanted to do something for it."
Being on a record label is something that Marc is familiar with and his experience with a label has certainly had an impact on him. “I was on Capitol Records and then my imprint on Capitol closed about a week after my album came out.” He shared, “It’s definitely not the best case scenario. If I was writing my own story, I probably wouldn’t have written it like that - I would’ve had a wildly massive success and I’d be crowd-surfing every night. That’s not my life, but I’m making new fans one by one and making even more friends all across the country and I’m not going to stop any time soon.”
And thank goodness for that!
I really admire and appreciate that Marc is definitely in it for the music and the impact that it has on people. The overal sound of <em>Out of Style</em> feels very positive. And, though Marc insists that it wasn’t an overtly intentional thing, he enjoys feeling that positivity when he performs the tracks on tour.
“Performing live and being around people gives me energy. At a certain point I get tired if I’ve been on tour for months, but every night when I play for people I feel very positive. To me, it’s the most real form of communication.” He continued, “It’s like someone who works with governments and hospitals all around the world - if they just work on a research level; at some point, it’s really good to see what your research and what all the things you’re learning actually do for people. For me, being on the road is the place where I see if all those emotions that I thought I was creating in the studio actually work for people and work for me live.”
So, what’s inspiring Marc now that this tour is wrapping up? “I’ve been working with some really amazing people. I’m working with a couple of amazing producers. One guy that I’ve been collaborating with is Blake Healy. We just did a remix of my song “Jericho” that will come out soon. Traveling is really inpsiring. I feel like I’m 18 again because I’ve been just getting on planes and going to cities and hanging out with friends in New York.”
“I’m totally free-wheeling in every sense of the word. I’m thinking about picking up my stuff and living in New York for a couple months. I really don’t have many responsibilities right now. I work really hard at what I do, but as far as things that hold me in one place - I would say my pitbull lab is probably the most stationary thing in my life. I’m going to take advantage of it and work on a new album, travel around the country and maybe the world.