Singer-songwriter Scott Tyler Schwartz recently released his debut solo album, Everything Short Of A Miracle, a search for individual and mystical inner peace that’s also pragmatic and prepares for disappointment.
As the frontman for The Shadowboxers, Schwartz expanded his artistry while working in the studio with pop superstar Justin Timberlake, who included the band in his performances, including the “Man of the Woods” tour.
When the pandemic arrived, Schwartz decided to involve himself in a solo project, one that has spanned three years of writing and recording, culminating in Everything Short Of A Miracle, a record highlighted by Schwartz’s evocative falsetto.
The album probes the life of the protagonist, who is resolute in his desire to find love, emotional affinity, and significance. Through his gift for revealing the experiences and emotions of ordinary people, Schwartz relates a story that’s authentic and relevant.
V13 spoke with Scott Tyler Schwartz to discuss his inspiration, how the album took shape, and his viewpoint of success.
Why do you make music?
Scott Tyler Schwartz: “Light answer: because it’s fun. Heavy answer: because I have to.”
What inspired your debut album, Everything Short of a Miracle?
“Being in The Shadowboxers, being a co-writer, being a rhythm guitar player, I have learned how to express my creative vision as a part of a collective. I was curious to find out what my voice sounded like without anyone else’s input. And as I began writing and recording, I realized that I had something to say.”
Walk us through your mindset as you entered the studio to record the album.
“Let’s just record your acoustic guitar and a vocal for this song you just wrote. Good. Now write another song and do the same thing. Good. And again. Good. Now let’s add bass and piano and strings and background vocals and all these other parts we hear, just to fill out the sound. Good. Wait a second… is this an album?”
Is there a song on the album that’s more personal to you than the others? If so, which one and why?
“Right now, yes. ‘Parents.’ It’s also the most universal song on the album (‘parents/we’ve all got ’em/and they’ve sure got us’). Funny how that works. It’s just written from my exact vantage point at the moment.”
How did you get started in music?
“Guitar lessons in the first grade. Then singing along to the songs I was learning on guitar.”
What motivated you to pursue a solo project?
“I fear regret and unfulfilled potential, and I knew that despite The Shadowboxers and the awesome work that we’ve done over the years, I had more to give. And I wanted to try to do so in different, less comfortable ways.”
Are there any special recording techniques you use in the studio?
“I try to get my point across in as few words as possible, so sometimes I like to use a full-sounding instrument that holds the weight of the chordal information, build around it, and then remove it. Oftentimes it creates implied moments that allow listeners to use their imagination.”
What is your definition of tone? And has your tone changed over time?
“If pitch is hitting the notes, tone is how you make them feel. Over time, I think I’ve explored my lower register and learned how to add a little more weight to it since my voice is naturally sweet and light.”
How do you keep your sound consistent on stage?
“As long as it’s me up there, I think it’ll be consistent enough.”
What inspires your writing? Do you draw inspiration from poems, music, or other media?
“Everything is a potential song. A common misconception is that lofty ideas have to come from lofty places, but it’s not true. One of the songs on my album came to me while I was looking at a statue of a giraffe.”
What is your definition of success?
“Feeling like I got whatever is inside of me out. For me, measuring my success using external metrics isn’t helpful. The industry keeps changing and my needs and realities keep changing, and things that I may have wanted in the past I no longer want. But one thing that has always been constant is my need to make music and exercise this muscle that I have. I have never in my life not wanted to do that.”
Which artists, in your opinion, are killing it right now?
“Jon Bellion, Noah Kahan, Kenyon Dixon, Larkin Poe.”
What can your fans look forward to over the next six months from you? Music videos? Live gigs?
“This music is meant to be played live, and I want to honour that, so stay tuned for some shows.”