Marlee Scott remembers how she "accidentally" discovered country music.
"I flipped over to the local country station and 'Mountain Music' by Alabama was playing -- and it just had that twang," she said on a recent visit to CMT.com. "That is such a country song. It was something new and fresh for me. I just fell in love with it."
Scott grew up in Canada, although she now lives in Nashville to build her country career. Her latest single, "Train Wreck," is from a new album due this spring. The upbeat song (which features Vince Gill on harmony) captures the essence of a really bad date.
In 2011, Scott visited more than 100 radio stations in the U.S. and Canada in support of "Train Wreck" and plans on continuing her nationwide radio tour in 2012. While visiting CMT, Scott shared her experiences as a new country singer, the encouragement she received from her parents and one memorably bad date that ended with a bloody nose.
CMT: Did you ever have that moment when you're driving and hear yourself on the radio?
Scott: Last year, it was about June, I think. I was out in Norfolk, Va., and that was the first time I heard my song being played in the United States. And it was so cool. Everybody dreams of that moment, and it was definitely a great feeling. I remember it being a very long drive that day and it was dark out and I was half asleep. So it was neat to turn on this fuzzy radio station and go, "Oh, that's me on the radio!"
You visited more than 100 radio stations last year to promote "Train Wreck." How did that help you find a broader audience?
You know, I think that reaching out to radio, visiting these people and getting to know them and establishing a relationship is so important. It's like anything in life. If you're going to be working with somebody, you want to know them on some sort of level. I love meeting people. I love going out there, and it's so much fun to play for people and play these songs and get their reactions. ... It's fun because everywhere is different and you never know what to expect.
Do you have any personal experiences with bad dates?
Yes, I do. I had a very bad date. I was about 15 or 16, and he was my first kind of real boyfriend, where we were like 'going steady.' He took me out. We went to a movie, we got to my place and he parked in the driveway. He was acting all funny, and he started crying and said, 'I feel like you're going to break up with me. You don't like me anymore.' Then his nose started bleeding, and I was like, 'No!' I didn't know what to do. I was horrified because I really did want to break up with him. When you're 15 or 16, you don't know. You're like, "Is this normal?" You have no idea. So I did end up breaking up with him a few weeks later. I actually have one other guy, too. He went to break up with me and brought me fudge before he dumped me. Like, "I don't want to be with you anymore, but here's some candy!"
What do you hope listeners will take away from this song?
I hope it brings back memories of bad dates and old boyfriends and old girlfriends. For me, it's fun to reminisce about that. At the time, it was very awkward and very awful to go through, but now, I have a great story. I think that with "Train Wreck," everybody's been through that. And if they haven't, they know someone who has and they've heard about it. If they can take that away from the song and just go with it and have a good time with it, that's really important.
Vince Gill is featured on the song. How did he get involved?
I have a very good manager. He's known Vince for a long time, and he approached him about working on the song. We had thought, "You know, this would have such a cool vibe if it had Vince on the song." It was just an idea. I thought it would never happen, but he asked him. Vince listened to the song and got back to my manager and said, "Yeah, I liked the song, I like her voice. Let's do it." So he went in the studio and sang the harmonies and did a fantastic job. It's just one of those "pinch me" moments.
How have your parents and family been throughout your early career?
My parents are so supportive. I wouldn't be doing this if I didn't have my parents behind me, giving me all of the strength that they give me and helping me through this. They are so supportive, and no matter what I want to do, they say, "Do it! If that's your dream, you pursue it." If I had wanted to become a doctor, they would've said, "Go be a doctor." So to be a singer, they said, "If that's what you want to do, go fulfill your dreams."
Do your parents wish they lived down here with you?
They love it here, and so they do come and visit. Again, I'm so lucky that they're able to come and visit me a fair bit. They miss me, I miss them, and I miss Canada and my friends and family back there, but this is where I need to be. Nashville is Music City, and they don't call it that for nothing.