ZOE SCOTT Talks BOSSANOVA

By Frank Bell

International recording artist Zoe Scott presents her 12-song Bossa Nova debut Shades of Love. Produced by Moogie Canazio, known for his all-analog recording style, which earned him 10 GRAMMY and two Emmy Awards, this meticulously curated collection of reimagined songs made famous by legendary artists and set to Bossa Nova arrangements sets a tone for romance and love.

I hope that you all feel the wild passion of Brazil with my beautiful British spin. 

We sat down with the bossa nova singer to find out more..

What’s it been like to continue releasing music during quarantine? How has it differed from your regular practice?

I wanted to put my album out during this pandemic because it is an album that heals people through music and features wonderful musicians from Brazil sharing their talent and magic, we made it with all our hearts! So much love is needed in the world right now as we have experienced so much loss and isolation. My hope is my album Shades of Love will bring some soothing balm to these troubled times. 

In terms of having a big record release party or having live events to promote the album, this just simply was not an option. It has been complex pulling assets together like video, album cover, etc. we could not pull together large crews to make it all happen. Having said this ‘necessity is the mother of invention’ and ultimately, I had the opportunity to work with people who may not normally have been available like James Chressanthis who is an excellent, world class cinematographer. James filmed my video Quiet Nights and documentary The Making of Shades of Love. James and his bare bone crew rolled up their sleeves and filmed in masks to get the visual elements of the album out. 

It has been both frustrating and challenging but also inspiring as we took the lemons and made lemonade. It is part of the creative process to focus on developing raw talent no matter what is happening in life and taking those moments and running with them. 

Releasing Shades of Love marked a significant change in your career’s direction. How did you feel to approach music as Bossa Nova instead of Rock? How has the reception been from your fanbase?

Stepping into the genre of Bossa Nova, which is melodically complex, meant I had to totally retrain my voice. This was both exciting and challenging for me. I worked very hard and with Bossa Nova I took a much more intimate approach to the beautiful songs I chose to sing. When I went to Rio and saw the finest jazz players in the world laying down the tracks for the songs it was overwhelming to think that I had to then record the vocals. However, I fell so madly in love with the music and the legendary spirit of Antonio Carlos Jobim became such a muse to me that I just threw myself into the deep end and started swimming. With my amazing producer Moogie Canazio’s guidance I tapped into a more intimate and heartfelt sultry vocal that hopefully comes through in the album. I loved trying something totally different. Moogie would say to me “sing softer, get behind the lyric” and with his guidance I found my sweet spot in Bossa Nova. So many fans have loved the fact that at this difficult time I put out an album that has such heart and soul in it. I have had a huge amount of support from my fanbase and that means the world to me. 

You breathe new life into so many well-loved tunes on Shades of Love. How did it feel to tackle and put your own spin on such classic and beloved songs?

It is a daunting feeling to start with when you choose to sing such classic beloved songs. I wondered if I could bring an authentic new rendition to the songs. I decided to only choose to sing songs I was really in love with. What worked best for me was to make the songs autobiographic. While working on the songs I would find someone in my life or a moment in my life I could step into and sing the song from a personal place within me and then the songs became like a second skin to me. Until I found that second skin, I didn’t feel like I was totally in the songs but once I felt like I was with the lyric singing to someone I loved I would swoon into the vocal I delivered and the beautiful orchestration that was done gives these time-honored classic songs a new home in Bossa Nova. 

What gave you the idea for Dance the Wave of Love? How has dancing and movement figured in your career previously?

With Covid-19 looming for so long I became frustrated by the fact that I could not travel or take my band out to play live. I wanted to find a place for my music to live in the world and in the midst of my frustration with Covid-19 I had the idea to find beautiful dancers to dance originally in New York. My team made it happen, we filmed two wonderful dancers one dancing to My Cherie Amore and one to The More I See You. They were fabulous! I asked the choreographer I was working with to find dancers in London as I wanted to connect with and support artists in my hometown. He found two exceptional dancers Matt Harris and Tanya Foy and when I saw what they did I got so inspired I asked my team to find dancers in Rome, my favorite place in the world! It was delightful to see all the dancers dancing to the songs on the album. We invited more dancers and the project gained momentum and it has been such a beautiful experience to have these world class dancers dance to the songs of my album around the world. We went as far as Perth in Australia! I had the chance to speak with some of the dancers they said this was the first time they worked in months and how much they needed the work and were happy to be dancing to these songs and this made me so happy that we could support them in these hard times. 

What is the one thing you would like listeners to take away from this album?

While listening to the album I would like my listeners to have a feeling of love and healing! I’d love for everyone to really tap into the eternal love that is timeless and here for us all to enjoy and experience and to find inspiration in the world. I hope people feel my joy in creating the album and get in touch with the eternal spirit of love. I went on a romantic journey to experience all the Shades of Love and I hope everyone comes along with me on this journey when they listen to the album. May it invoke feeling of inspiration, love, soothing and may we all remember that despite the fact that we are facing challenging times love is eternal and love will always light the way. 

And of course, I hope the listener experiences the genre of Brazilian jazz and all its magnificence. Moogie Canazio my producer has told me a Bossa Nova album has not been produced to this level in many years. I hope that you all feel the wild passion of Brazil with my beautiful British spin. 

©FM