''I listened to amazing singers when I grew up,'' Jamie Scott says, citing Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye and Donny Hathaway.
In fact, listening to such soul greats intimidated Scott. The 27-year-old from England didn't initially pursue a singing career in the music industry. ''All I wanted to do was write music," he says, "because that's what I was comfortable doing."
(Photo by MarinaChavez)
One listen to his sweet tenor and gorgeous falsetto and you'll understand why Sony Music, upon hearing his early demos a decade ago, signed him up as a singer and not just a songwriter.
And once he started singing in public, he was hooked too.
''A lot of people gave me an amazing reaction and I thought, 'oh, this is cool,''' he says.
But only now, after years of label struggles, is Scott getting proper attention, as the lead singer and songwriter for the new neo-soul/pop band Graffiti6. A collaboration with music producer Tommy D, Graffiti6's debut album Colours has just been released (see review, page 50).
The band, whose name, Scott explains, stems from ''just pointing at two random words in the book and putting them together,'' merges Scott's soul and folk influences and Tommy D's hip hop and dance leanings, creating an eclectic but cohesive sound. ''We kind of meet in the middle a little bit [with] rock,'' says Scott.
Graffiti6 opens for the Coldplay-esque American band Augustana next Friday, Feb. 4, at the 9:30 Club. ''We're playing as a full [five-member] band, so the show's pretty loud, electric,'' Scott says, a contrast to last fall's concert at DC9, when it was just Scott and Tommy D. "It's basically going to sound a lot more like the album.''
Scott says Colours ''is not necessarily a breakup album,'' though concedes the songs reflect a time when he was getting over an ex. ''It's [about] the growing of a soul and of a person when a big change happens to you, and the way that it changes you for the better.'' '
Graffit6 appears Friday, Feb. 4 at the Nightclub 9:30, 815 V St. NW. Doors at 8 p.m. Tickets are $20. Call 202-265-0930 or visit 930.com.