Scott MacIntyre calls it the “hook line.”
It’s that nice, little compact line in a song that reels you in. Makes you start humming it when you are in the car, or worse yet, singing it when you are in the shower.
If you watched American Idol at all in Season 8 you already know Scott’s story. He’s about 99.9 percent blind. Can’t get from Point A to Point B without help. He went through kidney failure and finally, a little over two years ago, received a new lease on life via a kidney transplant.
And now he has a college degree, a new CD, a Top 10 finish on Idol and he’s about to finish a book (tentatively titled “Keep The Faith”) and head to Japan for a couple of Tour engagements.
Scott doesn’t have a bad “hook line” himself.
After finishing eighth and getting the boot off the show last year, he came to realize one thing.
“Yes, I have said that the best part of American Idol is getting kicked off the show,” MacIntyre said last Friday in a phone interview from Los Angeles. “I was sad for about an hour and then I realized it was the beginning of the rest of my career. I quickly knew what I wanted ot do and what my focus was going to be.When the American Idot Tour ended I didn’t want to waste one minute cause this was a very special gift that the fans had given me.”
There are 12 songs on his new CD – “Heartstrings” – and Scott wrote them all. Fairly daunting task, but more than that he never has cut a deal with a major record label so he became the artist and the recording studio all at the same time.
“I had this date on the show (American Idol last Thursday) and I wanted to get something out there for the fans before that so I released it as an independent. I didn’t want to go on the most popular show in the world and not have something out there,” he explained.
“I started to feel like the president of a record label. I was up until 3 and 4 in the morning. But staying independent allowed me to maintain control of everything and get out the product that I wanted. I think I have become a case study for the independent artist. It’s been crazy, but I’m all about breaking barriers and breaking paradigms.”
Writing the songs has been a work in progress for him. Like the chicken or the egg sequence, it all came down to what came first – the lyrics or the music.
“Initially, I did the music first,” he explained, “and then I’d try to fit the lyrics to it. But I very quickly discovered that that didn’t work that well. If you have to do one before the other then you should do the poetry and have the lyrics finished before you do the music. Once you have the music, you are kinda limited to how many syllables you can use.
“Nowadays the first thing that comes to me is the hook line. I was in a cab in London and I thought of the first track of the album and it just kinda came and that was the starting point. I work at it and take it like a thesis and the song is what the course is gonna be about and where I want to go with the song.
“After a while it became a little bit formulaic. So you get to the point where you can deliver an emotional song that means something to the listener. It’s quite a feat to have people come up to you and say your music has meant something to them.”
Whatever MacIntyre did with his CD it must have worked because then he checked earlier this week and …”Heartstrings was No. 19 on the ITunes pop album chart right in front of Lady Gaga and right behind Kris Allen. It’s amazing,” he admitted.
The American Idol Tour, which took him and nine other AI finalists on a 52-city excursion of the U.S. and Canada and ended late last summer, certainly met his expectations.
“It really did turn out to be the experience of a lifetime. I wasn’t disappointed with anything,” he said. “I know you always think about touring in arenas like that. I actually did that when I was 6 or 7 years old, trying to picture what it would be like to play in front of that many people. And actually getting to do it was amazing. You’d think it would fall short a little bit, but it didn’t. I tried to be realistic in my expectations and it was what I thought it would be.
“And right after the Tour I did a benefit show with Alice Cooper. I brought out my leather and my studs. It was quite a sight,” he said with a laugh.
His thoughts on American Idol, then and now:
– “I got to meet some of the contestents (Thursday night) and to share my passion with them. It was nice to be there without the pressure. They were very nervous, unusually nervous.”
– “This year has been odd. We are still waiting for some of these guys and girls to jump on that stage with both feet. At some point you sit down with yourself and say what kind of an artist do I want to be. I knew that when I auditioned for the show what I wanted to be when I left it.”
– “I wasn’t shocked that Kris (Allen) beat Adam (Lambert). Of course, I didn’t know who was going to win, but I always told people it’s probably not gonna be who you expect.”
– “On one level AI is a popularity contest. But the comments of the judges are critical. If Simon nails you, you are done. He had a lot of nice things to say about me.”
– On Adam’s AMA show performance: “I don’t want to comment too much on that. But I will say I was not surprised. We all knew exactly what you guys didn’t know until that performance. That is who he was all along.”
By the way, if you are interested in reading more about Scott, or purchasing his CD you can get it on ITunes or on his website scottmacintyre.com