America voted off Scott MacIntyre last week on American Idol and Simon Cowell chose not to give him a pass and keep him in the competition. We got to participate in an interview the next day where Scott MacIntyre opened up about his experiences on the show and what his future holds.
Question: What have you learned from your experience on American Idol?
Scott MacIntyre: I really learned that, number one, I worked more quickly than I ever thought I could. There’s a very fast paced atmosphere involved with Idol and preparing new songs each week, sometimes a couple songs, because of the group number and because of other things going on in the midst of shopping and the Ford shoots and mentor shoots. It’s quite crazy and it’s really taught me to budget my time extremely well, and that’s something I’ll carry with me the rest of my life.
I’ve also learned that anything is possible. I never dreamed that I would be in the top eight of American Idol when I was following the show a couple years ago and now here I am. It’s an amazing opportunity and the experiences I’ve had over the last couple weeks will never be duplicated again.
Question: What did you see in yourself that made you feel like you could be America’s next American Idol?
Scott MacIntyre: From the very beginning I’ve felt like I have a story to share through my music. Because of my life story and what I’ve overcome, I felt like it would have been a shame not to share that with the world. And Idol’s given me the platform I’ve been hoping for in that I’m able to connect with so many people and so many people know what I’ve been through now and can hopefully be inspired by that. If I can get to this point out of almost 110,000 auditioners and end up in eighth place, I hope it encourages everyone to reach for their dreams. I hope it encourages people never to give up.
Question: How tough was it when you’re standing there and two people want you to stay, two didn’t, and you just had to stand and wait, what did that feel like?
Scott MacIntyre: I was actually very thrilled to know that it was a split decision between the four judges and it was nice knowing that the decision wasn’t unanimous. And even talking to Simon after the show I sensed that there was some inner turmoil in him making that decision and whatnot. So that was very nice for me to walk away with and I stand by my performance on Tuesday night.
You never know what the judges are going to say, but I think if people watch the performance back, especially in the context of everything else that went on that night, it was a good, solid performance. It’s a television show, I always remind myself, so you can never expect the unexpected, and if the chips would have fallen a little differently I think I could have gone on for a number of weeks. But it’s a great time for me to leave the competition, because now I get to focus on life and my music career after Idol and I’m so excited for a number of reasons.
First of all, I get to partake in the tour. I’ve been dreaming about going on tour and playing show after show every night since I was a little kid and there’s something magical about being on stage with that many people in the audience. I’ve had glimpses of that throughout my life, but now it’s just going to be huge on tour. And when I can do something I enjoy so much and touch people’s lives at the same time, it’s a win/win situation for the audience and me.
With every week of the competition there was a different category of music and it was always a challenge, and I think I rose to the task very well trying to pick songs in a Motown genre or in a country genre that really represented myself as an artist. But now I actually get to define myself as an artist from scratch. I have a huge catalog of original music and I can’t wait to share my song writing with America.
Question: You had your old music teacher from Canada, Linda Fletcher in the audience, as one of your four invites there. I’m wondering if you can tell me how important the years growing up in Canada was to your musical development?
Scott MacIntyre: If I can just start from the beginning, I was born in Redondo Beach, for anyone who doesn’t know; and then when I was ten years old I moved to Toronto, Canada and lived there until I was 14; then moved to Arizona. I’ve been in Arizona for nine years minus the year that I did my master’s degree overseas in London, England.
My time in Toronto was crucial to my development as a musician, as a songwriter, especially as a classical pianist, because that’s really where my roots are. I’ve come from a very different place than most of the contestants on the show in that I really had no idea what was going on with pop music and the radio and what was hip and what was hot and all that until I was about 15 years old. I started paying attention to pop culture more and started writing pop music at that time, but up until then it was all classical.
I studied at the Royal Conservatory of Music while I was living in Toronto and there were a number of people that were very influential in laying the foundation for my musicality and that’s something that I carry with me whether it’s classical music or pop music. I try to approach every week of this competition from the mindset of a composer, of a songwriter, of an arranger, and it’s really helped me to connect with the audience every time because I’ve been able to create musical moments where both me and the audience soar together in a given part of the song.
Question: Do you see yourself coming back up to Canada to perform anytime in the near future, Scott?
Scott MacIntyre: I do. I’m going to do everything I can to get back up there, and you guys may see me a lot sooner than you think.
Question: You’ve talked even before about wanting to get your story out and this was the way to do it. Why this season? Had you tried out for the show before and what was it about this time around that made you …
Scott MacIntyre: I have never tried out for American Idol before in the past year. I think this was the perfect year to audition. It’s actually the first time they’ve come to Arizona, so that was perfect for me because I got to have that state hopefully behind me in this competition and that’s meant a lot to me. I can’t wait to go home and see what the response really is.
I’ve been in school for many years of my life, and I’m kind of the academic goen pop star in the competition. It just turned out to be the right year, the right time. I was able to make the audition, and being back in Arizona after my masters in London, it seemed like the perfect route to go.
I’ve been following the show from about season five and the moment at which I decided to audition was when they rolled the grand piano out on stage last year and I knew I had to be here. Just being here now and realizing that dream means the world to me.
Question: What kind of music can we look forward to from you and who might you compare your style to?
Scott MacIntyre: Well, you can definitely look forward to a lot of music coming from me in the future. The music that I write for myself to perform is very much along the lines of John Mayer, Gavin DeGraw, Bruce Hornsby, Vanessa Carlton, a little bit of Mark Schultz. It’s very pop rock singer songwriter meets adult contemporary.
A lot of the music that I write is more introspective and the lyrics are very meaningful. I always try to tell a story with my music. And a lot of it has a harder edge and is a little bit more radio friendly. I’m all about drawing you into my music and drawing you into a song and if the hook of the song is not worth pursuing then I don’t pursue it.
Question: What kind of support did you feel from Arizona, because over here it felt like the state really got behind you? Did you feel that over there?
Scott MacIntyre: I think I’m not going to feel it until I actually get home and meet the people and it’s going to hit me like a freight train. You would be surprised at the bubble we live in over here. I try to read things when I can, but the competition is so fast paced and so mind boggling at times that I don’t think any of us appreciate what’s really going on out there and I have to tell you I’m so excited to get home in a couple days.
Question: What is it you want to do, what is the first thing you want to do when you get back home?
Scott MacIntyre: First thing I’m going to do when I get back home is take a look at all the original material I have lying on the table and put together the best album I can on paper and then I’m going to go for it. I’m going to try to be prepared when the time comes, whatever happens with record deals, with management deals, which anything could happen at this point. I want to be prepared to give you guys more to listen to as soon as I’m able. You can look for a lot more coming from me in the coming months.
Question: Are you still going to perform with your family?
Scott MacIntyre: If it works out, I would love to keep performing with my family. There are a number of things I do actually and they’ve all been put on hold obviously while I’m on Idol, but there’s Scott McIntyre, the pop rock singer songwriter. There is the Glutes, which is me and my brother—we had a punk pop power pop band, along the lines of Jimmy Eat World, Yellow Card, Blink 182, that type of music; and then there’s the MacIntyre Family Singers on the other end of the spectrum, which has done a capella jazz, gospel music, Broadway-type music, classical music. So it’s really been fun for me to delve into different types of music, and I might add we’ve been able to keep them very separate and very much their own entities as well without blurring the boundaries.
So if time allows me, you’ll see me singing with my brother, singing with my sister, my mom. My dad is the only one that doesn’t sing, he auditions every year for the MacIntyre Family Singers and he’s never made the cut yet.
Question: What is it going to take for your dad to make it?
Scott MacIntyre: It’s going to take something big now after American Idol. No, and I’m totally kidding when I say that. Actually it’s funny, I do remember a time when he used to play guitar and sing years ago and I would get out all the muffin tins and pots and pans and Tupperware that I could find and I’d build myself a drum set on the floor and we’d be jamming out. He just hasn’t played in awhile because he’s been making the money for the family while the rest of us are making music.
My mom also played a number of instruments here and there, flute, guitar, piano, but our parents have never pursued music to the degree that my brother and sister and I have. But they have been the most supportive people in the world and I never take that for granted because I know there are a lot of situations in which different parents may have encouraged me not to pursue music because it’s a hard business to go through, but thankfully American Idol is making that a little bit easier.
Question: How about a message to all the fans out there.
Scott MacIntyre: To all of my fans… from the bottom of my heart thank you so much for voting for me, thank you for listening to my music, thank you for downloading my iTunes tracks. I cannot wait to meet you all. You’ve really helped me realize my life dream and there’s so many more dreams that are going to be realized in the coming months, and I owe so much to all of you. I can’t wait to give back to you in concert and to meet you and to write music for you, and I hope our relationship continues for years and years and years.
Question: You talked about, you’re a songwriter, and how attached are you to your music as far as are you able to freely write for other people or are you one of those people that likes to write for yourself and for your own project?
Scott MacIntyre: That’s a great question. When I was living in London, England doing my master’s degree, I really started to write a ton of music, and I actually wrote on average one song per week.
And they were completely finished polished songs. You can always go back later and touch this up or touch that up, but they were whole packaged songs. I’m actually very open to writing for other people especially because I’ve been able to get comfortable writing in different genre as diverse as pop, singer songwriter, rock, punk, jazz, classical, and all of that. You probably wouldn’t know the same guy wrote the music on a Scott MacIntyre album as for The Glutes. And so I see my career from this point as three fold in my mind. Obviously I’m going to be a performer and that’s probably not going to change, because once you’re on Idol, you’re a performer.
Secondly, I am going to bring a lot of songwriting to the table for myself, and as you mentioned down the road, I am completely opened to writing for other people. I love to try to live in people’s shoes and write music for them from the perspective they would be coming from if they were a writer and really getting inside all of that.
And then thirdly, I really enjoy production and engineering and mixing and mastering, and that whole realm of sound, and that’s something that I see myself doing more of later on in my career. I enjoy a lot of different aspects of the business.
Question: What are you going to miss about being around the other idols?
Scott MacIntyre: I’m going to miss the camaraderie. I’m going to miss how we all make fun of each other before the show starts. I’m going to miss having dinner when people leave and wishing them well. I’m definitely going to miss the group songs, believe it or not.
It’s actually a really interesting group of kids this year. I call them kids out of habit, because everyone does, and I still think of myself as a kid so it’s all good. We’re actually one of the only groups apparently that talks and jokes two minutes before we walk on stage. Apparently last year everyone was very silent and in their own world, preparing mentally for the performance, which I try to do as well. But there’s an extra element, even though we’re competing we have so much fun even the second before we walk on stage. It’s amazing.
Question: What did Anoop say to you when he was sent back to safety? He sort of like whispered something in your ear and then walked away. What did he say?
Scott MacIntyre: I don’t remember that. But we have a good relationship. We respect each other. He said some really nice things about me on Idol Extra last night and I’ll never forget that. It means a lot.
Question: What did you think when you heard that there were only 30,000 votes separating you two?
Scott MacIntyre: I thought a couple more people should have voted. But in all seriousness, I thought it was just amazing because at this stage of the game everyone has won in their own right in this competition and there’s not much difference in where you place. There’s more air time, but there’s not much difference between finishing eighth and finishing third. It’s really what you do with the opportunity you’ve been given. I have this incredible platform now and America knows a little bit about my story. So I am going to do everything I can to make the transition from being known as Scott on American Idol to in a couple years being known as Scott MacIntyre, the singer songwriter.
Question: How did you feel, I know Paula Abdul really encouraged you to come out from behind the piano, I wondered whether you felt like given your disadvantage that was a bit much to ask, because you have to focus so much more if you’re not sitting at the piano. It just seemed maybe a little bit unfair. How did you feel about it?
Scott MacIntyre: Simon Cowell said it all that night. When she suggested that I come out from behind the piano, he replied, “I don’t think you’d ever see Billy Joel come out from behind his piano. I don’t think you’d see Elton John, Bruce Hornsby, Stevie Wonder come out from behind their pianos,” and from what I’ve heard they don’t much if ever. It’s not that the piano takes the place of my vocals or anything of that nature, it’s actually just another layer of expressivity that I can place beneath my vocal.
My decision to play the guitar this last week was more based on the fact that I wanted to shock America a little bit than Paula’s comment about coming out from behind the piano.
It’s very common the judges tell you one thing one week and then they tell you the opposite the next week, and I don’t take what the judges said to heart. I actually stand by my performance this last Tuesday and if you watch it back in the scheme of things it’s a pretty good performance and some of the criticism is undue. But I respect the judges and I’m so glad at least two of them were tempted to keep me on yesterday.
Honestly, I have no regrets leaving the show. I am so happy I brought my shredder out to go out in a blaze of glory for last night and it’s all good things from here.
Question: Scott. Do you have any closing remarks?
Scott MacIntyre: I’d like to thank you all for calling in, for supporting me. Thank you for covering this, and please keep an eye out, you’re going to see a lot more coming from me in the future. It’s been an absolute joy being on the show.