“Most of my music is about moving on from my divorce and starting over with a little bit of ‘remember it wasn’t all bad’ thrown in,” says Scott Nicholls, a UK-based country singer/songwriter. His new track, “Heartbeat,” released April 9, highlights those good times, despite the inevitable heartbreaking end. Nicholls continues, “Sometimes it’s worth remembering those times, sometimes it’s hard, but they all sort of shape us into the humans we are in the present. If you don’t hold onto the good memories with the bad—make lemonade out of the lemons—then you lose a part of yourself.”
He recorded this song with Jack Watson, with whom he’s recorded all of his work, at Jack in the Box Studios in London. Of the collaboration, he shares, “We have this great sort of unspoken connection with music and how we want it to sound. I can come to Jack with a song, like ‘Heartbeat’, as an acoustic voice note and we’ll both almost immediately know where we want it to go.”
While they were tracking vocals in the studio, his friend Christine Avetta stopped by. Had she not, the track might have remained a single vocal cut. However, the coincidental timing led them to experiment with female vocals. He recalls, “we liked it so much, we kept it the same way.”
Enter a global pandemic that delayed this work. Eventually, 2021 opened up an opportunity to finally release “Heartbeat,” and Savannah Gardner kindly lent her brazen vocal talent to the track. Nicholls explains, “Originally she was there to sing harmonies etc, but we loved how she worked with the song so much we thought, ‘we have to give her a verse,’ and the rest is history.”
The pop-country track employs early influences like Tom Petty, The Police, and Buddy Holly for honest lyricism that paints a poignant portrait of what once was. Meeting Jonah Matranga, and discussing Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder really inspired him to hone his artistry, creating a vision for his music going forward. “I want to use whatever platform I have to make people feel good and try to make a positive impact in people’s lives— Eddie and Jonah do that, so will I.”
The artist feels his best work comes when he is not forcing it. The process is difficult to describe, as he derives melody—a central component of his songwriting—from spanning emotion. To keep a melody in mind, Nicholls fills in the notes with any words that come to mind. He explains, “Even if I only get one or two lines out, it’s the coming in and turning on that light that keeps me going.”
“Heartbeat” is his fourth in a series of original singles he has released over the last year, following “More Than Love Owes Me.” As a collection, the tracks evoke a sentiment of acceptance, moving on from the harsh realities of your past to celebrate new beginnings.
He adds, “I want people to be able to listen to this song and hear a situation they’ve been in, feel it, and maybe even smile about it. We all have that what-if person, maybe this song is about them. For somebody else, it’s a reply to someone who completely misunderstood them and their feelings. That’s the great thing about music, I think, is that the more personal it is, the more universal it is.”
Listen to Scott Nicholls‘ new song, “Heartbeat,” below.
Photo by Sammie Jo Dearing