Guest Blog: Marc Scibilia On Working With Butch Walker

Marc Scibilia

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At heart Marc Scibilia is a New York born American singer-songwriter, with a little East Nashville flair. His latest EP The Shape I’m In is a strong opening statement from a charismatic singer who is hard to pigeon-hole. Scibilia is currently in the studio he owns in Nashville, working with Butch Walker towards his first full -length album.

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When I first moved to Nashville, a friend told me that all I needed to do to “make it” was to work with Butch Walker. I knew his music and I knew he had an incredible reputation as a producer, as a writer and as an artist in his own right. But I did not know him, nor did I have any idea how to connect with him. I just filed the advice away and forgot about it.

Fast forward about four years . . .

My manager called me and asked how I would feel about opening up for Butch Walker on 16 shows. Of course, I was thrilled. The offer came through and we were on the road with him a few weeks later.

After the forth show, Butch watched us play and picked out a few of the songs in our set as his favorites. After the last night of the tour in Denver, we sat on his bus and drank 16-year-old Lagavulin scotch to celebrate the completion of the run. That night, he offered to work with me on my upcoming album.Within a day of being in his studio in Nashville, I realized that having Butch involved as a producer felt like a real path into the future for my songs. He has an uncanny ability to elevate my singer/songwriter sensibilities into an exciting modern sound that people living in 2014 naturally understand. After he played me the first ruff mix of my song, “Wide Open Arms,” I told Butch that it sounded like all of my strengths had been magnified … and all my weaknesses were hidden. He really is one of the great musical minds of our time and a great guy as well. I can’t wait to share the music we are making together.

The experience with Butch is just part of my recording life these days. I own a studio with some friends in Nashville called The Brown Owl and have always been very involved in the recording process of my releases, particularly my latest EP, The Shape I’m In. I also work from time to time in New York City at Electric Lady studio. We mix all of my releases with Michael Brauer. He is without a doubt one of the top mixers in music these days and has taught me so much about the perspective and focus of recording a song. I’m very comfortable steering the ship and being part of the shaping of tracks…but I have learned that having the experience of guys like Butch and Michael makes a huge difference. I am lucky to have them both in my world.

As for songwriting, it is an emotional and personal thing to me. But I had to learn that through trial and error — and a lot of both. About the time I turned 21, I spent the better part of two years writing eight hours a day—as if it were my “job.” I would wake up and fill pages and pages with stream-of-consciousness thoughts in order to “exercise that muscle.” That period taught me that if you don’t know what to do with inspiration when it comes, it is useless to some extent. These days, when inspiration strikes, I feel like I intuitively know how to shape it into something useful. Sometimes it’s a conversation with a friend, sometimes it’s a melody or a lyric that will just come into my head from seemingly nowhere. It’s like some creative force in the universe throws a bunch of puzzle pieces at me and then I have to put them together. I am not the first person to say this, but songwriting—great songwriting—is magical in some ways. I just feel…fortunate…when the magic comes to me.


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