Indie-folk musician Hilary Scott ’98 has certainly kept busy this year. Poised to release her new album Freight Train Love, she is also the winner of the Rural Roots Music Commission of the National Traditional Country Music Association’s American/Folk Album of the Year for her work “Flowers on Mars.”
Originally from Pullman, Washington, Scott’s interest in music began at an early age, starting classical piano training at four years old. After graduating from Pullman High School in 1994, Scott went on to Whitman where she majored in English with a minor in music.
At Whitman, Scott used her original songwriting to help her get a scholarship to study abroad in Italy, where she sang opera for a conservatory in Milan. But it was after graduating that Scott really broke from her classical training to craft her own style of Americana indie/folk music.
“Although I credit Whitman for nurturing my desire to create music,” Scott said, “what I am truly grateful for are the lessons I learned about being a proactive and engaged member of society. I have a desire to give back to, and shape, a brighter world in my small corner of it.”
Scott not only writes, performs and records music, but also teaches it at a conservatory in St. Louis, Missouri.
“Whitman helped make me a better community member, a clearer communicator and a great teacher,” she said.
Previously known as Hilary Helm, Scott took her brother’s first name as her last after he died due to complications with epilepsy. Little did she know that Hillary Scott (two Ls) was becoming famous for her work as the lead singer of Lady Antebellum. Though she is frequently confused for the country star, Scott continues to have a successful career. She has co-written songs with some of the best songwriters in the United States, and toured the U.S., the U.K., Europe and Asia. She has released 10 albums (soon to be 11), and has had her version of “Have a Little Faith in Me” used in a pitbull terrier rescue video, which has to date received over 2 million views.
“True success for me now includes being able to do something I love, and make a decent living doing it. In the process, my music has touched and reached so many people,” Scott said.
“If you had asked me 10 years ago if I thought I would ever share the stage with Chuck Berry, or have musicians on my record that have played with Lennon and Hendrix and Etta James, or have fans worldwide all while being on my small independent label and touring with my husband, I would not have thought it possible. I am living ‘the dream.’ My dream, anyway.”
Find out more about Scott's music at: hilaryscott.com