Achingly intimate and effortlessly organic, Temme Scott’s debut album ‘Trust You, Trust You’ is a stunning, unfiltered and raw outpouring from the heart.
Stream: “Understudy” – Temme Scott
Temme Scott is the kind of artist we will never put in a box, mostly because she so seamlessly defies definition.
The Baltimore-born, Los Angeles-based twenty-something makes music that comes from the heart; whether we interpret that as “pop,” “R&B,” “soul,” “acoustic,” “alternative,” “rock,” or “folk” is up to her listeners to decide. Achingly intimate and effortlessly organic, Scott’s debut album Trust You, Trust You (released September 25, 2020) is a stunning unfiltered and raw outpouring from the heart. It’s true to her, and that’s all that matters.
I write in verbal sweaters
Give me a t-shirt with my name
To remind me of me
And my ignorant shame
I speak in broken letters
But I’ll write and anthem to your chest
He’ll say “Why did she tell me she’s emotionless”
I want to believe them
I want to cry on the outside fence at your party
And not tell anybody
I don’t understand them
But I’ll tell them everything I know
I told him my talking felt more like a show
Why do I do this to me? Oo I
I’m like the understudy
I don’t trust anybody
My God, I
I wanna play the lead, Ah
This wait is overbearing
Write to your God, I’m swearing
If this is an issue of meaning the part
Why don’t I act with my heart?
– “Understudy,” Temme Scott
“I started writing some of these songs long before I had any intention of even recording music seriously, much less making a full length album,” the artist tells Atwood Magazine. “It certainly didn’t start as one project, but I think that’s what I ended up loving most about it; it was kind of a sporadic endeavour to get a bunch of songs together. After graduating college, I started recording my own music for the first time with my college friend Grant, and put out my first EP and a couple singles in 2018 and 2019. In early 2019, we started demoing and arranging a bunch of songs I’d been sitting on, and a few months in I asked Grant if he wanted to just produce a full album with me. It was a pretty “why not” kinda moment. After a few months and a lot of saving money, we went up to the Bay Area last with a couple musicians for three days, and knocked out the bulk of these songs at Tiny Telephone in Oakland. It all came together piece by piece after that — a lot of adding new parts with a bunch of different folks for the rest of the year. A lot of buying lunches for friends to come and lay down different guitar parts, stuff like that.”
For the past three years, Scott has been steadily releasing singles – introducing her many sides through tracks like the deeply vulnerable, fast-paced “Shy” and the bittersweet upheaval, “Well Prepared.” Every song has offered something fresh and new – and that’s how the artist likes it.
Scott never was much labels or “genres”: “To my parents and their friends, I usually just say ‘singer-songwriter, acoustic-based music, sometimes leans a little pop,'” she says of her sound. “Genres are so weird these days. I don’t necessarily feel like the music meets the “indie” requirements, ’cause that description seems to be constantly changing and expanding. I will say though, my next project in the works is definitely a lot different than this record! No rules!”
And yet, despite this refusal to conform to a single sound or style, Trust You, Trust You feels singular in nature; the songs groove together, seeming to fit just right. “This was my number one fear in putting this record together,” Scott admits. “I constantly felt like it was all over the place for almost the whole year we were making it. I even added a few songs when we were nearly halfway done. I honestly wonder how it ended up feeling cohesive, but it finally does to me now, too. The set of songs wasn’t written as a whole, nor was it written “for a record,” but I think what ties everything together is the singular voice (metaphorically speaking) in the writing. A lot of these songs deal with pretty similar themes and storylines, and I tried to order them in a way that would feel like new questions were coming up, but also being answered, as the album goes on.”
She continues, “I didn’t have a very singular vision for the album. I was ashamed to admit that for a while because I thought it meant I didn’t have an “artistic enough” direction, which is silly, ’cause it’s straight up true! I didn’t have all the songs picked out, I didn’t have a name for it, I didn’t have a band together at the time. The “vision” I think just appeared throughout months of arranging and recording, and always led back to the idea of being as upfront as possible with the delivery of these songs. I wanted to make sure the stories cut through, so we tried to stick with sounds that added to the storylines, rather than production to overpower it. I just want people to hear what I’m saying, I guess.”
Trust You, Trust You ultimately came out of a mix of inner and outer connection. The title is a sort of special acknowledgement – a trusting in oneself and those around them. “So much of making music to me is about the people you’re around,” Scott explains. “I’m not someone who really thrives recording alone; I only really like to write alone. Trust You, Trust You, means trust yourself, and trust another. Trust you (yourself), but trust the people you’re around, too. I trust me, so I’ll trust you.”
Out of this bridge spawns a sprawling and diverse, yet stirringly cohesive collection. A short intro leads into the unassuming whistles of “2017,” which opens the record with warmth and unparalleled authenticity. It’s a fun and sweet song, and one that comes from the soul’s depths as Scott opines on a former flame; memories; misery; and more. If we close our eyes, we might imagine her performing this song at a local café’s open mic night. It’s that naked; that real.
“I opened with this song because it ties directly to the last song, “Charles St,” which I knew I wanted to end with,” Scott notes. “Both of those songs kind of answer different questions about the same story, in a totally different perspective. “2017” is about finally realizing you’re okay without someone, realizing you’ve woken up the past few weeks or months and they weren’t the first thing on your mind, and it’s not controlling your life anymore. I called it “2017” simply because that was the first year I finally felt free from a pretty significant relationship that lasted throughout my teen years and into my 20s. By the time I wrote it, it had been several years since I’d even seen the person! It’s just supposed to be a refreshing, sitting-in-the-room type feel of the song. It’s a live take from Grant’s living room actually — it’s the original demo! I wanted to start the record that way because that’s how we recorded most of it. Talking and laughing in Grant’s place and messing up a lot of takes.”
The year “2017” feels like many worlds away at this point, but the song feels very fresh. Scott goes on to bare herself time and again throughout a record that leans into the deep end of emotion, conflict, self-doubt, and the like: The seductive “A Lot to Lose,” with its sleek vocals rising and falling around a hypnotic guitar pattern, is an utterly enthralling immersion of sound and feeling. The same can be said of tracks like the impassioned “Understudy” and its stirring follow-up track “Party People,” whose uncompromising lo-fi ambience and heart-to-heart performance makes for a chilling listen.
I think I’m landed safely
Anchored to myself lately
So I don’t want any new
I feel like plenty’s going
My friends are solid gold, but
When is it gonna bruise?
Now I crave the clean
There’s no way that’s me
It’s better than it’s been in some time
Come on honey, what’s this all about?
I wanna keep this feeling in my house
Fresh like morning covers
Windowsills just like my mother’s
I’ve got a lot lose
– “A Lot to Lose,” Temme Scott
Scott refuses to play favorites – “I’ve heard them too many times in too many different forms to know anymore” – but she acknowledges the special value of certain songs and their words. “I like talking about my dad in “A Lot to Lose” — the lyrics in that one feel a lot more lighthearted than the rest, which is kinda fun. I think “Lonely, Mostly” I like because it’s the most straightforward, lyrically. I tried to focus a lot on a concise story for that one, to make the road trip and tension kind of come alive without too much question. I think my favorite lyric might be the main questions in “To Rest” // can fury beat fear if you act it all out? Can my anger move words to the back of my mouth? // I feel like this song changes meaning for me a lot, but it was originally about a friend of mine in a rough patch, and about leaving whatever insane overwhelming emotion you’re in and just waiting it out. It’s about beating your anger and working through it, trusting that you’ll be able to express it all one day.”
Running nearly an hour long, Trust You, Trust You is a journey through pain and healing, with much to offer its listeners along the way: From the atmospheric vibes of “To Rest” to the more classic balladry of “Championness,” Scott’s sounds are as impressive as they are multifold. Her lyrics, meanwhile are forever intimate, her stories complex yet easily relatable and full of nuance. What one is ultimately faced with, when embarking upon this album, is a chance to full submerge oneself in the world of another: The life of one Taylor Emily who, as Temme Scott, has stripped herself down only to build herself back up again.
“I think the most I could hope for is just for like, a group of friends driving together in the car and someone saying, “Hey, can we listen to this album?” Like, just legitimate interest in enjoying it and sharing it,” Scott says. “When all is said and done, music isn’t about anything but just enjoying it and feeling like it matters. Past all the production, the mixes, the players, the marketing and whatever, it’s just songs someone is gonna put on in their car and decide how it feels to them. I just hope it feels like something.”
Temme Scott won’t fit into a box; she’s one-of-a-kind, a supremely talented vocalist, musician, and lyricist uninterested in limitations or baseline assumptions. Perhaps that’s exactly what 2020 needs: Unapologetic sincerity.
That’s certainly what we get throughout this introductory album. It’s gritty; it’s emotive; it’s polished with its own raw finesse. Experience the full record via our below stream, and peek inside Temme Scott’s Trust You, Trust You with Atwood Magazine as the singer/songwriter goes track-by-track through the music and lyrics of her debut album!
Stream: ‘Trust You, Trust You’ – Temme Scott
:: Inside Trust You, Trust You ::
I wrote this song about wiping myself clean of a long-term relationship. 2017 was the first year I realized I was probably gonna be fine, to put it simply. The song is a little bit playful, but has a pretty serious tone and message. It was a “getting this off my chest” type of song, for sure. I had to admit that this thing was always gonna affect me, but I wanted to say, loudly and clearly, I wasn’t gonna let it control me forever.
a lot to lose
In my first writing session with Jamie Sierota (meija), I told him I wanted to write a mellow singer-songwriter tune. We left the session with this.. we have no idea what happened. It was such a fun day, though! It was one of my first co-writes ever, and Jamie helped me pull this song in a much more upbeat direction, which I’m SO thankful for. It’s about realizing you’re actually doing ok, and wanting to honor that and keep that feeling around, while also re-categorizing “doing well” as apprehensively having “a lot to lose.”
I took a road trip with a new friend from my hometown Baltimore all the way back to LA in three days. I wrote this song a couple days after settling back into my house here after being gone for a few months. This song is all about tension and unspoken feelings on that trip — wishing someone had just said something, but also being so glad they didn’t. Thinking maybe it’ll happen one day and all that stuff.. just had to let it ride out.
This was actually one of the first songs I wrote of this whole batch, I think. I started this one in 2015, maybe 2014 honestly. It’s about your best friend falling in love with you, and being way too scared to let anything happen. I mention a lot about my own self essentially being the biggest danger, the teeth in every shark that haunt you (it was a surfing metaphor at the time, I learned to surf with this person!) It’s a combination of lack of self-trust, not wanting to hurt someone I love so dearly, and making myself the villain in a fun & upbeat sort of way. Is that possible?
Understudy is about doubting the hell out of yourself. For me, it was about my musicianship, writing abilities, & doubting my own passion for music. I was so scared that everyone seemed so sure all of the time about pursuing music, because I didn’t feel that way at all. It was my own way of reckoning my self-doubt by proving I had something decently meaningful to say.
Ha – basically about people doing coke in your kitchen and feeling like an absolute idiot outcast cause you’re depressed and you don’t wanna go out, and you’re scared of drugs. But.. still wanting to prove you’re cool?
I wrote this song my senior year of college about one of my roommates at the time going through a really hard time. I wanted her to know that not everything needed to be sorted out right away, and it was okay to just let things be. Somehow it turned into me living through her experience in song, and trying to give her the advice I would’ve wanted. It’s a song for trying to stay calm and references the one bedroom apartment we lived in with three girls: passing bodies around me to turn on the light, etc.
Ah, a classic rejection song! Had to have at least one on the record! Shy is about a failed relationship and someone making you feel “shy” and like you “never had a shot.” Probably true! It was also the first time I’d had feelings for someone in a while, so I talk about wanting to keep it alive mainly because I was finally feeling / so I [couldn’t] let it be.
Ok, this is another failed relationship song. But this one’s more about wanting to honor the relationship and this person, even though things were ending. They moved up North, and I stayed in LA to keep doing music, even though I was having doubts about if I’d ever be successful: the North can still take its aim/ but I’m staying placed, cus I don’t wanna miss what I probably won’t have anyway. I knew I was taking a risk, but I was grateful for the time we spent together.
This is the main ballad of the record. I wrote this song with Jim Fairchild in his studio in Culver. It was one of our first sessions and we were just becoming friends/writing partners. We wrote it entirely on guitar, and Grant later transcribed it to piano. It’s about a best friendship, and how feeling like someone doesn’t entirely relate to you when you’re doing badly can actually be such an amazing thing – I’m in my own way/ but you stop the traffic when you don’t relate/ didn’t know I could be so damn grateful for quiet like that. My friends have pulled me out of the worst times of my life so many times.
This one is kinda the most out there of the bunch. It’s similarly about being in your own way when things are rough, not being able to get out of your head, and knowing you’re keeping yourself in a bad spot but somehow not caring. It’s kind of a plea for people to check in. How dramatic! I wrote the lyrics for this one on a bus in Chile while on a trip with my friend Justine. I’d borrowed a baritone ukelele from a friend a few months before, and sat down with my friend Will, made up a random tuning, and put together some chords we thought sounded cool. I revisited the voice memo on this long bus trip without service, and wrote this.
This one goes along with Lonely, Mostly — I wrote them in the same week. I thought breaking any tension with this person would ruin things, so I wanted to be well prepared to hate if that did happen. It’s as if I was waiting for something to actually happen, just so I could brace myself for not liking it.
I knew I wanted to end the album with Charles St. since the day I wrote it. It’s the sister song of 2017, and basically the prequel of that song. I had just listened to the Better Oblivion Community Center album for the first time and sat down in the stairwell of my house while everyone was gone and just CRIED. This is a song I’d been dancing around writing for a long time, always kind of inserting bits and pieces into other songs, but never really telling the story. It takes place in Baltimore in 2012 over the holidays at a psychiatric facility. I challenged myself to be as upfront as possible about this one for sure. I just felt like getting this story outta me and trying to make it sound a lot more beautiful than it ever was. It was one of the most relieving writing experiences of my life.
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? © 2020 art © Elizabeth Otto
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