Raised by her mother in Oakland, CA, E.C.
made her debut at age three singing in church on Easter Sunday. Both of her
parents were singers and E.C. was encouraged towards gospel music from the
start, performing in the choir at St. John Missionary Baptist Church and growing
up idolizing such gospel legends as Inez Andrews, Shirley Caesar
and Albertina Walker. “They came to town with a big gospel show and I can
remember just being mesmerized by them” Her mother wouldn’t let her listen to
“worldly” music, as she called it, but later, via her older sisters’ radio, “I
was introduced to the hip stuff. I always wanted to do that, but it was so
taboo. I felt I’d go blind or I’d be crippled the next day if I sang blues. I
shied away from that for many, many years.” Nonetheless, she loved listening to
R&B music by artists such as Gladys Knight, Dinah Washington, Aretha
Franklin, and Clarence Carter.
At age 16 Scott recounts she “wandered into a bar and never left.” The bar called Lancers was on her way home from church. “We were coming home from church and I had to use the bathroom so some friends of mine dared me to go in there. I did and when I came out and my friends were inside the club already sitting down. I couldn’t believe they didn’t put us out because we weren’t old enough but they let us stay and I noticed there was a man playing piano. He asked if I knew how to sing and so I sang ‘Moonriver.’ To my surprise everyone in the club stopped and started to pay attention. They asked for another song and I remember hearing ‘Sunny’ in my head, so I sang that and they started giving me money. I was impressed! I thought whoa this is great and I’ve been doing it ever since.”
The man at piano was named Slim Slaughter and E.C. soon adopted him as a sort of godfather. “Slim had played keyboards in a lot of bands in the 40’s and 50’s and we hooked up as a duo going different places and finding jobs.” E.C. was only 16 and still in high school but was suddenly able to land a job singing with Slaughter in nightclubs making ‘real money.’ Eventually he encouraged me to move on and start a band of my own. I asked him to be my keyboard player but he insisted I find musicians my own age. He really pushed me to find my own thing and was a true mentor.”
Scott soon built a following in the Bay area and was on the brink of success when she retired to get married and raise a family. “As soon as I had the ball rolling,” she laughs, “I stopped.” The desire to perform never left however and when her children were old enough she began to make her way back to the stage. “When my kids were 8 and 10 years old, I said to them ‘you know, before you met me I was an entertainer and I sure would like to go to back to doing that.’ They told me to go for it. Until then they hadn’t seen mom as being an entertainer.
E.C. began writing her own songs after a conversation with bluesman Joe Louis Walker. “Joe asked me ‘E.C. how come you do other people’s tunes and not your own? You need to start writing your own material because you’re not going to go anywhere doing somebody else’s songs.’ That was the wakeup call and many times I’ve thanked Joe for that kick in the pants” In 1991 fervent fans backed E.C.’s first recording, a single (“Just Dance” b/w “Let’s Make It Real”) and the next year she signed to Blind Pig Records where she released three critically acclaimed albums Come Get Your Love, Hard Act To Follow and Masterpiece. Now, E.C. Scott has hit her stride on the Other Side of Me, the first release for her newly launched Black Bud Records. Scott soars on the discs 13 tracks showcasing not only her mighty voice but also her prodigious songwriting talent.
E.C.’s growing reputation allowed her to share the stage with Lou Rawls, Ray Charles, Patti La Belle, Jr. Walker and the All-Stars, John Lee Hooker and the Ohio Players.
E.C. Scott has developed her own style, a refreshingly original and distinctively modern approach that owes as much to her exceptional talent as a songwriter as it does to her remarkable, attention-grabbing vocals. E.C.’s enticing, rich voice, hook-laden arrangements, and intelligent, at times humorous, lyrics come together to produce songs that aren’t easily forgotten. “I Love the Blues,” she says. I just like it with a today sound.” On her latest disc she takes us to that Other Side.