In the world of male independent artists, Scott Cruz is finding a way to elevate himself from the crowd. Combining smoldering looks with raw and undeniable talent, his latest single ‘The Reason’ is pulsing and infectious, and is the kind of material that Cruz is becoming known for. Cruz is influenced by everyone from The Doors to Tori Amos to Adina Howard, and this diversity is showcased throughout his musical catalog. I sat down for a chat with this emerging artist and we talked about following his musical passion, his appearance on the Real Housewives franchise and how it catapulted story for years, and his perspective on being an LGBTQ artist in the industry today.
Michael Cook: When did you know that music would be the passion that you would be following?
Scott Cruz: Ever since I was four years old, I was attracted to singing and playing the piano. I started playing by ear and had more fun teaching and learning for myself. I was the lead in school musicals, and joined a gospel choir in my teenage years. I started writing my own music at fifteen and learned music production at eighteen. I’m self taught in music production, performance, writing and composition, because I wanted to really find my own aesthetic and style. Because I do every aspect of my music, some call me a control freak, I just call it certainty of expression. My downfall as an independent artist is I have not full mastered the self promotion aspect. But hey, if I can learn to create everything, I can learn the promotion side of things, to which I am dedicated to currently. I’m sure many people can relate to the self promotion challenges in our current digital age of trend saturation no matter the industry.
MC: For those that have not heard your music, how do you describe your own sound and musical aesthetic?
SC: Even I have a challenge classifying my music with a genre. I definitely have obvious elements of rock and pop with a pinch of soul, blues, R&B, and sometimes funk. To me, the song itself is the most important aspect and I write to accommodate the song itself not genres, trends or vocal masturbation (although I still find room to do so, LOL) So the fun comes in not having a direction and just giving birth to the song as it comes from the imaginative space. I am also a TV and film composer. So in that aspect, I also do classical and cinematic styles as well. As cliche as it sounds, I like to be seen as a recording artist with different expressions.
MC: Tell me about your latest release ‘The Reason’, the inspiration behind it, and how it layers into the rest of your musical catalog?
SC: “The Reason” was actually written to the world. In this time of massive polarizing divides, the one thing people seem to be certain of are their self entitlements. It seems people have gotten so wrapped up with the injustices of the collective and their individual world, they’ve forgotten they must still bring something to the table themselves. “The Reason” is my way of calling it out and reminding people, you still need to give someone a reason to love you too instead of demanding everyone love you. We need to live and be (with every ounce of our being) the reason for people to love us. We live in a universe of what we put out we get back. That works in bed too! “The Reason” also correlates to my previous single “Rescue” which at that time was predicting the current shift we are going though in our world. One lyric in that song says “I believe that our world is diverging in two, now you gotta let love be the rescue.” Even though I’ve only released 7 songs, I have hundreds. I’m learning this marketing and promotion “thing” on my own, so I figured I would release single by single as I finish them. “The Reason” available now on iTunes, Amazon and Spotify. I mean, I gotta plug it right? See, I’m learning (laughs)!
MC: It is challenging for male LGBT vocalists to push through the sometimes challenging music business. How have you made the decision to not just be out in the business, but make a name for yourself?
SC: I think the days of record labels are slowly coming to an end. That’s why I never succumbed to one because as an independent artist, I want all the rights to my music. So for me it was worth the sacrifice to take more time then to achieve instant fame. I also think we’re turning into the age of the independent artist now. I feel the universe is shifting to accommodate us. Finally! In my opinion, being just a singer these days isn’t going to cut it anymore. You need to have more skill sets and originality. The main complaint I hear with the mainstream music it that it all sounds the same. I know in my heart that the years of growth and expansion I have in every area of my work is going to pay off even more. As a gay person, I’ve never hid nor promoted it. It’s not who I am, it’s what I am. I think many can relate to that with gender. There and many in the LGBTQ community to where their gender is what they are, but not who they are. The same is true for me and sexuality.
I think it important for all of us to showcase who we are not what we are. Then, (In my case) being gay just becomes a cool quirk or surprise. I do think the world has been more open to the LGBT point of view. In my mind, the majority of religious fanatics will be left behind in society with their limited, outdated, and misconstrued ideas of the LGBTQ community, so their opinions, although I respect and understand their difference of view, still means less than nothing to me. Opinions are like asses, everybody has one and they all stink. If people learned to let people live they way they want and focused on their own lives, we’d have close to a strong utopian like planet. Now, the music industry is a beast; a machine. I think it’s on the verge of collapse and with our current digital age, we now have the power more than ever to get what we want accomplished on our own. That’s not to say we won’t find great help either, as connecting with others is also a valuable asset to growth. I think because of this, all artists, including LGBTQ ones, have the opportunity to find their own audiences. We all have one out there.
MC: Tell me a bit about your career as a medium/clairvoyant and how that might weave into your music? What was it like appearing on The Real Housewives of Orange County where many people got to be exposed to you for the first time?
SC: I’ve been an intuitive my whole life. It hasn’t always been easy; quite the contrary actually. I compare it to politics. It’s like trying to get a Republican to see the Democratic point of view and the Democrat to see the Republican point of view. They all just think each other is crazy for seeing things the way they do. So imagine me trying to get those who have no knowledge or experience about the metaphysical structure of reality. They will just think I’m crazy. And I get it. Because of that, I repressed it for many years. That was a very painful period in my life because in essence, I was killing a part of myself over and over. The moment I decided to own it and make it public, The opportunity to go on the RHOC randomly manifested. I was doing free sessions for people in exchange for reviews of their experiences. The results were people we blown away and that’s what connected my path the Tamra Judge. After doing a session with her she wanted me to go on to read the girls. Now, It was just intended to go on to read the girls for fun. I did not anticipate that I would be calling out a man for faking cancer let alone, being a storyline highlight of the show for 3 years. I mean, I decided to go public with it and boy did it (LOL)
People may ask: well, didn’t you know that’s what would happen? My response to people is always like this: I like to live my life, picking up lessons I need to and the surprises life has to offer without being bombarded on what will happen before it does. I don’t want knowing the future outcome to influence my decision to not do things that may be best for me. Because of free-will, we can rewrite our destiny moment to moment. Plus, life would be boring if I tapped in to every single outcome. I like to live life like a “normal person” whatever the hell that even means anymore. Being an intuitive/medium for me is what the creative process is in itself. It’s a channeling state. I prefer to use my abilities to help with gaining knowledge, sharing knowledge, receiving inspiration, inspiring others, and creativity instead of pacifying people with the whole fortune telling nonsense.
MC: We all have performers who have inspired us; who are some of your biggest musical inspirations? Any dream collaborations that you would love to make happen?
SC: This is going to sound narcissistic and cliche as hell, but my inspiration really comes from within. I enjoy music from hardcore hip hop artists like KRS One, Wu Tang, Nas, Tupac and Mobb Deep to rock artists like NIN, Muse, Chevelle, Billy Talent, Avenge Sevenfold, and Black Rebel Motor Cycle Club. Etherial artists like Sigur Ros, Enya, Dead Can Dance, Massive Attack. Pop artists like Tori Amos, Madonna, Bjork, Micheal Jackson. Gospel artists like Marvin Sapp, Yolanda Adams, Shirley Caesar, Cece Winans. Soul/R&B artists like Luther Vandross, Dru Hill, 112, Badu, Adina Howard (Yes, I love her LOL) Maxwell, and basically all 90’s R&B. Classic Rock like The Doors, Terry Reid, Zeppelin, Floyd. Even Folk artists like David Gray and Chris Stapleton. Bluegrass to Classical music to Latin to Electronica. I think it made it clear that it’s hard for me to pick a few artists of inspiration (laughs)!
MC: What is next for Scott Cruz?
SC: I think the next step for me is to actually become that egomaniac that’s there in my creation process to the self promotion process so that I can share my music. I really do believe in my work and I need to show it to others. So, the next step is sharing my creations. I’ve been “humbly” too passive about it and I am not in any way a passive person, so now’s the time. I just always refrained from trying to look like a dirty salesman. Even though I’m a OCD clean guy, I’m dirty in other arenas.
MC: How have you stayed inspired and creative during the past year?
SC: Everything to me is a muse for inspiration. The good, the bad, the beauty and the ugly. For some reason people always forget to put beauty before ugly in that statement, maybe it’s me? There are so many valuable lessons wrapped in 2020 and more to come in 2021. I call it the great awakening. Sometimes it’s not pretty to reveal the truth, but there’s so much emotion, and perspective in these times, I actually have so much material to finish and to create that I’m excited to finish and to release it!! In life, if we all understand that fear and despair are alerts in life that are waking us up to hone, grasp and to claim the joys and excitements in life, we wouldn’t fear fear, we’d use fear as power to achieve anything we envisioned for ourselves and our lives. I see fear like this: It’s like falling asleep on the freeway and your car starts drifting off the side of the road. You then run over the those ridges in the pavement that shakes your car and makes a loud noise so that you wake up. Even though it scared the shit out of you, you’re glad it did because it woke up and put you back on track. To me, those bumps on the road is fear. Fear is life’s alerts to put us back on track. It shifts our point of view so you start heading in life the direction you truly want to so we can stop contradicting ourselves. When you see life this way, you will realize, everything is in your favor. I thank 2020 for putting things in an even better perspective for me to where each day my life is becoming more and more reflective of my true desires and beliefs. Next on the list: My stan base!