Grammy Award winner speaks about work in industry

Brittany Epps

Last week, the University welcomed Grammy award-winning songwriter Scot Sax to discuss his experiences in the music industry. Hosted by the Villanova University Business in Entertainment Society, the hour-long event featured an overview of the songwriter’s journey to fame, followed by an interactive discussion.

As a child, Sax knew that he was destined to work in the music industry and was determined to follow his dreams.

 He began composing his own songs at the age of 13, and later formed his own band, Wanderlust, which would go on to become one of the most popular rock bands of the 1990s. 

As his career progressed, Sax decided to return to his love of songwriting and moved to Los Angeles to write for publishing company, Warner/Chappell Music, Inc. 

While working in Los Angeles, he composed some of his greatest hits, writing songs for artists such as Jason Mraz, Jennifer Love-Hewitt, Paul Williams and many more. 

His top-selling hit, “I Am Summertime,” featured in the hit film “American Pie,” ultimately led to many awards for the accomplished writer, and all of his dreams were coming true. 

Nothing could have prepared Sax for his biggest achievement in his career thus far, though, when a song co-written by Sax, John Rich and Vicky McGehee won a Grammy Award in 2005. 

The hit song, “Like We Never Loved At All,” performed by Faith Hill and Tim McGraw, soared to the top of the charts in both national and international markets. 

Throughout his career, Sax has achieved milestones, and he plans to continue his winning streak, as he works on more projects.

BE: How did you get your start in the music industry?

SS: In 1995, I wrote a song called “I Walked” with my band Wanderlust. RCA heard it, loved us and we were signed. The rest is history. 

BE: As a child, was this what you envisioned your career to be?

SS: Yes, it is. I’ve been writing songs from the age of 13, and I always knew this was what I’d be doing. It’s rare that people know exactly what they want to do at such a young age and actually follow through with it.

BE: What challenges have you faced thus far, and how have you handled them?

SS: When RCA was forced to make significant cutbacks and fired 75 percent of its songwriters — that was a difficult time. However, I was able to revive a publishing deal later on and continue writing. It’s a part of the game — sometimes you win, sometimes you lose.

BE: What inspiration do you draw from when composing songs?

SS: My life. I draw from life experiences and real emotions when I’m writing songs. I can craft a song as necessary, but when I’m writing, I have to feel a genuine emotion. It has to be true and come from the heart.

BE: You’ve had many achievements in your career. What would you say has been your greatest accomplishment thus far?

SS: Flying to Nashville spontaneously, then ending up meeting John Rich and having him come to Los Angeles with me. That’s how we got together to co-write “I Never Loved at All,” which later won a Grammy. It was a gutsy move that ended up being one of the most amazing experiences of my career.

BE: So, what is the secret to writing a Grammy-award winning song?

SS: Not trying to write a Grammy-award winning song (laughs). When you’re writing songs, you can’t think about the money or success that will come from it. You have to put your heart and soul into it, and when you do that, the rest falls into place.

BE: What do you enjoy most about what you do?

SS: That I don’t have to buy anything or invest much to experience what I love. I’m doing what I love for a living, and it feels amazing. 

BE: Are there any other sorts of projects we can expect from you soon?

SS: I’m working with Jake Schneider, a developing singer and songwriter. He has some projects in the works. I’m also working with Guordan Banks, an R&B songwriter who has written for John Legend, and I have my own music coming out in a couple of months.