East Rutherford native Scott DeCarlo is known across the tri-state area for his highly energetic, engaging live performances; headlining his own shows as well as supporting national artists and taking part in NYC's inagural FarmBorough Festival--all the while continuing to work as a police sergeant. Recently, DeCarlo kindly took the time to talk about his love of performing, what's ahead and more.
You have been pursuing music for quite some time, do you also still continue to do police work?
I have always been into music, but there came a point where I needed to make a change or make it a hobby. After living in Nashville, I returned to New Jersey and believe it or not, I still work as a police sergeant. I have been back and forth for years [between both music and police work], but I realized that if I didn’t stick around long enough to get piece of a pension it wouldn’t be the smart move.
I love being a police officer and the honor in being a cop. Cops get a bad name today, but there’s not one cop out there that will tell you that they took this job so they could go out and manipulate people. They’re going to tell you they took the job because they seriously thought they could make a difference. The job affords me the ability to go out and play shows, travel and pay the bills.
Speaking of playing shows, you support many national country artists when they are in the tristate area and were a part of FarmBorough this year. Are there plans for new music?
This year I haven’t done many shows and to be honest, I’m not really upset about it. I have performed in Times Square with Lee Brice, who is a sweetheart of a guy, and Chris Young, but I don’t have management or an agent. The people that book me are the people that have heard of me by word of mouth and have heard about the show I put on. I say yes because I love to play. I am getting shows and traveling all over the country by word of mouth as opposed to having an agent say, “I’ll put you on this or that tour.”
I have a lot of music I have written over the past few years, three to four dozen songs, but haven’t had the money to record. I am working towards selecting what I want to put out next, but the business is very fickle. Everyone has their thumb on what they currently call pop country and I’m not really excited about it. I don’t want people telling me I have to sound like this or that, I just want to be me.
Would you consider a Kickstarter?
I don’t think it’s big enough on a fan level yet to do a Kickstarter. I have friends and family in the tristate area and scattered in other areas, but I don’t have a big machine behind me. So I don’t know if I would benefit from that at all and I wouldn’t want to be depressed about it if I didn’t make it (laughing).
So being that you are a police sergeant in New Jersey, do you see yourself continuing to go back and forth to Nashville?
I moved to Nashville years back because the people I was doing demos with were like your stuff is really great, you need to get here if you want to do this. I didn’t see why I would go there, but then moving there I knew I really wanted to learn how to write a better song and I think I’ve accomplished that. I learned that sometimes writing a song by yourself isn’t always the best way to go; sometimes a second mind is really a wonderful thing to have in a room with you.
I recently moved the majority of my stuff back to New Jersey and will go back and forth again as needed, but I don’t foresee myself living there full time. In Nashville, it’s all about the songwriting, not the about the performance. You go to a writer’s night, sit on a stool, listen to the lyrics and talk about how it’s well-crafted song. It’s not about the performance there and for me it’s all about performance. I have been a listener to music my entire life and the one thing that always stood out to me was performance, not necessarily the song itself. I want to be the person who is on stage and giving you every ounce of my energy. My motto is “if I’m not giving you all of me as a performer I don’t deserve to be giving you any of me.” You have to get the crowd to love you; you can’t just stand there and expect that because you have a radio single you’re going to be loved. I’ve opened for some of the largest acts in country music and some of them leave a lot of people wanting. They’re doing thirty-five minute sets and 40% of the show is cover songs. I think you have to put passion into a performance and not have it just be “this is a machine, let’s put machine together.” I’m not down on Nashville; there’s so much to learn there, such wonderful people, but it’s not for me. I learned a lot being there; I’m thankful and appreciative.
Finally, is there anything that you want to add?
I truly appreciate my fans. There are people who have been with me for years and have watched me grow and become the artist I am. It’s a wonderful ride. Every day as I go forward I look back on something that I did and those memories of the journey keep me going.
And the main thing I want people to know is that New Jersey is not the Jersey Shore or that Housewives show. There is beauty, country, farmland….and ask any national country artist and they’ll tell you that their craziest country fans are in New Jersey.
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