• Lillie Burke

Songwriters share room, sometimes a stage

Musicians. Songwriting majors. Belmont juniors.

These roommates have a lot in common, but don’t let their similarities fool you.

Although each has a style of music that falls under the folk-alternative genre, both Mackenzie Scott and Natalie Royal have their own individual styles.

Scott and Royal met in their first-year writing class and became roommates as juniors. Although they don’t write songs together, they often play the same shows and personally support and motivate each other.

Before they were good friends, Royal remembers Scott singing in the Thrailkill stairwell. She loved the sound of Scott’s voice and asked her to sing harmonies for her. Now, they sing backup for each other whenever they need harmonies onstage.

“Natalie is really good at pinpointing exactly what needs to go where in a song,” Scott said. “In that sense, I would consider it a collaboration of music.”

Scott, originally from Macon, Ga., discovered a passion for songwriting when she picked up the guitar in high school.

“[Belmont’s songwriting program] has gotten me familiar with the process of how it works, especially in the major industry scene like Music Row,” said Scott.“It’s definitely made me hone my own craft and has directed my path as far as where I do want to go and where I don’t want to go.”

Scott’s biggest influences as an artist are Ryan Adams and Brandi Carlile. She also admires the showmanship and stage presence of Johnny Cash and Joan Jett.

In March 2011, Scott released her first EP, “Hit and Run,” on iTunes. She expects to finish a full-length album by next year. In March, Scott is going on tour through Texas with Seth Reeves and Belmont students Cale Tyson and Jordan Hull.

Although they all have different music, Scott said, “We all write for ourselves. I think that’s the one thing we have in common.”

Tyson, a junior who thinks highly of Scott, said the tour has been in the works for months.

“I love her lyrics. Sometimes they’re just plain haunting,” he said. “Also, her use of harmonies in live performances just makes your jaw drop.”

While Scott developed her passion for songwriting during the past few years, Royal discovered her love for music at an early age.

“I feel like I was singing before I could talk,” she said.

Royal has come a long way since she started singing karaoke tracks and talent shows. She is now working on her first full-length album, which will feature 13 songs she has written during the past five years. The album should be out in late March.

Royal’s biggest influences are Laura Marling and Mindy Smith, but having her own style is important to her.

“I try not to pull my inspiration directly from other people,” she said. “I love it when, after a show, I get people telling me I sounded like 20 different people… because it lets you know you’re doing something right—sounding like yourself rather than sounding like other people.”

Since their musical styles complement each other well, some have wondered why these friends haven’t committed to a music duo.

“I think it would be interesting,” Scott said. “ I think we could do it well, but we’ve never attempted it.”

Royal agreed.

“I could see us collaborating at some point coming from a fresh standpoint like ‘We both are completely out of ideas. Let’s write a song together,’” she said.

In addition to sharing a love for music and songwriting, Royal and Scott also share their band members Bobby Chase, Melodie Morris and Jordan Williams.

Royal and Scott agree that Belmont has fostered their growth as artists by giving them access to resources and connections.

“None of this would have happened without Belmont,” Royal said. “I wouldn’t have met Mackenzie or any of the people I play with. Without Belmont, it wouldn’t have happened, but you have to take every possible opportunity.”

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