MATT Scullion is a name unfamiliar to many. However, country music fans will almost certainly have heard the Newcastle songwriter’s work.
In recent years Scullion has written 16 Australian country No.1 for artists like Tania and Lee Kernaghan, Travis Collins, Shea Fisher and The Viper Creek Band and shared a co-write with Ian Moss for Cold Chisel.
Now after seven years of working behind the scenes and brushing shoulders with the songwriting elite in Nashville, Scullion is stepping out into the spotlight with his own album I’m Just A Song, his first in a decade.
“I never gave up on being an artist, I just put it on the shelf because I had a record deal about 10 years ago and then that deal finished and I was offered a songwriting deal through a good friend of mine,” Scullion says.
“Part of that deal was going back to Nashville and concentrating on the songwriting side of things. So I decided to follow that.”
Finding time to record and release I’m Just A Song has been difficult due to Scullion’s high demand in the country music industry. He is regularly contacted by artists searching for their own piece of melodic gold.
“When I approach writing with artists I usually try to get the artist to have the idea, so then the idea comes from them and it’s something that they feel,” he says. “Then I just help mold that idea into something and help to bring that idea out of them.
“Whereas when I’m writing for myself, I already have an idea of what I want to say because I don’t start writing unless I have an idea. I don’t write a song for nothing, it usually stems from an idea about what somebody’s told me or something that someone’s said uncannily.”
Like most songwriters Scullion is a vast consumer of music. However, he says it’s important to keep one ear on the radio and the other on your heart.
“You don’t want to follow trends,” he says. “I don’t like to think I write like anybody else, I think I write like myself. It is bit of a trap as everyone is a product of their playlist.
“Many inexperienced writers tend to be too inspired by an artist and that’s not going do them any good because there’s already that artist out there. For me it all starts with an idea. A song is only as good as its idea. That’s my No.1 rule.”
It’s the song idea Scullion sold to his long-time friend Ian Moss that is among his proudest accomplishments. The bluesy track Shoot The Moon appeared on Chisel’s 2015 album The Perfect Crime, making Scullion one of only a handful of people from outside the band to ever receive a writing credit on the pub rock legends’ records.
“I was blown away,” he says. “The worst part was I was living in Nashville so I was telling everyone over there but no one knew who the bloody hell Ian Moss was or Chisel.
“Not that I was bragging, I was just really excited. So I had to do my bragging on Facebook to my Australian friends.”
Matt Scullion’s I’m Just A Song was released on Friday.
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