Film premiers at the New Hope Film Festival July 28
STORY WRITTEN BY ROB NAGY
For Digital First Media
Grammy Award winning songwriter and Philly native Scot Sax never imagined he would one day delve into the world of filmmaking.
His impending big screen debut is the new documentary “Platinum Rush,” a film that addresses the questions “What does it take to write a hit song?” and “What inspires a song?”
“I wanted to know why people write songs,” says Sax from his home in Nashville, Tennessee. “My goal was just to do it! Just to convey in a bit of an insiders look what it is that singer songwriters are really.”
“You hear, ‘I’m a singer songwriter,’” adds Sax. “You hear, ‘I’m a musician,’ and you don’t really know what that entails other than strumming a guitar and writing a song, and there’s just so much more to it. It just amazes me how much is behind something as simple as writing and performing, what it takes to do that and how one can navigate such a career and that kind of lifeline.”
Reaching out to the music community, Sax secured interviews with some of the most gifted songwriters in the business. Lisa Loeb, Oliver Wood, Eric Bazilian (The Hooters, Joan Osbourne’s “One of Us”), Ed Roland, Julie Gold (“From A Distance”), Ron Sexsmith, Steve Forbert, Diego Garcia, Anne McCue, Busbee and Louise Goffin (producer Carole King’s “A Holiday Carole” and duets with King on “Where You Lead,” theme to Gilmore Girls) are all prominently featured offering their insights on the art of songwriting, the rejection, the successes and the everyday challenges of being a songwriter.
“I didn’t have any connections in the music business before I became a songwriter, and I didn’t have any connections in the film business before I decided to make a film,” says Sax. ”The film brought me together with a lot of people. If I wasn’t a fan of theirs, I didn’t interview them. I had to really just be into the music they made. I didn’t know any of the people that I interviewed before, but they’re now friends of mine.”
“I took an insiders’ look because I was seeing it from all these different angles,” says Sax. “I was teaching songwriting at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. I was doing mentoring for anyone who was interested in career advice or songwriting help. Then I would go to Nashville and do songwriting sessions with these huge number one songwriting forces, really professional people. I was getting a snap shot of everything. I was like, ‘When I do all this stuff why don’t I just ask them why they write songs?’ I was originally going to call the movie, ‘Why?’”
“My dream is to have this as a handbook for singer songwriters,” adds Sax. “Something that you’d find in the luggage of a touring artist or a struggling singer songwriter, kind of like Jack Kerouac’s “On the Road” for the beatnik generation. I think this would be a great handbook on how one navigates such a career.”
Fronting the band “Wanderlust” (RCA Records) in the 90’s, Sax, whose film and TV songwriting credits includes “American Pie,” “Ghost Whisperer,” “NCIS,” “CSI: NY” and “Keeping up with the Kardashians,” rose to songwriting stardom penning the Faith Hill/Tim McGraw Grammy Award hit single “Like We Never Loved At All” in 2005.
“That’s the biggest success I ever had as a songwriter,” recalls Sax. “The experience was absolutely unbelievable. I just watched the song take off like a rocket ship. I didn’t even have to go anywhere (laughs). Just put on the television and Faith Hill is on Oprah Winfrey singing my song and the camera goes on Oprah and she’s mouthing along the words and so is the audience. It was just so great.”
“I’ve written songs all my life, and that was one of my biggest dreams,” adds Sax. “It was really exciting. After that everybody was saying, ‘Go back to Nashville again and write more songs — you’re hot.’”
“There are so many people writing songs. It’s common place,” says Sax. “It seems like a lot of people are doing it to be famous, just to be something, as opposed to just the craft. It just seems like a modern day gold rush, so that’s why I called the film “Platinum Rush.””
Sax and his wife Suzie Brown, a singer songwriter and Vanderbilt University cardiologist, relocated to Nashville, Tennessee in 2014. Touring as a duo, their impending debut album, “Our Album Doesn’t Like You Either,” is due for a fall 2015 release.
“For musicians, the floor of the world we were living in got pulled out from under us,” reflects Sax. “And I think something that dramatic takes a while to sink in, and I think it’s starting to. It’s one of those, if you’re on the Titantic and they say, ‘there’s a problem,’ half the people think….’oh, they’ll fix it.’ It’s a little like that. It’s taken a while for people to realize, ‘this is for real!’”
“At this point, I’ve actually been doing much more film, video and editing stuff,” adds Sax. “As far as the music, I get checks in the mail from songs that I wrote, but they’re not like they were. When you have a song come out like the Faith Hill/Tim McGraw song, there are huge checks. Then after that year they get smaller and smaller. I haven’t had an artist come out with one of my songs since the music business plummeted. I have no idea what’s going to come of it. We’ll see. “
“We make pretty good money doing our thing and travelling around playing coffee houses, clubs and house concerts,” says Sax. “We make enough money to pay for the tour and come home with a decent profit. It’s actually more of a guaranteed income than the other (laughs).”
“Platinum Rush” premiers at the New Hope Film Festival, New Hope, PA., on July 28, 2015.
Watch The Trailer For Platinum Rush Here:
For more on the New Hope Film Festival, check www.newhopefilmfestival.com
To stay up to date with Scott Sax, visit www.scotsax.com.