Former child actor turned Grammy-winning producer Dennis Scott, recounts his journey from auditioning for commercials with dyed black hair to producing hit albums for Sesame Street and learning to let the musicians do their thing.
With a start on Broadway at just seven years old, Dennis quickly learned what it takes to make it in the business. After his time as a child actor, he joined the New Christie Minstrels, a popular folk group, and began writing songs. Dennis eventually became a powerhouse producer and songwriter in the music industry, working with some of the biggest names out there. With his vast experience and knowledge, Dennis is sure to offer invaluable advice for aspiring musicians.
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In this episode:
- The Impact of Mr. Rogers
- The Role of a Producer
- Staying Grounded in the Midst of Fame
- Humble Beginnings
“The first thing I tell these kids, you better develop a strong sense of protection and put some armor around you cuz it’s a world of rejection, and just it never ends no matter how many Grammys you win.” Dennis Scott
“So it was a baptism by fire. I just, you know, took what I knew, and then I relied upon bringing talented people to surround me, and it won a Grammy. So, I thought, okay, here I am.” Dennis Scott
“The producer is the guy who bakes the cake.” Dennis Scott
“And it does have that, a little bit of that we of the world, but it really was a love letter to Mr. Rogers.” Dennis Scott
“Fred Rogers was a good musician. He was a consummate musician.” Dennis Scott
Two-time Grammy Award-winning songwriter/producer/writer DENNIS SCOTT has left no corner of the children’s music industry unexplored.
His songs have been performed by such diverse artists as Faith Hill, Ray Charles, Sugarland, Alison Krauss, The Muppets, Amy Grant, CeCe Winans, Trisha Yearwood, Elmo, Charlie Daniels Band, Shari Lewis, Crystal Gayle, Roberta Flack, Ricky Skaggs, and many others.
Dennis is also the recipient of two Emmys, a Parent’s Choice Award, and a Telly. You can hear his work on television, radio, audiobooks, home videos, and stage productions such as “Clifford the Big Red Dog,” “Sesame Street Live,” and “The Magic School Bus.”
Dennis began his entertainment career at the age of 7 as an actor on Broadway. As an adult, he toured with the New Christy Minstrels (playing upright bass and singing). His novelty tune “Captain Kirk’s Disco Trek” led to his first serious foray into children’s music and a Grammy for “Sesame Country.” He has had nonstop assignments since then.
Dennis has served a music director for several children’s TV shows, including the PBS series “Noddy” and, most recently, “BJ’s Teddy Bear Club” which airs on TBN and just earned him his second Emmy award. His album, “Songs From the Neighborhood – the Music of Mister Rogers” won last year’s Grammy award as Best Musical Recording for Children.
Recently Dennis fulfilled his own childhood dream by spearheading a Beatles tribute band called The WannaBeatles. The band has grown in popularity and was even nominated for a Grammy in the spoken word category for an audiobook collection of interviews with Beatles fans called, “Fab Fan Memories – The Beatles Bond.”
When your childhood heroes are people like Danny Kaye, Jack Benny and Jerry Lewis, you can’t help but have a silly side to you. Creating and producing music, particularly children’s music, allows me to be as silly and creative as I want to be. And playing in a Beatles band makes me feel like a rock star. “Now that’s my kind of job description!”