She’s been called a “force of nature” by the LA Music Awards, which, in 2010, awarded the former Brit—now U.S. citizen—with best album and best single for her recording “Woman On Top.” A part-time Malibu resident for more than 20 years who finally settled here full-time eight years ago, musician Zoe Scott has just recorded her valentine to Malibu—a place she calls her “sanctuary.”
As an indie rock musician, “I was very blessed, but my label closed,” the singer explained. “It was heartbreaking for me. After a 10-year run in the rock world, all I could think of was I needed a sabbatical. I wanted to get out of Hollywood and I wanted to just walk by the ocean in Malibu for a period to figure out what I wanted to do next. I love the ocean. I find the ocean to be deeply healing.” Scott actually studied healing practices with a teacher in Malibu. There she met her current partner, John, a widower. “We were both a little fragile,” Scott admitted, adding, “but we began this beautiful love story.”
After her partner heard one of her rock albums, he encouraged Scott to try something different.
“His father was a jazz singer and, after he heard my album, he said, ‘You should be a jazz singer.’ I thought that’s an interesting idea,” the vocalist explained. For the couple’s first Valentine’s Day together, Scott made some recordings. “I wanted to sing some songs to him that his father had sung to his mother.” Scott hired a pianist who had played with the great Eartha Kitt and surprised her boyfriend with “these beautiful jazz songs.”
“He was completely over the moon,” Scott described. So, she decided to study jazz and, specifically, Brazilian jazz—Bossa Nova.
“My boyfriend told me how Rio was like Malibu with the gorgeous ocean and landscape,” she said. “When I heard the songs of Antonio Carlos Jobim, I fell in love with them and I completely fell in love with singing them.” After singing for various Malibu neighbors, Scott said, “I found people loved them, too.”
Scott has recorded “Shades of Love,” which premiered Oct. 2. The album, recorded in Rio de Janiero, features lush string arrangements and includes Bossa Nova standards as well as pop and rock tunes reimagined in the Brazilian jazz style. The sultry songstress honored tradition by enlisting guitarist Torcuato Mariano and Daniel Jobim, the grandson of one of the genre’s founding fathers, to play piano on two of his grandfather’s most iconic songs.
“Shades of Love” was produced by 10-time Grammy winner Moogie Canazio—the producer of Bossa Nova giant Joao Gilberto’s last album.
“I told Moogie I wanted to create an album with all the shades of love in it and he said, ‘That’s a great title.’ I feel like Malibu’s a very loving place. It’s the home to this album. I feel like this album is a soothing balm to rub on these troubled times. Hopefully it brings a bit of love and relaxation—like being in Malibu.”
“These songs are full of the ocean, sun—all the things we love in Malibu. They have a bit romance and luxury,” Scott described, comparing them to the golden Brazilian history of the late ‘50s early ‘60s Bossa Nova music explosion. “These beautiful songs fit with my new lifestyle and my new love.”
“Shades of Love” is available to stream on Spotify. The music video for the song “Quiet Nights” premiered last month on YouTube.
“Malibu is such a wonderful, inspiring place that I love so much it inspired me to create my best album,” Scott said. “I love the spirit of Malibu. Wonderful people. The love and support I’ve received from people here helped me create this. It’s a Malibu baby.”