NASHVILLE, Tennessee- Years ago, a friend who was visiting told me about Marc Scibilia. We went to see him at an outdoor concert at Centennial Park. I was told he was recently featured in a Jeep commercial singing “This Land is Your Land.” That was in 2015 at the Super Bowl. To be honest, I hadn’t started blogging yet, so I didn’t pay much attention.
Scibilia hails from Buffalo, New York from a very creative family. He explained, “My family is artistically bent whether it’s cooking, music, or architecture. There is just a lot of creativity in my family line. My dad was a guitar player and my grandfather was a bass player and an orchestra director. I was kind of born with an instrument in my hand.”
Scibilia has been playing music since he was 4 years old. In high school, he played weddings and funerals, whatever he could to make a little extra money. When he was 16 years old his dad bought him a recording deck and he learned how to record music. At age 17, it was time to graduate and he didn’t really have any plans.
At that point, a guidance counselor asked sarcastically, “Are you just going to move to Nashville and write songs?”
Scibilia thought it was great advice and two months later, he moved. He has now been in Nashville for 15 years (with frequent visits to New York City).
An avid songwriter, Scibilia was 23 when he signed his first publishing deal with Sony ATV. He has a long-standing relationship with Sony and they continue to publish his music. He stated, “I’ve been fortunate to have a lot of the same people in my life which is not indicative of the music industry.”
Since his start, Scibilia has garnered over 125 million streams across various platforms. His stripped-down take on “This Land Is Your Land” scored the most Shazamed moment of the 2015 Super Bowl. His music featured in a variety of films, along with 5 EP’s and two full-length albums. Recorded in his basement studio, his latest project, his sophomore album, Seed of Joy was released in November of 2020, Seed of Joy is about the never-ending ups and downs of life.
The inspiration for Seed of Joy comes from when Scibilia was forced to put his burgeoning career on hold for the better part of 2019 when he welcomed his first child into the world while simultaneously caring for his ailing father, who would tragically pass away from brain cancer shortly thereafter.
A few days after his daughter was born, when his parents came to visit, he knew something was not right. His dad got a brain scan and was diagnosed with a terminal brain tumor which Scibilia states was “the worse day of my life.”
After his father passed, he chronicled the profound, emotional eleven-month journey on his riveting new album Seed of Joy, which he recorded alone in his studio in Nashville amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
His father passed in January of 2020, right before the shutdown. He was left time to process his feelings.
“I had a lot of realizations during that time and I just express myself with music,” the singer said. The only way he knew how to deal with the emotions was to put them into song.
Interestingly enough, a song that Scibilia wrote more than 10 years ago, “How Bad We Need Each Other”, has recently garnered international recognition. The song was used in an ad by Samsung where they implore us to stay apart but stay together.
He recorded the demo for “How Bad We Need Each Other” years ago when he was, “really poor.” He got a buddy to record a few songs for a couple of hundred dollars. “Somehow that demo got into the hands of somebody at Samsung at the beginning of the pandemic.” Instead of using a more polished version of the song, they used the old demo from twelve years ago.
He jokingly stated, “For some reason, my music helps people buy things that they may or may not need.”
Dubbed “The master of the whispered verse,” Scibilia shared on Twitter, “When I first started writing songs I thought you had to write universally to connect to a lot of people, now I realize you got to tell your own story and people find their own stories in your honesty.”
His latest single, “Rivals” exemplifies Scibilia’s mastery of the whispered verse turned into a soaring chorus. The song plays equally well at home, in sold-out venues, and on road trips with the windows down.
“I wrote ‘Rivals’ at a hotel Munich, Germany, while on tour with Robin Schulz,” Scibilia said. “We were playing these massive arena shows. It was a career highlight but it reminded me of the things that are most important to me. I always had my friends, family…the things that have no rivals.”
Another song from the Seed of Joy record, “I Care for You” is about the moment of understanding when you “realize you are not just a kid having fun anymore, you have to be responsible for people. I’m leading the way and I have to keep track of things. It’s a beautiful thing.” The lyrics And even when the waves come crashing down/ Even when the brave cannot be found/ You will find me/ I care for you now prove that Scibilia has reached a maturity that only enhances his songwriting abilities. And with a young daughter and newborn son, this song rings true more than ever.
However, his (and my) most preferred song on the album is a track called “90s.” He recalled, “It’s probably one of the most favorite songs I’ve ever written.” With lyrics like I’m a child of a baby boomer/ Who never got over the days of John F. Kennedy Jr./ Jesus saves and American-made was the way of the future/ Hallelujah, he is reminiscent of his hometown and the events that were part of his upbringing. Many will relate to this song about being a child of the 90s.
A new deluxe reissue of Seed of Joy is coming out on April 9. There will be an acoustic version of some songs and there may be other surprises that he is currently working on. Scibilia advised that didn’t want the original album to be too slow and sad, so he “juiced up” a bit of the production. With the deluxe version, several songs will be stripped back quite a bit.
Even though the pandemic is not the most advantageous time to release new music, Scibilia did it anyway, for himself, his dad, and his family.
“Music has given me a life. It has been a wonderful thing,” he said. “I wanted to share with people a little bit of joy and some of the emotion that got me through some difficult times.”
Scibilia lives in East Nashville with his wife and two children. In addition to producing his music, the independent artist likes creating his vision and doing what he thinks will be awesome. “I’m not really there yet. It takes time, but I think I am starting to get there and I think a lot of that has to do with my independence.”
Although Scibilia has a full studio in his basement where he writes, produces, and plays all the instruments, where he really shines is on the stripped-down acoustic versions of his songs where the lyric and his voice are all that is needed.
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