My Life Under the Covers – Weight of It All – Matt Nathanson

My Life Under the Covers

By Mary Scholz

Song Five: 

“Weight of It All” by Matt Nathanson

…The big game changer for me as a songwriter…

One girl, one guitar, one song, one iPhone, one take. It’s not perfect, and not as clean a quality as my new recording equipment. But that’s part of the beauty and the point of this song. Not perfect, not clean. Just real.

 

The year was 2003. It was the summer before my sophomore year of college – one of the most freeing summers I can remember. I was home from school, working as a teacher for a musical theatre camp near my parents’ house and hanging out with a group of kids from high school that I had never really spent much time with.

 

I saw John Mayer and Maroon 5 in concert at the Tweeter center. I started playing open mics. I reconnected with a boy I knew in high school…I had the first of my annual summer pool parties and we had chicken fights and listened to awesome music all night.  At the end of that night I was handed a mix cd that just read “Matt Nathanson.”

 

What I knew was that I was being handed a compilation of songs this boy thought I would enjoy by an artist I’d never heard. What I didn’t know was that I was being handed a compilation of songs by an artist that would intensely shift the way I listened to and wrote music. That would change the way I saw concerts and experienced songwriters.

 

(Matt would probably be happy to know that, not too many nights later, I made out with that boy to that cd)

 

One of the songs on the mix cd was “Weight of It All,” off of Matt’s 2002 release, “When Everything Meant Everything.” It was his last independent release before his first project with Universal. The song was later recorded for “Beneath These Fireworks,” which was released in October of 2003 (just two months after hearing of him the first time).  By the time that album came out I was already a hard-core Nathanson fan. I went to see him play for the first time at Princeton that September with my friend Rick. He played on a tiny raised “stage” in a small room where we had to sit against the wall because there wasn’t really seating and it wasn’t really a venue.

 

I went to see him in coffee houses and learned the way a musician communicates with their audience.  He performed multiple times at “The Point” in Bryn Mawr, a legendary music café and coffee house where I spent my summers playing open mics. (Formerly called “The Main Point”) Billy Joel, Elton John, Bill Wither, Bonnie Raitt, Stevie Wonder, Jimmy Buffett…they had all graced the same stage.  He was from Massachusetts but he lived in San Francisco and recorded his live album right there are The Point the following summer. I was in the audience. He actually talks to me on the album.  Seeing him live is always a damn good time. You have to be prepared for dirty humor and the chance you’ll get teased from the stage. The man in entertaining, hilarious and a fantastic musician. He’s one of those people that you can see in every motion just how much they love music.

(From his show at the TLA in Philly, April 2005. I love this photo)

 

So this song in particular has always stuck out to me. I’m not sure what it is really, just something about the sentiment of not really being known by the people you are most intimate with. My favorite line by far is

 

“I spent days, stupid, nailed to your floor

And I spent nights, pushed against you

Trying to keep warm

But you don’t know me at all…”

 

… trying to feel warmth from someone who isn’t reciprocating…Or who you know really isn’t truly looking at you.

 

Or the opening…

 

“I’m weak when you miss me

When you roll me on your tongue

When you whisper me your best moves

I almost believe you

But you don’t know me at all. “

 

Okay I love the lyrics. All of them. Of all of Matt’s songs, this one has always resonated with me the most. And I like the original version better than the second. That’s the version I’m covering here.

 

Matt doesn’t play coffee houses anymore. He’s had big hits and collaborated with awesome artists, touring through big venues like Radio City Music Hall. And it seems nowadays I can’t go into a department store, restaurant or coffee shop without hearing one Matt Nathanson song or another playing overhead. And that has been a fantastic journey to watch.

 

Matt Nathanson – thanks for lessons in songwriting, communicating with your audience, knowing yourself and not being afraid to be honest about it through your music. Here’s to collaborating one day.

 

(And thanks to the boy, Brandon, who I still call a great friend, for handing over that mix cd.)

Matt signing “Weight of It All” Live – not the best sound quality but it gives a good idea of him with the crowd…

After seeing him perform the first time: Rick and I with Matt at Princeton, September 2003 (I look so young!)

 

Christmas – Coming Home, “Naughty or Nice,” and fan submitted photos

Well it’s been a busy few weeks! But let’s start with this: I am SO excited to get back home to Philadelphia for Christmas!

 

I know a lot of people who are far from home most of the year and are excited to be traveling back to their families and where they grew up over the holidays…so this song is for all of the gypsies headed home, and all of the amazing people that I can’t wait to hug! I put together this acoustic version of “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” as my gift to you, so make sure to download it (free) and add it to your holiday playlist!

I also put together a little video to go with the song, so if you are interested to see how the Scholz’s celebrate Christmas, here’s a little taste. Plus you get to see me recording the song as well 🙂

“Naughty or Nice”

 

Who caught “Naughty or Nice” on the Hallmark Channel? It’s original air date was November 24th but it will be airing all holiday season, so if you missed it, check your local listings to see when it’s back!

 

According to their numbers, “Naughty or Nice” was the highest rated movie of the year for Hallmark – so I’m pretty excited to have been a part of that!

My first time watching was at the same time as all of you (west coasters) so I got some friends together and cozied up with milk and cookies (chocolate chip, of course) to kick off the holiday season.

 

Fan Submitted Photos:

 

Thank you to everyone who sent in photos – both of me on their tvs or them with me on their tvs!

Here are some of my favorites!

Anna and Lucas – some of my smallest and most adorable fans!

I’m on the big screen in Hermosa Beach! Thanks to Matt and Bryan for sending this one in!

Jimmy, Mary and Hilarie…and a Christmas tree!

My Mama and the Movie Poster!

For more photo fun, check out www.facebook.com/maryscholzmusic

My Life Under the Covers – “The Middle” – by Jimmy Eat World

My Life Under the Covers
by Mary Scholz

Song Three:
“The Middle” by Jimmy Eat World


 

Here we go high school, here we go!

 

It was 2001, the fall of my senior year of high school.  AOL Instant messenger was still cool. Personalizing your profile with different colors and smiley icons was important. We had a family computer in the family room (of course) and I was once again bemoaning the actions of my first love and high school sweetheart to my best friend, Jimmy.

 

I was also frustrated with school, gossiping classmates, college auditions and choices and life in general. And after typing away my troubles to my buddy on the other side of the computer screen and a few towns away, he sent me these lyrics…

 

“It just takes some time little girl

You’re in the middle of the ride

Everything, everything will be just fine

Everything, everything will be alright, alright…”

 

In one of those “discover largely underground music because you’re young and resourceful and it makes you feel super cool” moments I had found Jimmy Eat World’s 1999 release, Clarity, and loved it. I truly don’t remember who turned me on to the band in the first place – most likely that same boy I was lamenting about to Jimmy. But their song “The Middle” was on their next release, their fourth album, titled Bleed American, which was changed to a self-titled album following the September 11th attacks.

 

Anyway, going back to the family room and the instant messenger…

Jimmy went on to send me the lyrics to the rest of the song, which begins as follows:

 

Hey, don’t write yourself off yet

It’s only in your head you feel left out

Or looked down on

Try your best

Try everything you can

And don’t you worry what they tell themselves when you’re away.”

 

Those lyrics leapt off of my computer screen and hit me like a ton of bricks – a warm, fuzzy, loving and empowering ton of bricks. I still recall it as one of the biggest moments of understanding of friendship and love in my life. Such a small gesture, but one of honest caring from someone I cared about so much myself.

 

I still call Jimmy my best friend today, and somehow that song ALWAYS appears, be it on the radio or after hitting shuffle on my iPod, just when I need that extra boost of confidence and that loving reminder that I will be just fine. It’s only fitting that the name of the band would be Jimmy Eat World.

 

“Hey, you know they’re all the same

You know you’re doing better on your own

So don’t buy in

Live right now

Just be yourself

It doesn’t matter if it’s good enough for someone else.”

 

Hey, don’t write yourself off yet

It’s only in your head you feel left out

Or looked down on

Just do your best

Do everything you can

And don’t you worry what their bitter hearts are gonna say.”

 

“It just takes some time little girl

You’re in the middle of the ride

Everything, everything will be just fine

Everything, everything will be alright, alright…”

 

FUN FACTS about The Middle:

 

Jimmy Eat World recorded their fourth album, Bleed American, independently after having been dropped from Capitol Records in 1999.

The album was then picked up and shopped by DreamWorks Records in 2001 – but it was written and recorded independently, meaning Jimmy Eat World’s biggest hit was created without label involvement.

 

Awesome. And too bad for Capitol Records. 

The Original:

Look UP

*written two weeks before posting – so by “today” I mean two weeks ago…*

The other night I went to the Phillies game at Dodgers Stadium with my good friend Kevin. It seems like every time we’re out I see someone I know, so he bet me that this time I wouldn’t.  Just a few minutes later I looked up behind us in our section and all the way at the top was my sister’s friend from high school, as well as his brother, who I had gone to high school with and done a few shows with.

“How did you even see them??”
“I looked up!”
“Why would you look up?”
“Why wouldn’t I look up?”
A couple of months ago I had to move to a different apartment and one of the things I was sad to lose was being able to see palm trees from my windows. Especially first thing in the morning.
Well, this morning I walked out the side door and for the first time walking out that door, I finally looked UP.
Something shot through me just when I saw that tree. Not just hope for happiness and calm, but understanding of that everything you need is right there…if only you’d just LOOK UP.

My Life Under the Covers: “Baby, Baby” by Amy Grant

My Life Under the Covers

By Mary Scholz

 

Song One:

Baby, Baby by Amy Grant

It’s hard to say when my affection for Amy Grant music started – as long as I can remember I was singing along with her. In the car, on my tape deck (yeah tape deck!), with my Mom and most specifically with my cousins Joe and Mary Liz and my Aunt Maureen.

 

I can remember riding in the back seat of my aunt’s station wagon, headed past a big green grassy field somewhere in Delaware on a hot summer day, headed for the yard sales we had found and circled in the newspaper.  I’m not sure how old I was, but it was right after Amy’s “House of Love” album came out and we were singing along with THAT tape. If I close my eyes I can still feel the warm wind whipping past my hair through the windows as we sang along.  I may still have the empty Coke-a-Cola bottle that was painted all different colors – my big find at the yard sales that day.

 

“Baby Baby” was released as a single on January 18, 1991 , putting me in the first grade.  The album name was “Heart in Motion” – by far my favorite Amy Grant album. (That and “A Christmas Album,” released in 1983…pre-Mary!) “Heart in Motion” was released in March of ’91 and went on to sell five million copies by the end of ’97. It was Amy’s first non-Christian album (although it did see those themes occasionally throughout). I recently purchased it on vinyl – you could say I was semi excited to find it hiding in the heavy metal section of a record store in Havre de Grace, Maryland.

 

There are so many songs on that album that I love, but I chose “Baby Baby” because it was the first song I heard off of the album that would eventually become one of my all time favorites.

 

I had the opportunity to see Amy in concert a few years ago – and by that I mean my Mom and Dad took me for Christmas J – she was phenomenal.  It was the anniversary tour for “Lead Me On,” the album that preceded “Heart in Motion,” so they didn’t play any of my very favorite tunes….but her encore was “Tennessee Christmas” off of “A Christmas Album,” so I was pretty darn pleased about that.

 

I used to love watching Amy in interviews – I most specifically remember her being on Oprah alongside Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston (two other musical influences of my childhood) and talking about how she didn’t feel she belonged up on stage next to these two huge voices. But it was something about the subtlety of her voice that was so appealing to me. You could just feel her through it.  And I remember singing along and feeling like I could feel my own emotion in it. Back in the purest, “I sing in front of the mirror because I can’t get enough of it” days.

My Life Under the Covers: Explained


My Life Under the Covers Explained

By Mary Scholz

 

What IS the “My Life Under the Covers” project?

 

A few months ago I was putting together a book of cover songs to have available to me when I performed down at the 3rd Street Promenade in Santa Monica, California. I was also compiling new covers to throw into sets at shows where the crowd seemed a little on the rowdy side, or where people had already heard the ones I love to play so much.
Then I got thinking about some of my all time favorite songs. Why had I never learned to play and perform those? I had always wanted to play the guitar and piano so that I could write all of the songs that were pent up inside of me, and so that when it came time to perform, I didn’t have to rely on anyone but myself to make it happen. But my desire to get my own music written down left me skipping what is usually everyone’s first step: learning to play the songs that made you love music in the first place.
But I didn’t want to just learn the songs. I wanted to learn about why they meant so much to me; to get to know myself a little better. And I wanted to share that with you;  so that you might get to know me a little better too.

 

So I decided that I was going to start a project – the My Life Under the Covers project.

 

Step One: Make a list. The list must consist of the songs that most seriously influenced or inspired me – either as a musician or a human being, struggling with the ongoing changes or life.

 

Step Two: Figure out why these songs meant so much to me. Why did they come to mind right away when thinking about the soundtrack of my life?

 

Step Three: Write it down.

 

Step Four: Make a simple, home recording of the song to attach to each individual song blog, and make it available as a free download to everyone reading.

 

Just a little piece of me, reaching out to a little piece of you.

 

I hope you enjoy.

(This project will also serve as a lead up to the release of the music video for “Hide,” which is where this photo comes from!)

The Arts Saves Lives – Help Save the Arts

It’s taken me two full weeks to figure out what I wanted to say about this. I’ve written many versions of this blog, but when I woke up today I realized what it was that I really wanted to say. It’s not going to be very eloquent – in fact I think it’s going to get a little choppy. But I just want to get to the point.

 

The Arts saves lives. It has continually, throughout my entire life, been an irreplaceable outlet for me. It has saved my life numerous times.

 

The world knows me as a positive, happy person. Which is the truth. But I have my undercurrent of sadness and  points of depression. And one of the things that continually came to my aid in these times was the arts. Music. Acting. Painting. Writing. I don’t know where I would be today without them. Certainly not living the life I am or pursuing this career. I know for a fact that I wouldn’t be as happy, or feel as fulfilled. I was made to do these things – born to lead a life pursuing the arts. What would have happened if I was never provided with the education that taught me just how to use the things I felt inside of me?

 

What about the kids who maybe aren’t born to pursue a career in the arts but learn how to communicate through music, or find therapy in painting? What about the ones who learn how to make friends because they find common ground with their classmates who also feel the need to be on stage?

 

Education in the arts is not just about learning a craft, but developing crucial communication skills that can and will be applied later no matter what other field a person eventually enters. Additionally, the arts allows a person to communicate not just with others, but with themselves. Learning about yourself and learning to have love and confidence in yourself is one of the most important lessons you can learn in school.

 

As a voice teacher, my favorite moments with students are the ones where you can see them become proud of themselves – proud of their work. No longer afraid to let their voice be heard because they know that it matters. Because it does matter.

 

An arts education provides learning about cultures all over the world. Cultures that our children need to learn about to better understand how our world moves. How economies work. What is held sacred to others. Understanding each other is the only way the world can move forward in a positive way. Learning about passions expressed through art from all over the world helps provide that understanding.

 

You may not connect with another person because you come from two very different locations and upbringings. But what about that moment when you both realize that you have the same favorite song that came to your aid in a time of suffering or crisis. Suddenly you understand something about each other. A huge step towards having compassion for those who are different from you.

 

Education in the arts allowed me to learn about myself, kept me from bringing harm to myself when I was in my darkest moments, and helped bring light to my life every day.

 

Don’t discount the power of education in the arts just because you think it is not applied to life as readily as math or science. It is applied daily, in everyone’s lives – musicians, accountants, engineers, teachers, actors, mechanics. We are all alike – please don’t take away what teaches us that this is true.

Please sign this petition to keep the arts in the Upper Darby School District.

www.saveudarts.org

POP Awards and ASCAP Expo

It was an exciting week for music last week here in Hollywood! Wednesday April 18th was the ASCAP Pop Awards at the Renaissance Hollywood Hotel where the writers and performers of the last year’s top Pop songs were honored. I had the opportunity to work the event as an escort for the red carpet. Basically this meant that I would walk the red carpet with attendees and let the press know who was coming up.

 

My first trip down the red carpet was with Grammy Award Winning songwriter and performer Dan Wilson. Some of you might recognize him from his days as a member of the band Semisonic – and for writing their hit song, “Closing Time.” Most recently he won Grammys for co-writing and producing the song “Someone Like You” with/for Adele. Here is a link of his acoustic version of the song! I did get a little video of him singing it at the award ceremony but not a long enough clip to post myself.

 

In the forefront of this picture is Peter Frampton being interviewed, with Dan Wilson just behind him. Not two seconds after I took this photo Jane Fonda made her way down the carpet and I was standing between three insanely talented and successful individuals. I loved that moment 🙂

Here is the beautiful Katy Perry walking the red carpet! Her song “Firework” was honored that night.

The Expo itself was filled with great panel discussions on songwriting, music as a business, marketing, touring and more. Some of the highlights for me was getting to hear Carly Simon speak (she received the lifetime achievement awards at the Pop Awards), bumping in to Eric Bazillion and watching The Smeezingtons (Bruno Mars, Phillip Lawrence and Ari Levine) entertain the crowd of songwriters and artists. Here is a small clip of those shenanigans 🙂

 

But my FAVORITE part as always is hearing from the songwriters behind the hits – people whose names or faces you might not recognize but whose work is the soundtrack of your life. People like Sam Hollander (Train’s “Marry Me”, Toby Gad (Fergie’s “Big Girls Don’t Cry”), Brian Kennady (Kelly Clarkson’s “Mr. Know It All”), JT Harding (Kenny Chesney’s “Somewhere With You”), Chris DiStefano (Jana Kramer’s “Why You Wanna”) and so many more.
As usual, it was an inspiring and insightful three days and I am so glad to have been a part of it! Thank you so much to ASCAP for always providing their members with excellent resources for furthering our careers!

 

(Read up on what ASCAP is doing to help secure copyright and intellectual property laws for creators and songwriters like myself!)

This is a photo of me and my good friend Tiffany Gilman on the red carpet last Wednesday. Such a fun event! Thanks to Bobbi Marcus PR for having me!

This last photo is me with two awesome songwriters and friends of mine, Jill Krachmer and Elyse Haren. We realized it had been exactly one year since we met and became friends (at last year’s Expo) so we cheesed up the photo a bit. But hey, it was a big deal for me meeting fabulous women who would become a few of my best friends in my new home!

I hope you enjoyed this little taste of Expo week in Hollywood – I’ll be checking in again soon!

Busy Bee…Music Videos, Filming,

It’s April already? We’re knee deep in editing for the “Water Rising” music video and “Hide” is almost ready for your viewing pleasure as well!! Here’s a couple of screen shots…

 

In case you didn’t catch it (which you probably didn’t because I didn’t really tell anyone about it…) here is a screen shot of me in 90210 – it was the music festival episode and you can see me walking around a few times as well as right behind the main characters here…

I’ve also been a busy bee working on “Angry Video Game Nerd: The Movie” on the production end, doing some location scouting, extras casting and Assistant to the Directors on set. I’ll also be working as an actor for the film closer to the end of the shoot. I love working with this crew – it’s been a great experience! I’ll post more photos as the shoot goes on.

So I’m keeping busy!

On  a more personal note, I’m endlessly enjoying the beautiful weather and hiking that Los Angeles has to offer…here’s a shot from a hike I took to the Hollywood sign on Easter Sunday!

 

 I hope all is well with you – Happy Spring!!

 

PSU – Hollywood Dance-A-THON

Wait wait, we’re 29 days into the new year and I haven’t posted yet?

 

Shameful! 🙂

Well if anything you know I’ve been busy.  But before I back track, let’s start with today!

 

Starting at 2pm I will be dancing as a part of Penn State Los Angeles Alumni’s Hollywood Dance-A-THON with my friend Matt, who is a PSU alum. What is THON, you ask? Great question. It’s like running a marathon for charity, but instead you raise money and promise to dance for hours and hours straight! This yearly event (with the main event hosted at PSU for a full 46 hours…we only dance 6 here in Hollywood) is a very familiar and important one to my family, as the fundraiser is to raise money for pediatric cancer research and awareness. As some of you may know, my family lost my beautiful six year old cousin Tyler to neuroblastoma in 1997. His sister, my cousin Megan, has been participating heavily in this event for years. This is the first year that I have had the opportunity to participate and I am so excited to do so.

 

To read more about this cause and to donate money, please visit THIS WEBSITE – I’m pushing all donations to Matt’s page!

 

It seems to have been a Penn State themed week for me – I think last night was the only day of the week that I didn’t see at least one PSU alum…I am not one myself (UArts baby!) but as it a big school for my family and a lot of my friends (not to mention the many many weekends I spent there in college), between THON, JoePa, football, crazy travel stories to get there and the giant margaritas at Mad Mex, there was a lot of blue and white chatter going on.

 

Penn Sate is usually known for all of those things – football, parties and post-party-pizza…but what it should be known for is the work it has done with the largest student run philanthropy in the world. They’ve raised over 78 Million dollars benefitting the Four Diamonds Fun at Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital.

 

I plan to live stream a little bit from the event on my phone if I have decent enough cell reception – we’ll be dancing from 2-8pm pacific and you can access my UStream page HERE.

 

Have a wonderful rest of your weekend everyone, and thank you in advance for your donations!

 

“When they say ‘We Are Penn State,’ this is what they are talking about.” – Joe Paterno

 

(For more info about THON and how to get involved, visit www.thon.org)