Scullin’s emotional songs reflect her soul-searching journey.
There’s a pile of reasons the title of local songstress Katie Scullin’s debut album, Pieces, is particularly apropos. Over the two years it took her to complete it, she and her bandmates recorded parts of it in six different places: her living room, her kitchen, her parents’ cabin and three different professional studios.
Then there’s the emotional stuff, which is a little more difficult to untangle.
Pieces is a culmination of a lot of hard work and soul-searching for Scullin, a full-voiced vocalist who’s had no shortage of early-career success. She won SummerFest’s Emerging Artist award while fronting the band Rivalries in 2009, has multiple Madison Area Music Awards in her trophy case and won 105.5 Triple M’s Studio M competition as recently as 2014. Even with all of that in her corner, Scullin’s had to overcome a few emotional obstacles.
“I was at a point in my career when I wasn’t sure how to accomplish being a full-time musician,” says Scullin, who’s also mom to a 5-year-old. “There were definitely points of crash and burn, of asking myself, ‘Is this special enough to be something?’”
It doesn’t take more than a single spin through the disc’s 11 tracks to get that the answer’s “yes” — and to see how it reflects her journey. The album’s opening track, “Whitney,” isn’t named for a particular person, but encapsulates the struggle to rise above feelings of self-doubt to keep pursuing your dreams.
“Porch Hangs,” one of Scullin’s personal faves, is a slower track she actually began writing way back in 2009, while watching a thunderstorm come in soon after her boyfriend had been deployed to Iraq. The backbeat hits like the first raindrops on wooden planks before the song builds to a power-driven ballad fueled by contemplative lyrics, ending up with Scullin looping the words, “running around in my head.”
That has some current personal resonance, too. Now that she’s mastered the art of recording and releasing an album, the inevitable challenge of marketing it rolls in. Scullin is hoping to get to the point of being able to tour, and wants to turn her attention to writing and recording some acoustic numbers. For now, she’ll rock the songs in local clubs. She’ll host an album pre-release party at Funk’s Pub in Fitchburg on Feb. 17. As Scullin notes, it’s almost exactly two years after she began recording it.
It sounds like the final piece just fell into place.