Speakers

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Scott Billington, Vice President, A&R, Rounder Records

With over 100 albums to his credit, among them the Grammy winners, twelve Grammy nominees, and many other award winners, record producer Scott Billington balances a broad musical background and a keen ear with a knack for bringing out the best in the artists with whom he works. Scott makes records which are renowned not only for their production values, but for their soulfulness. As half of the duo Tangle Eye, he has brought an uncommonly organic sensibility to the art of the remix. Scott has also been active in the music industry as a writer, multi-media author, graphic designer and musician.

Along with recordings by such legendary American musicians as Ruth Brown, Charlie Rich, Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown, Solomon Burke, Boozoo Chavis, Irma Thomas and Johnny Adams, Scott was involved early-on with such roots music innovators as Buckwheat Zydeco (his first national album, which was a Grammy nominee), the Dirty Dozen Brass Band and Beau Jocque. For Rounder Records, he created the label’s highly-regarded Modern New Orleans Masters series. Newsweek called the series “the best possible introduction to the deep, rich world of pop music made in New Orleans.”  He has worked with musicians as diverse as the African soukous superstar Tabu Ley Rochereau, trumpet legend Dizzy Gillespie and Boston’s Klezmer Conservatory Band.

The body of Scott’s work is characterized by a respect for tradition, but with a forward-looking vision that often inspires his artists to achieve the same. His roots-oriented records make full use of contemporary technologies and ideas, especially on remix projects such as the Tangle Eye album, Alan Lomax’s Southern Journey Remixed. Yet, his work is ultimately about the pursuit of qualities such as emotion, spontaneity and engaged musicianship. “I like to create situations where the music actually happens, and to capture that on tape,” says Scott. “There’s an emphasis on pre-production — finding songs, working on musical arrangements and hiring the right players — but I leave room for accidents. I try to make records that surprise and move people”

As a writer, Scott’s work has appeared in the Oxford American,Gambit, the Boston Globe and numerous other publications. He has lectured at Harvard University, the New England Conservatory of Music, and Loyola University, and at several Grammy in the Schools events. He is the author of Allons en Louisiane, an interactive CD ROM.

Scott has worked for Massachusetts-based Rounder Records for over thirty five years, currently serving as Vice President of A&R. In fact, Scott met the three owners of Rounder Records before they had actually founded the company. He lives with his wife, the children’s author and musician Johnette Downing, in New Orleans.