We had the good fortune of connecting with Scarlet and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Scarlet, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
Music seems to have been the first memory that I recall. I can still see glimpses of myself as a child, sitting on the piano bench, my little chubby fingers reaching across the black and white keys, trying to match the pitch of the song I had learned that day in pre-school. I kept playing the keys over and over, until they seemed to sound right to me. My grandfather, Pete Jolly, was an impeccable jazz pianist from the West Coast, well known for his work on movie scores, compositions, and his own personal music. He is the reason we had a piano in the living room. I was three when I became knowledgeable in playing piano.

I grew up in a chaotic household as an only child. My parents got married and never loved each other. Most of my childhood family memories were lengthy arguments between my mother and father, to which I ended up learning my extensive vocabulary of swear words, courtesy of my father. I’d go in my room and sing as loud as I possibly could, or turn up the volume on my iPod shuffle to drown out the noise.

In school, it was always clear that I took an interest in music far more than other subjects, leading to a distinct proficiency in my performance and passion versus my peers in music class. Everyday after elementary school, I went home and learned new songs that I had taken a liking to, learning every word and mimicking the sounds of the artist that I was listening to.

The first time I performed in front of a crowd was in 3rd grade. My elementary school had a “Variety Show’. Katy Perry was my favorite artist around this time, so I had my heart set on performing her hit song “Firework”. I fell in love with the feeling of everyone watching me, and the satisfaction of how it felt it perform well. After that moment, I surrounded myself with music in every aspect. I auditioned for my school musicals, enrolled in local dance, theatre, and acting classes. I knew then this was something I wanted to feel for the rest of my life.

My parents were convinced (at first) that this interest of mine was just a phase, something that I would grow out of, like most children with curious and quickly developing minds do! I carried this ‘hobby” of mine to middle school where I continued being involved in Performing Arts, then high school. I joined my high school’s choir, which was a very different and more technical experience as an artist. Being involved in musical theatre, you don’t learn much about sight-reading, solfege, vocal technique, etc. These things came as a challenge to me at first, and took me until the end of my senior year to become remotely comfortable with. But at this point, I was obsessed with music. I took interest and idolized my peers around me who were so proficient in music theory and looked up to them. My choir teacher and voice coach were both hard on me but in the best way possible. They inspired me and made me feel confident in my abilities. Being in an environment where music was taken so seriously pushed me in such a way that completely dazzled me.

Then came the end of high school, when it was time to make serious decisions about what I wanted to do for the next 4 years of my life that led to the rest of my existence. I knew my parents wanted me to major in something practical, but I knew I would be absolutely miserable if I had to do anything other than music. All I wanted to do was sing, so I decided that is exactly what I would do. I auditioned for countless universities and music programs in New York, Nashville, Boston, and Los Angeles. I was accepted into some acclaimed programs for Musical Theatre, but it didn’t seem enough for me.

Throughout the course of my high school years, I had been diagnosed with clinical depression, general anxiety disorder, BDD, PTSD, and an eating disorder. It ate away at me slowly, and I diminished it with countless anti-depressants and unhealthy coping mechanisms for the trauma I had endured. I felt like a burden to every person in my life, and I could not stand the fact that I had to live in my body the rest of my life. The only thing circulating through my brain was truly, how much I wanted to be dead. I’d walk around wishing that horrible things would happen to me, so that I did not have to do it myself. The only thing that was my saving grace and my religion was music. Being able to sit and weep to my favorite albums and belt out the pain I had endured the past 18 years of my life, was the most therapeutic practice for me. I’d scream lyrics into my bedroom wall and I always found a way out, through my voice. In my darkest moments, I realized that it was not a mistake that my first love was sitting at a piano and humming.

How could I possibly want to do anything else when music was all I had ever known? All I have ever loved? My own voice gave me power. I knew the way I felt when I sang was something that no one would ever be able to put into words, something that I still haven’t been able to put into words. But I find peace in not knowing. There are some things in this world that are so magical and don’t need explanation. For me, music is one of them.

Pursuing an artistic career in Los Angeles has been difficult. Having to navigate through the business jargon of an industry I am not familiar with as a young woman has been intimidating and terrifying at times. But the sacrifice, the uncertainty, and the thrill is why I chose this career path. I may never know stability, but I know a good time. I know how to put every part of myself into my music and my writing, and that is something I will never stop pursuing no matter how hard it gets.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
When it comes to recording music, you have to be smart and tactical in how you emit what you want others to perceive. I loved musical theatre but I realized it was a niche portion of music. I began taking my knowledge and practices of music theory, harmonization, and vocal technique in choir, opera, and musical theatre and applying it into my songwriting and music.

I like my music to sound haunting, dark, and like my voice is not from my human form. I wanted my music to take listeners to a higher realm and higher consciousness. I wanted my lyrics to resonate in the darkest ways. I wanted people to leave with a little piece of me.

I believe something that may set me apart from other artists is the fact that I am unashamed of my trauma and experiences. My music is a direct reflection of the pain I endured and although I make my music for other people to listen and relate, my music is for me.

Today, I am working on creating my first EP backed by extremely talented and wonderful creatives I have the utmost privilege of knowing. It was hard getting to where I am now. I had to sacrifice a lot of myself as a human being and a person to be able to throw myself into my art. I have to be careful as a woman in the industry and make sure that no one is ever trying to take advantage of me. I overcame this by taking everything higher-ups in the industry told me with a grain of salt. Never believe someone who meets you and tells you they are going to make your dreams come true. You are the one who makes your dreams come true. Trust no one until they give you a reason to trust them. You have to keep thick skin on, and never let the opinions of others swindle you out of important decisions you have to make in your career.

I want people, and specifically young women my age to know that no matter where you come from, who you are, or what you have been through, you can do whatever you want, If you are willing to give something your all, your work will be noticed and recognized, Hard work will not go unnoticed. You never take no for an answer. I never did and I never will.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I would take a friend to Bao Dim Sum House. If I could eat one thing for the rest of my life, it would be soup dumplings. My favorite place to see in LA is Mulholland Drive Scenic Overlook. You can see all the city lights. It’s one place where I can feel small and insignificant, it’s so humbling.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I’d like to dedicate my Shoutout to my voice coach, Mr. Lischetti and choir director, Mr. Verdoni, from my hometown. I’d like to also recognize my kind friends Till, Eman, and Charlie, and my significant other, Jake. All these people push me everyday to be a better me. They believe in my work and impact me in sometimes the most indirect ways. I am so appreciative that I have the privilege of knowing them. I’d like to also specifically acknowledge Ryan Buendia, also known as DJ Replay. He was the first producer in LA to truly believe in me and my talent. His hard work and dedication will never go unnoticed. Having a community with other talented creatives is so inspiring, especially when I can confide in them. Finally, I’d like to thank Cody Benjamin. He is extremely talented producer and killer on the guitar. Being able to create music with Cody has been a next level experience.

Instagram: instagram.com/nicolejolly

Image Credits
@varianvisuals, Dillan Kinlow

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