Music is helping Gregory Scott turn his life around. He’s this year’s Bermuda Idol, beating 13 other hopefuls for the title, $3,000 and a record contract. Getting there was not easy.
Although always interested in a music career, the 27-year-old didn’t do much to pursue his dream until he landed in magistrate Maxanne Anderson’s court.
“I made some mistakes, I got distracted and I ran into the law,” he said. “I told her I sang and had an interest in singing and she said, ‘Why not try out [for Bermuda Idol]?’ She told me it would be a good thing for me to do.”
He’ll always appreciate the advice and the support he received from friends and family.
Mr Scott started singing in the Seventh-day Adventist Church at the age of 13. He was encouraged by his mother, Christine Scott, who sang with the Southampton church’s gospel group, the Warrenaires.
“I sang for five years with the children’s choir and even did a solo, His Eye is on the Sparrow.”
The challenge came after he switched from the Bermuda Institute of Seventh-day Adventists to TN Tatum where, in 2004, he was asked to sing at the middle school’s Christmas extravaganza.
Suddenly, his confidence disappeared. “I didn’t want to perform in front of the girls,” he said. “I didn’t realise how good it would be to put myself out there.”
His father, Tyrone Williams, gave him the coaching he needed and “in the end, I had fun and enjoyed myself”.
At Berkeley Institute however, he gave his voice a rest. “I didn’t really do anything there,” he said. “Maybe I should have. I always wanted to be a producer/singer but at Berkeley I was shy.
“I DJed but I never sang. I guess I hadn’t prepared enough to perform at that level, to perform in front of my peers, probably the hardest audience.”
He didn’t drop his dreams completely. A friend showed him the ins and outs of music software and, before long, he knew “how to make beats and use Pro Tools”.
“And I enjoyed listening to the Top 40 and would sing around the house,” Mr Scott said.
Although he refused to publicly discuss the “mistakes” that landed him in court, he insisted he has learnt from them. Sandra Butterfield, executive director of Focus, has been “a big help”.
“Mrs Butterfield is a great counsellor,” said Mr Scott, who has lived at the Elliott Street facility for the past year. “She’s helped me to get down and do what I’ve got to do; basic everyday needs: manage my money, be a role model citizen.
“My problem was not putting myself out there enough. Having served the consequence of my actions and seen what it felt like, I decided I would make different choices in the future.
“When it comes to going after your dreams you have to take a first step; take a calculated step, but take a first step or you end up not reaching your full potential.
“For all the youth: don’t mess around. It’s not good.
“Don’t waste time because at the end of the day we’ve all got greatness in us and we deserve the best.”
Bermuda Idol 2018 was held at Ruth Seaton James Centre for the Performing Arts on March 24. Mr Scott’s a cappella performance of Ed Sheeran’s Thinking Out Loud, got him through to the finals. “I got a good response from the crowd,” he said. “And then we all sang another song. I sang John Legend’s All of Me.”
Coshaun Evans came third and received the Showmanship Award; Melissa Furbert came second. Mr Scott was thrilled when he was announced as the winner.
“I felt good,” said the singer, who is now working on a reggae/pop album with Glenn Blakeney, the chairman of Bermuda Soul Record Company Ltd, and looking for sponsorship to advance his dream career. “I was on a high. It means that I can make music whenever I like. I plan to get a laptop and invest in music-making software and make music.
“That’s my number one aim. But if need be, I can burn CDs, do commercials. I’m trying to help the community to move forward.”