Indie Mixtape 20: Scout LaRue Willis Finds Her Voice On Her Folksy Self-Titled Debut

Scout LaRue Willis always knew she wanted to be a musician — it was a dream she’s harbored since childhood. But it wasn’t until 2016 when Willis played her first solo show that she finally found her voice. In the eight years since, the musician has been honing her wistful and folksy sound and unique, textured vocals.

Now preparing for the release of her self-titled debut album, which is out Friday, Willis translates her personal growth and self-reflection into a stunning 11-track project. Her songs evoke the dusty folk music of greats like Patsy Cline while her lyrics share the complicated journey of modern-day womanhood. “I feel like I am singing these songs to the girl I was — that young, thrashed, courageous version of myself who just kept making art no matter what,” Willis said about the album. “I feel so grateful to finally be at this point, ready to send these stories out into the world to have a life of their own.”

Ahead of the release of Scout LaRue Willis, the singer sits down with Uproxx to talk about her love of Harry Styles, her penchant for emotional support, and getting a matching tattoo with her dad in our latest Q&A.

What are four words you would use to describe your music? 

Enchanting, delicious, honest, and loving.

It’s 2050 and the world hasn’t ended and people are still listening to your music. How would you like it to be remembered? 

I suppose I would love for people to still be connecting to it! For it to be remembered as a moment in time, yet also connected to as something timeless and true!

What’s your favorite city in the world to perform? 

Toronto was an amazing place to play! I played a festival there with my first band and it was like entering a fantasy world where we were big rock stars and everyone was so kind and loving! Right now, it’s wherever I played last though, so Ojai and Santa Rosa!

Who’s the person who has most inspired your work, and why? 

Patsy Cline. She is my numero uno vocal and musical influence. She puts so much of herself into each and every song, the depth she shares is so generous. It’s incredible how authentic she is in every song, even if she didn’t write it!

Where did you eat the best meal of your life? 

In a tiny restaurant in Peru where the chairs are giant paper maché tangerines and the food was so beautiful and fresh it almost made me cry!

What album do you know every word to?

The Strokes’ First Impressions Of Earth.

What was the best concert you’ve ever attended? 

There are a few that come to mind for different reasons: Daft Punk on my 16th birthday at the LA Sports Arena, Beirut in high school with my younger sister, hearing Willie Nelson play at Outside Lands, and one of the greatest was seeing Air and Phoenix play at Versailles when I was 15.

What is the best outfit for performing and why? 

This entirely depends on weather and what mood I am in! I’ve performed in jeans and a tattered Hawaiian shirt and I’ve performed in spangled boots and a mini dress and felt equally wonderful! For me it’s whatever connects me to my power, confidence, sensuality, and embodiment in that moment! As I am typing this though I’m also struck by the idea that a fleecy animal onesie would be pretty primo.

Who’s your favorite person to follow on Twitter and/or Instagram? 

It’s less about one person for me and more about kinds of accounts! Interior design accounts, astrological meme accounts, and my top tier is sexual wellness educators. To me they are the coolest, most fascinating, magical individuals and the service they provide in our puritanical, repressed yet desperate-for-a-sexual-awakening society is invaluable!

What’s your most frequently played song in the van on tour?  

Sheryl Crow’s “Favorite Mistake.”

What’s the last thing you Googled? 

Nicole Kidman’s astrological sign.

What album makes for the perfect gift? 

Best vinyl I’ve ever received as a gift was Ted Lucas’ self-titled, one and only album. It’s perhaps my favorite of all time.

Where’s the weirdest place you’ve ever crashed while on tour? 

A funny little ranch house outside of Austin with crumbly, beautiful rose wallpaper and people asleep on every surface available!

What’s the story behind your first or favorite tattoo? 

My first ever tattoo is a small white circle on my inner ankle, I’d been drawing it on for years. When I turned 18, my dad took me to shamrock tattoo on Sunset Boulevard and Mark Mahoney, who is an incredible, famous tattoo artist did this super simple little tat for me, and my dad got a matching one on his ankle as well.

What artists keep you from flipping the channel on the radio? 

Harry Styles. I honestly just adore him, sue me.

What’s the nicest thing anyone has ever done for you? 

There are so many! The first thing that comes to mind are the occasions when I shared something really vulnerable with my partner and he accepted me for things I still hadn’t learned to love about myself yet.

What’s one piece of advice you’d go back in time to give to your 18-year-old self? 

Just focus on having fun, seeking pleasure, enjoying yourself, from that place of joy everything else will fall into place! Just because something is challenging or painful doesn’t make it automatically more worthwhile!

What’s the last show you went to? 

I saw my friend Odessa play while we did a mini tour together up the coast of California.

What movie can you not resist watching when it’s on TV? 

Frequency, it’s a time travel father and son redemption story with a true-crime twist!

What’s one of your hidden talents?

Facilitating people through emotional crises.

Scout LaRue Willis is out 6/24. Pre-order it here.