As the biggest moment of his young life approached, singer-songwriter Marc Scibilia was a bit out of the loop. His song, “How Bad We Need Each Other,” was about to be featured on the TV crime drama Bones, but there was just one problem.
“Well, actually, I don’t have a TV, so I can’t tell you a ton about the show,” laughs Scibilia. “I did happen to catch that episode, though. There was a baby born, I know that. I think it was some kind of celebration.”
A day later, friends started calling to offer congratulations. Then he noticed something unbelievable — “How Bad We Need Each Other” was at No. 1 on iTunes’ singer-songwriter chart.
With its message of togetherness and relying on those who love you, the song takes an uplifting approach to dealing with everyday ups and downs, while Scibilia’s soft, tempered voice sounds wise beyond his years.
But with only a six-song EP available, Scibilia is still in the early stages of introducing himself to listeners. He’s filmed a fresh new video for “Bright Day Coming,” though, another joyful promise that hope springs eternal.
He stopped by CMT to share the new video, and while he was here, he talked to CMT Edge about his upbringing in Western New York, bad luck with birthdays and convincing his grandma that he’s not moving home yet.
CMT: You were born in Buffalo, N.Y. How does that place influence who you are as an artist?
Scibilia: Buffalo is a very meat-and-potatoes kind of town. There is not much time for beauty. It’s a place of functionality. For me, that probably plays a lot into why my songs are like three minutes and 30 seconds. (laughs) Very to the point.
One thing I appreciate about your songs is that a lot of them seem to have this optimistic feel. What’s your philosophy for songwriting?
I think that my songs are a lot more optimistic than I actually am. I think they are like the things that I wish I was. Sometimes I feel slightly hypocritical because I do take for granted the amazing people in my life at times. But music does that to me. It makes me feel optimistic. There was a time when I would sit and write all day long. Every day, I would wake up and spend the day writing. It would almost be like an exercise. But now, I try to only work off of inspiration. And now when it comes, I know what to do with it.
Your shows have a warm, inviting feel to them. Have you started to notice a lot more people coming back to see you?
I threw someone a surprise birthday party once in my life, and no one came to it. (laughs) I think I realized about six months ago that I could put on these shows and people would come. I think I hadn’t prior to that. I didn’t really play shows, I didn’t advertise them. I just wrote. I was nervous that no one would come to my party. But now I’m noticing. It’s really surprising. I want to talk to these people and be like, “What were you doing tonight? Why would you come to this? Was the power out in your town?”
You scored your first big success with “How Bad We Need Each Other.” What kind of response has it gotten?
Someone sent me a video, and it was actually covered at a graduation ceremony. To me, that really is one of the greatest honors because I really want to write songs that large amounts of people can connect with. Not necessarily for the sake of money and fame, but more so because I think that is what music is about — bringing people together.
Your video for “Bright Day Coming” was filmed in Nashville and features a scene-stealing little boy. What do you remember about the day you shot it?
Oh, it was freezing! It was the kind of day you didn’t want to be outside. With that being said, we changed a piece of the story line. That way we could do it inside. That video really came together in like three days. And that little boy was in Michael Jackson’s last video with Akon. He played a young Michael Jackson. He is such a smart kid, you can tell he has such an amazing future.
”Better Man” has such a sweet sentiment that any girl would love to hear. Who made you want to write it?
I truthfully don’t know that I wrote that about a person. I was playing for a band and we were in Atlanta, Ga. They had called on my birthday, I was turning 22, and they said, “Can you play this show?” I was like, “Yeah, of course.” I really didn’t want to do it. On the way there, I was sleeping. And these lyrics — I was actually woken up by them. The lyrics were the first line of the song, “I’m a small man/Next to a tall man/But, baby, I’m all man/When I’m with you.” I wrote them down, and I was in a hotel room that night. I was kind of depressed because it was my 22nd birthday and I was playing some show that I didn’t want to play. Things weren’t really going in any particular direction. I was sitting in my hotel and wrote that song.
I’ve noticed a lot of your work revolves around depressing birthdays.
In hotels! That is funny! Because I really have such good friends.
On your website, it says your family still isn’t really sold on the whole songwriting thing. What will it take for them to finally trust you?
Well, it’s actually just a joke because everyone really is very supportive. But it’s funny because that joke stems from my grandmother. Every time I talk to her, she always says, “Honey, when are you moving home again?” She says, “My upstairs is empty.” And then inevitably the second question is, “What did you eat for lunch today?” (laughs)