Bright future for Witty Girl Jocelyn Scofield

By Eric Freeman

Singer-songwriter expands sound with new EP

Amidst the grunge and chaos of a college town football rivalry weekend, Jocelyn Scofield shines bright, bringing class and talent to the Lansing-area music scene.

Scofield held her CD release party for her new album, “A Witty Girl,” at East Lansing’s Scene Metropsace Saturday night. The event filled the venue, with more than 60 in attendance.

Scofield’s musical style fit perfectly with the venue, which was filled with contemporary art. Dressed in a stylish corset, Scofield sang her heart out from behind a lonely keyboard to a captivated audience.

Scofield, 30, has been on the music scene for the last five-plus years, getting her start in Lansing. She has toured the country and received several ASCAP awards for her music. Fans describe Scofield’s music as a blend of Sara Bareilles and the playful vocals of Regina Spektor. However, her lyrics are so personal, it’s difficult to make an accurate comparison.

“I’ve known her for a long time, so it’s easy for me to see that her lyrics come from her past,” said Chad Badgero, who met Scofield when the two worked at the Wharton Center nearly 12 years ago. “But she’s very good at presenting a universal appeal, as well.”

For her latest recording, Scofield took a giant leap of faith, raising nearly $10,000 from family, friends and supporters to record with Grammy-winning Nashville producer Mitch Dane. The two worked together for about three weeks, logging hours of recording time. “[Dane] wanted every part of every song to sound perfect,” Scofield said. “He had a great work ethic and treated my music as if it was his own.”

The resulting EP, “A Witty Girl,” features a much richer sound, as Scofield’s trademark piano-driven, jazz-pop tunes are filled out with backing vocals and synthesized beats.

The track “Beautiful Boys” is a good representation of Scofield’s playful attitude. A humorous play on pop music’s obsession with glorifying females, the song reverses roles, with Scofield expressing her own praise for the male gender.

“Bad Boy in High School” is her most personal song. In it, she satirically reflects on the bad boy of her youth, recounting everything from his physical appearance to his antics during class. The descriptions are so specific and personal that Scofield had to tiptoe around the subject of the song while introducing it Saturday night to try to prevent revealing his identity to old high school friends in the audience.

The fan favorite and strongest candidate to be a single from the album is “Gravity Takes the Lead.” Reflecting on her music career, the song describes Scofield as “drifting through space” without much clear direction for her future. She continues by singing, “So I’ll stay lost with my fingers crossed hoping I’ll end up where I’m supposed to be when gravity takes the lead.”

The weighty lyrics offer a satisfying contrast to the more playful songs on the CD.

Gravity aside, with an upcoming tour and a polished collection of fresh tunes, Scofield appears poised to take the lead.