DETAILS: 9 p.m. Friday, The Zodiac, 230 Pueblo Ave., $5; 632-5059, zodiacvenue.com
Singer-songwriter Hilary Scott has done something many musicians would pawn their beloved guitar for - turned her passion into a full-time career.
In the 15 years since the Washington-based performer graduated from college, she's traveled the world, released 10 albums and met a husband, a percussionist, along the way. Now the two tour and perform as a duo.
"I always wondered what my definition of success would be," Scott said. "If I can make a living out of it and enjoy it and still find inspiration to sing those songs every night, that's success for me." Scott, whose name is often confused with Hillary Scott of popular country band Lady Antebellum, will perform Friday at the Zodiac.
Her last album, 2014's "Freight Train Love," was named the 2015 vintage folk album of the year by the Rural Roots Music Commission of the National Traditional Country Music Association.
"Despite a music career that began in Seattle more than a decade ago, Hilary Scott - (one 'L') - is not a household name. If the award-winning, indie- Americana singer-songwriter's new album, 'Freight Train Love,' is any indication, this won't be the case for too much longer," wrote reviewer William Phoenix for L.A. Music Examiner.
Surrounded by a family of music makers, Scott's own talents bloomed early. She was a young piano student when her teacher remarked on her beautiful voice. She wasn't interested, though, not with learning a new instrument every two years. It was in high school that she embraced her voice, joining every singing group she could. After studying music and English at Whitman College, she began to make a name for herself with storytelling songs couched in Americana and indie music.
"When I first started songwriting, I used it as an autobiographical, almost diary kind of thing," said Scott. "Over time I started being inspired by songwriters that were more storytellers, like Patty Griffin and Johnny Cash. They wrote from experience and emotions but made great stories. I tapped into that in the past five to six years. It's not just my perspective, but how can I turn that into a story that is artistically solid?"
Her writing often veers into themes of death and loss, a natural exploration after losing her brother at a young age, her experiences as a musician and, rarely these days, sad love songs.
"My songs used to be relationship heavy," she said. "I'm happily married now, so I don't have to write heartbreak songs anymore, but I'll still dredge up memories or write a good story about it."
JENNIFER MULSON, THE GAZETTE, 636-0270, JEN.MULSON@GAZETTE.COM