Not long ago, Ohio singer and songwriter Nathan Scott saw a TV story about an incredibly courageous 12-year-old girl who faced major health issues.
“This little girl was in a bed and didn’t have a hair on her head,” Nathan says in a phone conversation from the home he shares with his girlfriend and her four children in the northeast Ohio town of Warren.
“I caught just the tail end of the interview,” he continues. “She had big tears in her eyes, and she said the thing she wanted most in life was to just go out in the backyard and play hide-and-seek with her little brother.
“At that point,” Nathan Scott goes on, “my whole life just stopped on a dime. I got a guitar, a pen and a piece of paper, and wrote my new song, ‘Prayin’ For A Cure.’”
This achingly beautiful Gospel-flavored country ballad, with a YouTube video featuring Nathan’s amazing acoustic guitar work and his strong and soulful baritone, is written from the point of view of the brave little girl as she’s facing yet another surgery. The second verse relates: “Very soon they will come in/They’ll open up my door/Their needles and their pins/They’ll open me some more…I’m just prayin’ for a cure/And I’m hopin’ that God hears.”
What makes the song doubly remarkable is that Nathan Scott is a 32-year-old guy who has undergone over 35 major surgeries himself, who at one point weighed more than 800 pounds, and was told by doctors he wouldn’t even make it to his 18th birthday.
“Country music is what kept me alive,” he says.
You may well have seen TV features on Nathan, both on The Learning Channel and The Discovery Channel, like “Pound For Pound: The Nathan Scott Story.”
It’s a never-ending struggle, his health, but Nathan’s story has already inspired countless folks, and his music and live performances have warmed the hearts of everyone who’ve heard them.
“Getting on the right medication to reverse my metabolism, combined with a proper diet and exercise routine,” he writes, “the weight finally began to come off. Now I have survived 39 surgeries, three congestive heart failures, and lost a total of 534 pounds and still counting.”
His lifelong dream has been to make a country album. Nathan discovered Nashville Music Guide and TCM Nashville Records by way of Social Media, NMG publisher Randy Matthews says, and Randy, Kym, and Joe Matthews quickly became captivated by Nathan’s brave story and his music.
Born in Indiana in a family with 10 kids and raised in Virginia, country, Bluegrass, and Gospel music have been Nathan’s passion for as long as he can remember. He began playing guitar at age 3. Both his parents loved music as well, and young Nathan grew up hearing and loving artists such as Merle Haggard, Ray Stevens, Charley Pride, and the artist who may well have inspired him the most, George Jones.
It’s amazing that a man who writes the language as well as Nathan made it only through the eighth grade, but then again many country icons had similar educations. Like Nathan, their education was what used to be called the “College of Hard Knocks.” The end of Nathan’s formal schooling during middle school was unique, as well as heartbreaking.
“My weight problem became an overnight issue,” he recalls. “I got out of school one summer weighing about 185 pounds. When I went back I weighed over 500 pounds. None of friends knew me. Teachers would say, `What the hell happened to you?’ I had to fight my way through the eighth grade. Every class had bullies.”
“People treated me like crap ‘cause of my weight,” he says.
As Nathan describes it, here’s what happened to his health: “I began to uncontrollably gain weight, which began to quickly lead to other health issues, such as high blood pressure and eventually congestive heart failure. I was also dealing with an ear disease which seemed to keep me hospitalized.”
Hospitals and eventually dozens of painful surgeries became his way of life. These days, due to the battered Ohio economy and horrendous gas prices, Nathan is barely able to make ends meet with the disability checks he receives and the money he can raise playing gigs. But he’s also got a wonderfully supportive girlfriend he lives with. She has four kids and Nathan says, “I love ‘em as if they’re my own.”
So as the warm Ohio summer approaches, Nathan E. Scott continues fighting his health demons, and keeps right on writing, playing, singing, and performing the music that’s always been his closest friend. Along with his faith, that highly personal music has been his constant companion through a life of ups and downs—just as it has been for country stars of every shape and size, like Hank Sr., Merle, and Jones, who fought demons of their own and wrote their rage and their hurt into their songs. Fans and radio programmers who see the YouTube video of `Prayin’ For A Cure’ and read Nathan’s story will immediately recognize a unique talent, and an uplifting story of courage in the face of adversity and the healing power of music.
By Phil Sweetland