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March 2, 2023

Amy's life took a dramatic U-turn at 17, and a mistake turned into her biggest blessing

To meet Amy today, is to meet a highly accomplished, wonderfully polished speaker, presenter and musician. What often gets missed are the painful, even devastating obstacles that came along her journey.

So, in this episode, we dig under the surface to understand more of Amy's beautiful and inspiring story!

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Amy's love of music began at age 3.  Piano and singing were a significant part of her childhood.

To meet Amy today, is to meet a highly accomplished, wonderfully polished speaker, presenter and musician.  What often gets missed are the painful, even devastating obstacles that came along her journey.

So, in this episode, we dig under the surface to understand  more of Amy's beautiful and inspiring story!

Amy's highly accomplished professional career includes 20 years’ experience as a Media Executive, TV host, Recording Artist, Public Speaker, Corporate Spokesperson, and Sales Professional, to help others present and communicate a concise and professional message, for TV, podcasts, ZOOM, social media, or public speaking appearances. 

Amy has been providing media and communications coaching to corporate and private clients through individual and team training workshops to enhance their communications and virtual media skills. She also advises entrepreneurs and startup companies on messaging, branding and how to develop marketing strategies. 

In 2021 Amy received "Bestseller" with her book "Lights Camera Action".  As a TV Host She enjoyed the past 5 years on the national shows “The American Dream TV”, “Retiring Right TV”, “Veterans One TV” and "Financing the American Dream", which airs on CNBC.  

As a Recording Artist, Amy has been known in the country music industry for more than 15 years and has opened for Artists including Clint Black, Trace Adkins, Charlie Daniels, and many more.  

Her new music “Love Another Day” EP released in 2022 and the single “What if it All Goes Right” is now on radio and charting worldwide including reaching #66 on the Music Row Charts, along with being selected for the NY Times Summer 2022 Playlist.












Welcome back to between the before and after a podcast about the stories that shape us. I'm your host coach Jon McLernon in each episode. I bring you an inspiring guest with a moving story that shines a light on the power of the human spirit. I'm excited to share this story with you. So let's dive in. All right. I think this is the first time I've had a country music recording artist on the show. So it's an absolute pleasure to welcome Amy Scruggs to the show today. How are you doing, Jonathan? I'm great. Well, I feel honored. 

I'm the first, I hope that it's a great experience. Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Well, I think today we'll get a little bit of a look into the music scene from a perspective maybe others haven't seen because you've been an industry insider for a number of years in addition to some of the other ventures that you have going on. And so um for listeners who are just starting out, where are you at present and kind of, what are you up to? Well, I can definitely give you the cliff note introduction to that. And in a nutshell, after 20 years with experience in business and sales and running sales teams, communications with those sales teams traveling and touring as a recording artist. Five years as a host of a national tv show. I am so proud to have combined all of those ingredients for what I'm able to do now and that's media coaching, effective communications coaching to help professionals, nonprofits businesses, individuals level up how they present themselves, how they deliver their message and hopefully impacting their business in the community and that's what I do today along with my new record that came out the first of last year, that's still out on radio quite well. So thank you. You didn't have a recent single. What if it all goes well? Is that one of your recent ones? What if it all goes right? 

That was that was really my signature of 2022. It came out in january last year, 2022 I was very thankful that it did well. It started around the globe, it did well on music row charts here in the US. And it was also chosen for the new york Times bestseller summer list and I was really excited and honored to see that happen because as we're going to discuss in the journey, something like that was just that moment waiting to happen. And I feel like it was the giant life hug that deserved to be out there. So that that message can now spread to everybody else. 

I love that a life hug, that that's actually a great term there and you've spent a number of years in, in the recording industry, among other things and also be able to combine all these ingredients. So there's something, there's something wonderful about being at this stage in life where you have you still have some youth on your side, but you have just right, Right. Yeah, of course. And we just we just sort of celebrate the anniversary of your 25th birthday every year, is that how it goes? Yeah, so you've managed to put all these wonderful sort of ingredients together to really help other people who want to put their message out there in a way that's polished professionally, well received by audiences. Is that right? It is because, you know, everyone has a story and a message, we all have a message about what we've been through. Either. We're inspiring somebody, we're educating somebody, we're helping support a business, maybe as a support staff, but everybody is sharing a message about something at some point and how we deliver that so that it actually is received is where the difference lies and I love when I'm when I'm able to work with someone or a team and have them go, I see the difference. 

Do you see how that landed, You see how they received what you were saying, that's when, you know, you've made a powerful impact. I absolutely love story, so it's a great book that I I'm going to give a bit of a plug to. And it's written by lighting Margot Margot Leitman is her name and she wrote a book called Long story Short and it's a really easy read, but it is actually about storytelling and I've been so fascinated by this. 

I'm going through, there's some little exercise and things that you can do in there as well. And I was, I was actually amazed, not just like, I don't have like one story, but a number of stories that come up as you go back is reflecting, wow. And and if you deliver them well, like they are, they are really entertaining. And so I'm finding I have a great, a great passion for storytelling and of course today we're exploring your story because you know, people see the wonderful, polished, accomplished professional behind the microphone today, but we know that it wasn't an easy journey to get there and there's definitely been some ups and downs along the way and I think showing people a little bit of insight into the highs and lows of that journey gives people a different level appreciation for, you know, you being where you are today. And so let's go back, let's rewind the clock a little bit here. Um, to, to some of the early years, where do you start out? 

I grew up in southern California, so I'm still in san Diego. So my entire life in southern California and wonderful middle class family. I went to a private christian school for middle school and high school. 

I have one brother and and music was my life, I started singing at the age of three, I was playing piano at the age of three. And so music was a huge component. Now, the funny part of this is that um my dad raised two sons and I only have one brother. So that means that I was on the soccer field and the baseball field. 

They really wanted those two athletes and I was saying no, no, no, I want to do music. So there was a little bit of that battle there, but I can still clean the pool, fix the car and throw a mean softball. So I'm thankful for the lessons and what I learned there was definitely that drive that was going that direction. But I knew I was meant to sing, speak, perform and that I had a different path. 

I love that people assume because your music journey is kind of taking to the country music industry that you are in or have been in Tennessee or have you spending time living in that part of the world. Have you always been located in California? I do get asked that a lot whether I immersed myself into Tennessee, I can say yes, I know a little bit. 

I never was able to actually live there. I would go visit for some extended periods when I was first crafting my music. My first trip to Nashville in 2004 I would go and spend a few weeks then back home and spend a few weeks. It was difficult to juggle because I always had my sales career and my business career that was walking alongside that plus Children. So that wasn't, I wouldn't even be able to be able to do that. But, but southern California is really the root? 

That's where I am. I have incredible, amazing friendships and connections in Tennessee and Nashville, though because once you build a tree True relationship and someone that walks alongside you or believes in you, if you nurture and handle that right, they will always be there. And for me, that's the relationships that I have 20 years deep in Nashville, I can fly in tomorrow and I've got six different places that I would go first and want to hug a lot of people, and and so that's what's very special. Yes, I feel like I'm still a resident of part of Nashville. But yes, I live in southern California and that's the beauty of what we're able to do. Yeah. And your dad, your dad raised a couple of boys, which is absolutely fantastic. 

I think I think we should um, we should maybe give young women the experience of doing some of these things as well instead of assuming that they can't do it or B don't want, maybe maybe they don't want to do it, but I think it's absolutely fantastic. You got, you got to do that and so you were pretty sure from a young age that you were going to go into the music industry, you're going into singing in some way um, as a youngster did you did you perform at all? Um, I mean, were you like a child actor or anything like that or or where did your child singer, definitely I was in church choirs and then in the school choirs, I always was in the ensemble and the acapella groups and I took piano lessons and voice lessons so I was immersed in music in some way my entire life. If you had asked me at five who I was going to be when I grew up, my answer would have been Barbara Mandrell, I just knew it was country, last name, chose that when you have a last name of Scruggs, your genre has chosen for you. So I knew let's stay on brand brand, but I knew that that's what I was gonna do and my dad and I are very close and country music was very special to have me raised me on johnny cash and so there was just that experience in that bond there that was just really in my D. N. A. I think I think country music in particular as a genre is really about storytelling as well and so it's a natural fit. Were there any other genres that you, you kind of wanted to explore or have explored? 

I've loved sales that that learning to work with professionals learning to go out and hustle and ask for the business and thrive and that was definitely a learned skill but I enjoyed it. So I think it was naturally in there for me to want to network, connect with individuals, go accomplish something taking limits off versus just a salary job. I knew, no, I want to know that, that, that I can make more, that if I go and apply more of myself or make new relationships, that that means that there's more opportunity. So I think I knew instinctively I wanted to work in a space that provided opportunity and more opportunities to find more opportunities and my career to this day is a prime example of that. 

Yeah, there's, I think there's something in those with an entrepreneurial spirit. We recognize that we don't like, we want to be rewarded for for the hard work that we put in as opposed to just collecting the same salary whether or not we work hard or not. And so, um, and it's just part of human nature, just be incentivized, hey, if you work hard, you get something from it and I'll give you an example. 

When I was eight years old, I decided to put on a show in the backyard and I require that my friends in the neighborhood learned to be backup singers and, and then we wrote up flyers, walked them all around and charged my neighborhood friends a quarter to come in and watch us do this show and it was only one song, one song person, so I really Ben that there was money in this and I was going to figure it out, that's amazing. I was thinking about a mutual acquaintance Alex sanfilippo, I think you know him well as well, and he was he was an episode 100 he started out selling golf balls when he was 10, he said his brain just like, he just really fell in love with this idea of like profit and margins and figure out these numbers, so he knew right then, that his brain kind of saw the world a little bit differently, so, so awesome, So was your back here shows sell out, you know, I believe that the kids in the neighborhood all did show up and it was summer, where else are they going to go? I had the pool, so there was really, you know, I think that I definitely was able to entice them with the right venue, but they did right? Yeah, and you had, you had that bonus there, you said, okay, like we're gonna we're gonna hit the pool afterwards, so, you know, maybe there'll be some snacks as well, so, you know, this quarter, it's not just getting you a show, it's getting you a little bit of fun afterwards as well, so that was the start of service, I love that, you know, and so as we get into a little bit further in your story, you know, at 17, your life took a dramatic U turn and I don't want to, I don't want to press it anyway, I want to let you share in your words and how you experienced it well, life happens. It hits us sometimes we make choices. 

I was faced with that at 17 and realized I was going to have a baby. And that was a big that was a big moment. It was a big moment for the family. 

I had just graduated high school. So college is now off the table. I really didn't know which direction I was going to go. I was definitely lost already. But this was a very difficult circumstance. It was very abusive circumstance. And so it was a lot to go through at that time. And and we there's a family and this is not to make any political statements about anybody or anything. 

This is just my story and at that time not having the baby became the option. And so I was next to go into the operating room for this procedure at 17 and they came out and told me that I wasn't pregnant and I'm proud to tell you right now that that that child, that son is almost 32 years old. And amazing. So there was a plan and a purpose for his life and for my life. And that's really where our story began was with Ryan. 

Yeah, you said something there and again, just share with what you're comfortable, but it was kind of an abusive sort of situation. That word came out and why why ask what that is? Because I mean, I see someone who's very confident, very polished, very professional and so on. You know, and people might wonder, well, how do you find yourself in that kind of circumstance? 

Oh, I was a totally different naive young girl then I didn't know any different. And I lived in this little happy bubble that I didn't realize that people could do that. I had lived in this very sheltered little world. So I had not and I went to a small private school. So everybody was always on their best behavior. And here I was brought into this situation that was, I wasn't even able to recognize the signs. I wasn't able to identify. 

I didn't have the skills and the tools I have today, who does that 17. Looking back, of course, I can completely identify all of this. But at the time, I didn't have that ability. And the rest is the story. Yeah, Yeah. And so, you know, you're faced with this idea of, you know, do we do we terminate the pregnancy or not? And and thankfully, that decision was kind of made for you. And uh, so when you got told that you're not pregnant, like, what feelings did you have? 

I knew I was my mom and I knew that this was a sign that this child was supposed to live. Okay. Yeah. That that that is quite something. And of course, you know, your son has become like, quite a quite a wonderful blessing in your life. 

Maybe your biggest, the biggest blessing in your life then there's a, there's three more behind him then. So I had a whole gag later, but that same child went on to be my lead guitar player, started playing for me at 17, he was 17 when he started playing for me full time and toured with me and still is my lead guitar player to this day, which is absolutely incredible. So now now you're a single mom And you had all these big plans and dreams and I feel like they were, they were sort of kind of crashing down around you or what did you do sort of feel like, you know, like just after your son was born, I know I'm a parent now too. And I'm like boy life, I had my first kind of 39, so I did it in the opposite. I went and traveled the world instead. 

I have one of those. I have a resilient mind and I don't have a doom and gloom mentality to begin with. So I'm like, okay, this is what we're doing now, let's make it work. And I'm, I'll go find new opportunities and I found opportunities that allowed us to continue to navigate and shift and move through. 

I ended up marrying young then and having several more Children. And so that was a beautiful, wonderful time. But I, I don't remember feeling that my life was over, there was this, whoa. It was just, this is what we're doing and how do I retool and I do have that ability in me and have been doing so ever since when life hits like that to say, how do I retool? How do I take these circumstances? And I'll give you an example because I wanted to sing and perform. But now I have this child to take care of My job that I got when he was a baby was for a restaurant that you had to audition to get the position. So not only was I waiting tables 19 because that's what I had to do, I was wearing a costume, entertaining performing and it was a high end dinner only restaurant. So I made more money in tips and I made in Incredible friendships that I still have to this day with Bobby McGee, anybody remembers that chain in the 80s, it was the place to be. So instead of just saying I have to wait tables so I'm gonna go wait tables at the funnest most amazing, coolest place and I'm gonna make it work and that opportunity opened up doors for the next one and it just kept moving throughout the years. Yeah. And so you speak with having a resilient mind. And do you, do you feel like this is something you're born with or something that you were sort of guided into through, you know parenting because I think people wonder like how could I, how do I have that or how do I get that or is it something I can acquire. 

I love my parents. I'm sorry if you're listening to this, but I don't think it came from there. Maybe there's an ancestor or something before. 

Maybe it's just my sheer fight or flight abilities that just say I can fight through this. I can find a way, I tend to look at the positive, it'll work out, it's okay, we'll find something that will be all right. I don't panic, I just don't have a panic personality. I have a very light personality. So that wasn't, that didn't come from my nuclear family. 

They still can't figure me out after all these years. They just roll with it now, what is she up to? Nobody's ever been able to figure me out and I'm glad I beat to my own drum and thank goodness could have had a well as a fellow black sheep in my family a little bit there. 

Um, I can, I can empathize with that a little bit. So um, so yeah, you, you decide, okay, I'm gonna wait tables and found that the school restaurant, you got, you got to be a performer there. So you kind of got to indulge in that a little bit as well. Um where did that take you to next? 

You mentioned like getting into getting into sales, what sales for a lot of people is, is it like people have a tricky kind of relationship with it because this is you know, depending on how they see it and maybe what their relationship with money is in a relationship with value is and so on. So you decide or what prompted you to to look for maybe a position in sales. Well, First I went ahead and I actually married young, I married young and had a whole gaggle of more Children in my 20s. 

That was just that's what I did, that's what that was all slew. I've got my little mini basketball team, I've actually have a have a whole band of musicians. Then I went through a divorce and that's when I said, okay, I need to find that big girl job. 

I missed those twenties. I didn't go to college, I didn't have those for middle years to create those relationships. And I was so grateful because I was meeting people shaking hands and trying to figure out what industry I was going to insert myself into without the education or experience to do so. And it was this one woman that came into my life and it was, you know, and accident that I met her. And it was no accident. 

I had somebody had a post it note that said, you're tenacious make this phone call, see if they'll hire you. Tell them you have experience. I vouched for you already. It was a really cool moment. So I called I was given an interview, I meet this amazing woman who herself was a single mom with three kids and a cancer survivor in her thirties and she said, you're tenacious, I'm going to take a chance on you. And she bro into the world of wholesale mortgage and sales and she taught me everything she knows. And at that moment I didn't know what I was doing, It was highly competitive in the early two thousands in southern California Irvine and Orange County was like the hub of the mortgage industry and I was going to get live, she said, I'm here, I will do this with you. And I was so thankful for the opportunity she presented for myself, for me to provide for my Children for my home that I succeeded really, for her first before myself, I knew I needed to show gratitude. And the only way I was gonna do that was to succeed because she put her name on me and we're still friends to this day, she is still in my life and she's still amazing Liz montez. 

She believed in me and that's literally that decision and that person taking me on then is the Foundation for everything I do today that started. It was Yeah, and you know, it it sounds like someone should have on the show interview. She sounds like an amazing human being, which is awesome. 

There's a couple little details that you touched on there, just wanted to swing back. Um and again, only if you're comfortable, but you mentioned like marrying young. So you had this, you had your son and I gather that the father of your first son is not in the picture, but you, you met somebody else and then, um, you said you ended up having a basketball, Does that mean you had four more? So you have five total or? Okay. So you're, you're shorthanded but close enough to a basketball team? Yeah. Now how did, how did that relationship come about? And like maybe what did you see that while I was waiting tables? And it was, it was great and we're still great friends to this day. 

I was just young and as anything else, it just, we, we ended up ending at prom too soon. I'm not sure. But when it all worked out, we're great parents with the kids and we're good friends, no drama in my life whatsoever. 

Just, just always a blessing and everybody was able to move on and grow. He's been married now for a lot of years to a wonderful woman, we're friends. It's great. So that's not an issue. 

Yeah, that's really good to hear because I think not a lot of stories have that to it. You know, he just recognized that maybe, you know, we came together at a young age, we weren't really the right fit necessarily and kind of grew apart and and I knew I had wings. I knew I had to spread my wings. I knew I was gonna end up touring and wanting to go out there and do big things. I just knew it, Something in me was just fighting to get out of the cocoon and I take full responsibility for that. Okay. Yeah. So it was this tenacious desire to, to accomplish your dreams that said, you know what, I can actually be restrained. So you got, you got this gaggle of kids um, you now are in this sort of high pressure mortgage industry and, and sort of sales position that you're kind of learning on the fly, but you have this wonderful mentor calculator taped to my steering wheel so that I can drive and calculate the mortgage rates in the add ons. 

I mean it was, this was flip phone and ear piece. This is a great time. But I made it happen and I put, made it happen on my license plate. It was amazing. That's absolutely, yeah. And what were you driving? 

I started in a minivan. Yeah. And a couple of months I had my little Lexus that I was able to drive around and used for sales and it was wonderful with car seats in the back. We made it work. That's, that's awesome. And so during this time, because it sounds like this is probably a fairly busy profession to be in like it's competitive, it's high demand. I don't know if it was long hours, you had to be like available, you know, are you solo parenting at this time as well? 

Yes, I was solo parenting and it was long hours for everybody else, but I had to be done by the time the daycare closed and so I had to do my work twice as fast and twice as efficient and so I learned how to be very strong strategic to exactly identify my target clients, be strategic on asking for that business because I had to do it quicker. I couldn't stay after and do dinner with clients and happier with clients. I had Children to take care of. I had a home to run and I had to learn how to be very effective in what I did, how do you, because how do you balance? Because I think this is probably a question that comes up, you know, because we could say, well I just sort of made it work and it's kind of balanced it, but some people would be wondering, you got, you got four kids, you know, and you had, you had daycare, um but you know, you gotta get up early in the morning, get these kids already, get them out to where they're gonna go, then you get into this high pressure job that's like, go go, go get all this, you know, make all this stuff happen, come home now, now switch hats now your, your mom again and um juggling that and I was singing in a band on the evenings and weekends that the kids went with me, I was also singing at all the concerts in the park throughout southern California and we made it happen, the kids would be on the blanket in front, we bring the picnic, they'd eat, I'd perform, it was a blast. I always still had music integrated in and you're right, I didn't have that mindset of saying we can do this, why not? I always have, why not, I can do that, I will make that work. And I also don't come from a place of like stress and like, oh this is hard, I'm like we've got, we've got this and so I made it fun for the kids to, we just have with this. 

Yeah, we can do that, it's alright alright, everybody hustle, hustle hustle count three round the door, but I wasn't mean or stress. So I think that bringing joy and excitement and they know there was never a dull moment with me, they'll tell you that to this day, they're all grown, there's never a dull moment with me but they know they can count on me Yeah, which which is absolutely fantastic. So of those kind of like early days in doing concerts in southern California and um maybe had a little bit of an established name locally um is there a particular concert that sticks out for you that you remember playing in or is there something that happened that you think back now and you kind of laugh and you go, that that was a little bit crazy when I went on to the bigger professional stages or at that time in the cover band, there's totally different stages here. The cover band. Oh yes, we were doing a concert in the park and it was nice, it was a big community, probably 1000 2000 people out there. And my, my little boy, my youngest son, he kept yelling to the stage, can I have ice cream? So I'm like, finally I realized this poor kid. So I had money in my pocket and I'm throwing money off the stage and then I'm like, please do not send your Children to the front of the stage. 

It's only for that little blonde one in the front. And so I was throwing money off the stage and get an ice cream so that I could finish the show and that one was pretty funny that happened now. I imagine that maybe that actually I think adds um maybe an enduring quality to the performance as well, that, hey, here's this mom, giving her money for my kids. 

Like, I don't care if you're singing, we don't care what you're doing. I mean, to this day, they're like, mom, we don't care that you're on a podcast right now, we have a question, right? So this is, I don't care, they just need mom. And that is still the case to this day, even at this stage in my career, it's pretty cute. Yeah, that's awesome. And uh so yeah, you're juggling all of this And the cover band, um were you covering any particular artist or a number of different songs and country and rock? It was, it was a band called The Silverado. 

I loved being with them. I was with them for quite a few years and we just had a, had a great time and it really allowed me to have a lot more of that live stage performance with big crowds and all family events, which had to be family events because my kids were with me. So it's a wonderful, we're still friends to this day and and just regret they still performed to this day all over southern California. They are still together. It's really, yeah. Did you have a favorite song that you enjoyed performing? Oh yes. My signature song at that time was when I would do martina Mcbride, martina Mcbride's Independence Day. Because I could nail, I have like a three octave range. Okay, okay. And I could nail that song and the crowd would go wild. And that was it. And anything by Shania, because I love singing the Shania songs. Good Canadian artist from Timmins Ontario. That's fantastic. So then, um from there, how did you, how did you make the transition into, was into solo artist or what was the transition here yet. 

This is where the big shift comes into play and just like everybody who has a story, you have a choice to make and it's one What we do in that story that changes the next direction of our life. But what shifted was 2007 when the mortgage industry and real estate industry collapsed. So that job, that wonderful sales job that I had that was providing disappeared over night and it also disappeared the exact same week that I had to have a full hysterectomy and went through major surgery with serious complications. So I was in recovery at the same time that my career disappeared and that's when I realized I have, that's it. We can drown or we can survive. So I took the same sales skills, the same business plan that I had for going out and being strategic and I put it in motion and said, I'm gonna go out on tour and ask for the business that I'm gonna sing full time because there is not another sales job for me to step into this industry has collapsed. And it's the only thing I know To put it together, went out and asked for the business and six months later I was opening for clint black on a national stage on four July and I knew that that was going to open up what those next opportunities were and finding venues that I could have my Children with most of the time when and making that work. And we went on to the next year's having incredible experiences with a tour in the summer. 

Hit all the fair circuits and open for some of the biggest names in country music and in between, I did all veteran and military events and ended up becoming the spokesperson for the american veterans for the state of California for three years because I asked for the business. They wanted me performing, singing the national anthem, going to the vets post and the different ceremonies that they had throughout California and I needed income. So we came together and let's do an endorsement contract and they agreed and it was a fantastic, incredible time and again, something that I was able to bring my Children to and it led into 2011, the 10 year anniversary of 9 11. I was asked to sing for the opening ceremony at Dodger Stadium And so here I am standing on home plate and all of the branches of service coming around as we have that 10, 10 year anniversary, my daughter, she's just a little girl, still my youngest standing next to me on home plate and when they came out and presented colours without her even needing to be asked, put her hand over her heart in total reverence and the cameras were on her and not me and I'm trying not to cry, but I had instilled this understanding of honoring our veterans and honoring our country into my Children with the work that we did. So creating a business plan and saying, where can I be, how can I overcome this? How can I live in my passions and how can I still make a living? And we did it. So I think in like a simple phrase, you glossed over a few details there as we sometimes do, but somebody might hear you say something like, well I didn't have another option. So I went and asked for the business. What does that look like? You know, like if someone to say like, are there some steps that I could take? Like how did someone just go and ask for the business? Where do you even start? 

Well, first you identify what it is you're selling or what you're wanting to be doing and find out who in that area is doing it. What what like for me, I had to look and see what local concerts are coming up, what venues are paying, who's hiring country music musicians and where, where, where are the best opportunities for that. Then putting together a marketing package and a business plan that identifies what they need, not what I need, what they need. And then go and ask for the meeting and present it. Look them in the eyes, shake their hands and say, I'm the right one for this job and that's exactly how I did it, right? Right. So you went and hunted down venues and concerts and things now, are you doing this as a solo artist? Is Amy Scruggs now. 

Oh yes, completely solo on the cover band. They went on to do their thing, this was me as a solo artist and brought in musicians and those changed throughout the years, and by the time my son was 17, he stepped up into that lead spot 18, and that was a wonderful time. Really wonderful. And and and you think because because you were so um immersed in music that, like, your Children had a natural affinity for it because they were exposed to from early age, I do believe so, and even for my son, it's naturally in him, he can play by ear, he picked up the guitar on his own, I don't play guitar, so I don't, he did that on his own and he had a natural ability to hear it, feel it and play it. And my youngest daughter, she's in college now, she can play five instruments, so two of them have it instinctively in them and they're unbelievably talented and the other two boys have their own talents and in their specialty, the two of them got the music, right? 

Yeah, so you decide, okay, this is this is who I'm going to talk to, this is what I'm gonna do. Um I don't really have a band, but I'm gonna, I'm gonna figure, I'm gonna find the people to do that as well, like, or did you have people, like, I booked an entire tour without a band and I knew we'll figure it out, I'll make it happen. And then I found this song I met up with a song that I wanted to record. 

I recorded a song that was for the, for the veterans coming home. The lead singer, the guy that wrote it, Dave Adams, he came on, I said, will you be my lead singer? And he goes, absolutely said I already have a tour booked and I don't have a band, can you put one together? And he did in two weeks, I believe in putting it out there and asking for it, because then when that yes comes in. 

Okay, now I'll find the details. If I had waited and said, I need to make sure I have the perfect team behind me and then go ask for the business, It would have been too late. I said yes to the jobs and then figured out how I was going to staff it and it worked. 

I think, I think that's a fantastic lesson because so many, so many of us, um I think just sit back and we'll have to get all my dots connected before I do it, you know, And I think even with podcasting, um you know, at this point I'm now in the top 5% globally, which is pretty cool and I'm pushing to crack the top 1% here as my stretch goal for this year. But um you know, I started podcast casting just by accident and then people kept asking when you're gonna start your own podcast, I was like, I don't know I'm going to talk about, but I just went ahead and kind of started and it's grown and it's evolved into what it is today, which is of course sharing these amazing and inspirational stories. And so um where does, where does I guess Nashville and like, the bigger, broader country music industry factor into this, because did you start to establish a name and reputation and what not like the people come calling for you or did you still have to go, I'm gonna go kick down some more doors over Nash, we're partnering with the veterans was a huge success. First of all, it helped my passions, but everywhere we went I would make sure that I booked on the local tv show and the local radio shows so that if I'm performing in that city or that town I would, I was my own pr I would make sure we had newspaper articles that I was meeting the radio station that was appropriate for that show and also that I was going to be on tv or performing until if that was a possibility. So putting a press plan together while we were out doing it made a significant difference. And this was before I could use these youtube videos or reels or streams instagram facebook was only for finding my high school friends. 

This was a time that I did not have social media and digital tools to do this. It was town to town handshake to handshake, picking up and calling ahead of time to book myself on these things and a lot of times I would actually use a different name so that I was representing myself as my manager, I was, I was, I was mary mary did an incredible job, mary booked a lot of great things and got some great press for me because that credibility there mary would handle the contracts and the right of requirements and we made it happen and then I would get there and I was the artist, they didn't recognize your voice is right, right, right. You deal with different people when you get there. 

It's like nobody ever another doesn't matter, right, That is so fantastic. I love the creativity ingenuity of that connect the dots as we're going, you were saying, connecting the dots before you start something, I connect the dots as I'm doing it every time I figure that out. Okay, there's a stumbling block, I'll get around it. So there's just this element of confidence in your abilities, which I think is really, really fantastic. Um I'm doing, there's hunger to, there's no isn't an option. 

Yeah, so you're going to figure this out. There's, there's quite something about, I think just motherhood in general, I'm, you know, I watch my wife with a little boy and, and it's it's something that's absolutely remarkable to, to witness and, and see there's like a certain drive that just that, you know, um, yeah, I'm just kind of at a loss for words when I think about motherhood, I think it's such an amazing and the most valuable, um, I guess profession, if you will it be any Different since I was 18, I don't know anything different. So it's really interesting. 

I don't, I didn't have another life before that. So I think what's, so what's really interesting about what you described here that like you went knocked on doors, shook hands, all this kind of stuff. And I wonder if, you know, some people might think, well, you know, we're past that all now now. 

We just like send a message on linkedin or whatever. And I think, man, there is still something about going and meeting people in person shaking hands and you, you established that as a practice and social media can maybe augment that or digital connection can augment that. I mean, look, we're, we've never met in person and we're having a fantastic conversation here, but we're utilizing the video technology so we can see each other, you can see intent, you can see my expressions, you can feel me, you can see my body language and mannerisms, it allows us to effectively communicate as if we were in the same room. So what we do is we take these digital tools, we level it up, get a lot more comfortable at these type of face to face and then we see how our network expands. 

Yeah, which, which is pretty impressive. And so I love this pr stuff and I was like, when I get back home, I'm over in Australia for a few months at the time of recording this, my wife's from Australia, and so we're we're escaping the, the brutally cold winter in Alberta Canada. And so yeah, yeah, which I mean, running my own businesses is kind of handy and that way I still, I still work over here, but uh, get to set my own schedule. 

I work in the mornings and the afternoons off with my boy. So I get to, I get to be a parent as well in that way, which I love. But um, so, so you opened a lot of doors and you started making a name for yourself, um, did you have, like, was there a hit song that like, came up out of this, or coming home? 

That was our song. That was the theme song for the American Veterans. Dave Adams wrote it. 

He's the one that ended up putting the band together for, for the tour Adam is a wonderful, wonderful, wonderful writer, amazing musician. He's still up all over touring all over northern California and up into reno Nevada all the time, that he's, he's incredible. And coming home was the anthem for the veterans. There was a lot of them coming home at that time, 2009, 10 and 11 veterans coming home. And so we were able to really honor them with this song. But at the same time it was the anthem for our Vietnam veterans who did not get the same honoring when they came home. And so we really dedicated this as well to the Vietnam Veterans. And there were a lot of those that were involved with Amvets, which we were at events constantly. So it definitely threaded its way through of us being able to go out and spend the time basically saying, thank you for a living. And it was incredible. And I'm known for singing the national anthem. 

I sing it everywhere. I still do incredible time of being able to do that. Yeah. And then we would walk out and we do all our rock songs and we do country got a really fun show when we had the ability to do that. Yeah, it was absolutely amazing. And your son came in the band at at 17. And so has he been a party band for 15 years, give or take, right? Yes. He had to start shuffling gear as a Guitar tech, He was handling the truck, the trailer, the merchandise, He paid his dues and then the guys would work with him And he'd play guitar and he'd be at all the rehearsals and then he'd start stepping into a little bit of spot. And then he really stepped in alongside Dave and I by 2009 and he did an incredible job. 

I mean when he was 19, he and I together we're on a stage for 20,000 opening up for trace Adkins and it was such an honor to stand next to him and to do that show. But also we have stood next to each other in hospital rooms at the veterans hospitals, on christmas when they're servicemen and their injured wounded can't go home and we have said thank you to so many of our military and veteran community together side by side. And so we have a bond in that, that words can't describe. 

Yeah, well what are some of the, you know, because this is a very remarkable story and you're very positive and and you just have very can do attitude. Were there any moments along the way in this journey where something really kind of like knock you for a loop that was really difficult to bounce back from or, or kind of caught you off guard? Yes, in 2011 we were, we were singing full time and doing all that, but it still wasn't enough to make all the ends meet, I think I volunteered myself to death, but we lost, we lost our home and so the kids and I were really blown apart into pieces at that time. It was now, what do we do? And it's interesting because I can look back now and and see that was really a critical, critical, difficult moment because my daughter and I then had to relocate, I went ahead and went back into sales, I took a job in SAn Diego so that we can start over the boys stayed with their dad, so it tore us apart as a family at that time. And then three months later our bass player dropped dead of a heart attack. So had we been out on tour? 

Imagine, I mean it was already devastating, but it happened right after and we were okay and so I pulled off music for a while because I had to grieve, there was a lot of loss there. I needed to rebuild. But what I'm so I'm so grateful for is that start over here in SAn Diego opened up a door after door after doors, I started working with sales teams again in communication that opened up the tv hosting all of a sudden doors and relationships started opening up to what I do today. 

Had we not lost the home, I don't believe I would have been so bold to make that big of a move and it really is incredible how it ended up turning out, doesn't mean it was any less painful, but again, what we do and the decisions we make in that pain can completely shape the direction of the where we're going and the outcome. Yeah I mean it's almost you know it's not that we would seek out these moments of rock bottom but I think they're an inevitable factor in life. Nobody there is no easy street in life and when we come to terms with that reality that that you know what like life's gonna kick us in the junk and punches in the gut like it's it's going to happen. We're not I think we're not so surprised when it does and and you you have been through adversity before and because of that I believe you would have a resilience that was fostered out of going through his previous challenges you face where you go. 

I don't know what the answer is but I know that I can get through this. Yes I have the skills you can take it all away from me but I have the tools and the skills and the fight in me to go do it again. And that's what I've learned. We lost everything And we lost our best friend Fred was an incredible part of our life. 

He wasn't just our bass player. He was family and he was only 40 when he had a heart attack suddenly. So we had lost and to turn around and see what it means to us now the bonds that we have the kids and I are great we're very close and then when I watched my youngest daughter daughter graduate with honors and get accepted to U. C. S. D. A year early this was where she was supposed to be. 

That was what was meant and laid out for her and what a joy I would suffer through all of it again to see the successes that my Children have today. Not just what I'm able to today but where their life is as well. Yeah and then so you ended up going on to tv and you spent a lot of time on stage and and maybe you've done some radio and stuff but now you're going to like hosting a tv show. It seems like it's a little different. A lot different. There's no question that is a lot different especially sitting in the hosting seat because then it's my job to pull the best out of you. It was my job to help every one of those professionals that I interviewed. And it was hundreds of interviews and these interviews and I want you to think about this for a second. 

They were all only between four and six minutes. I had to help them tell their story in six minutes or less or promote their business or share what their outrage was. So there was no time to get to the point if they if they would say hi amy thanks so much for having me here. Um Yeah so they've just lost 20 seconds out of their four minutes and it was tragic. So you really have to know your talking points at that point. And for me as a host to get right in on that introduction, get right to those speaking points to know what it is that they need to be sharing and to get it out of them. So that it brought relevance. 

That was the learning curve. And at first boy I had to figure some of that out. I'm not in that zone. 

Absolutely loved it, loved every minute of it. That's what I was meant to do. I mean, I think this is why I love podcasting because because it gives us the space and the freedom to explore and just a little bit more detail than we have there. But um you know, I think that that's a remarkable skill. Did you did you coach the people you're interviewing like before hand? 

Like, hey, this is how it's gonna go. Like I notice that's what started the coaching because I would notice, okay, this person is not okay, they're fumbling, they're not sure what they want to say. There was a lot of times they'd be like this, how I look, Is this how I sound? And so it was my job. All right. Tell me what your three main things you want to make sure you share. 

I will pull that out of you don't worry. And so really helping them be comfortable, eye contact, letting them feel my body language leaning into them. So there was almost this dance in this rhythm and it made a tremendous difference with the interview if they would really lean into me like that and let me lead them, it really was like a dance that's amazing. 

And, and actually I think what a remarkable gift kind of, to be sharing with people to, to like this is like a shared experience where I'm gonna take you through this and, and even though the actual time on camera is a very short window of time, there's a little bit of a transformation that takes place in just that moment because they would realize something about themselves as well and it's because of the coach that you did and is that what ultimately led you into what you're doing today completely because I was starting to coach, I was still hustling and working and I was the face and voice for mutual of Omaha's, I was writing their scripts, hosting four other shows, producing, I mean I was just completely knee deep in that when the pandemic hit and I went, okay, wait a minute and I had been coaching on the side because so many professionals have reached me and say, hey, will you work with me a little bit. So the crafting of the coaching I would do was definitely there, but I still was full time and everything else I was doing in 2020 so we all know, March 13th, that was gone and I thought what a beautiful opportunity as I watched the entire world go on camera. So this is what I do, this is what I help with. This is no longer just business professionals trying to be on tv, this is everyone, this is teachers, this is support staff, this is everyone trying to communicate, I'm here, let me help you. And that's when I literally right away said I need to put some of this pen to paper, I need to reach out to my network and bring in some great influence and and and co writers in this and say let's put something together to help professionals of all industries because I saw this shift happening as it was happening. 

I'm like this is not my first rodeo, big shift and I'm gonna be ahead of the curve and I'm going to help those that would like to be helped and it's amazing to see what has transformed and where I am today. What I didn't know that I was going to have the blessing of being able to record a new album in the middle of the pandemic as well, opportunities that I had dreamed of my entire life came about during the pandemic. See I got I got my butt kicked in the recession of oh seven, that one, that one was bad, this one, this one provided blessing and I'm grateful for it and so you want you want to record this album Um, did, did you? We've hardly talked about Nashville, which is great because I'm just loving your story here. But did you go on the record there? Did you record in California? 

Oh, it was Nashville. I was called Back to Music City and it was the greatest call in my life. I went, oh my gosh, we're doing it. And I was able to have a zoom with the producer fred mullen. And he said, Okay, I'll do it. And remember this is a time when they had the open time. 

Musicians weren't touring, they were available. The songwriters were thrilled to be pitching music. This was a time when that industry wanted business and I wanted to do a new album. And we said, Let's do it, let's do it. So, we recorded in May of 2021 and released in January of 2022. So I think this leads to more questions before we wrap up. And I thank you so much for sharing your time with me today. 

It's been truly a pleasure getting to know your story. One is this idea of songwriters and uh, you know, I guess a lot of artists don't necessarily write their own music and sometimes you may be critical of that for some reason. Um, but what is kind of your experience with songwriters and why might songwriters choose that avenue as opposed to performing their own. Um, I guess lyrics, right? 

I am so thankful for the songwriters that isn't my skill, that was not my forte. I'll perform it. You got it. I'll take it. So I am so grateful to go through the process. The publishers and the song pluggers. 

They come together and they pitched these two labels and two artists. And so I sat pitch sessions. I had, we had 1000 songs pitched to us for a five project. We went through that to see what's my message, What am I looking for? And you go through and you listen and you're looking for lyrics, you're looking for melody, You're seeing if this just if this vibes with what I want to represent. It was a six month process to choose. And we didn't even choose the last one till we landed in Nashville the day before going into the recording studio. 

Again, I connect the dots as I go, I'm like, we'll figure it out. It's gonna reveal itself. It's going to and I'm so, I think that that is the one that we actually just released this last week called Something to believe in. And it's really fun to know the story behind the songs, to be able to meet some of the writers, to be able to thank them online. It creates a beautiful relationship. 

Songwriters want their songs cut a lot of songwriters doesn't aren't necessarily performers doesn't mean they want to be a from that. That's a whole different skill set, but there's incredible writers that are there just, they want to write, they want to write, they want to write and we need them. And it's a beautiful pairing. 

I love that and thank you for for just like sharing it in that way because I think it shines a wonderful light on it. And I mean, I I love music, I don't perform nearly that sort of level. Um, but, but but I love music and I love that there's a different type of artistry in there and that you are giving voice to their artistry. I think that's, that's really what we want. 

Maybe people to take away from that. Right. It would be like every screenplay writer wanted to be the lead in their own movie. Well, that's ridiculous. They want brad pitt. Right. So a lot of the writers that is their talent, that's their forte and what a beautiful combination now, yes, there's artists that write amazing, their own songs, but a lot of artists that write and record and have hits with their own songs, still record music from other writers. So now you've likely had the opportunity to meet and connect with a number of probably numerous, um, you know, famous people of, of, you know, varying degrees of fame, notoriety, all the rest of it who has been the most, I guess surprising or interesting person that you've encountered. 

Oh, the most interesting. Jack Hoffman. Jack Goodman is a World War II veteran who survived Normandy on the beach at 17 and then went on to Okinawa and he's still alive today. Still sharing his story has overcome PTSD and it's quite a celebrity on CNN CNBC all the national news. 

They always bring Jack on still to this day. But you want to talk about someone that has a story that is a true hero and celebrity and that was the greatest interview I've ever done. He is still a friend to this day and I think the biggest celebrity I've ever met. Yeah. Well so he'd be in his 90's now. Yeah. Yeah man man. I'd love I'd love to interview him too if I could because he'd be the oldest guest ever had. But then that would be amazing. Sounds like an incredible story. Um I served six years in the navy and so yeah I have yeah I have quite a respect. And actually when I went when I went down to SAn Diego I was in the Canadian navy on the west coast. But we would go down to SAn Diego and and play play war games. But we do exercises, drills with the U. S. Navy. And then when we go into SAn Diego um we could go into the zoo and the aquarium down there and we would get like a hero ticket. 

They called it and I didn't have to pay for admission. I just show my show my idea and it's like. Yeah I love that. That was that was so fantastic. Well amy, what a what a story. I love it. There's there's so many more questions we could ask. But I do want to be respectful of your time for those who have been listening to your story. 

If you could just give them sort of one piece of what would you like people to take away from hearing your story to take the limits off and when your story is unfolding in front of you and it's not the pleasant one at the time, those decisions you make, picture yourself out of it, connect the dots as you go along, but don't quit, don't give up and don't choose failure. It's just not an option. Take the limits off and realize I can do this and the way to get out of it will come in front of you right when you need it. I love that Amy, thank you so much for your time today. 

It's truly been a pleasure. It was an honor to be with you. Thank you so much. 

Thank you so much for tuning into between the before and after. If you've enjoyed this episode, please subscribe and leave a review because that helps this podcast to reach and inspire more people. I love exploring the stories that take place between the before and after, the powerful experiences that shape who we become and I love human potential. I love the possibilities that lie within us. So whatever you may be up against, I hope these stories inspire you because if you're still here, your story is not done yet. So keep moving forward. 


Amy ScruggsProfile Photo

Amy Scruggs

Media and Communications Coach, Recording Artist, TV Host, Bestselling Author

Amy uses her 20 years’ experience as a Media Executive, TV host, Recording Artist, Public Speaker, Corporate Spokesperson, and Sales Professional, to help others present and communicate a concise and professional message, for TV, podcasts, ZOOM, social media, or public speaking appearances.

Amy has been providing media and communications coaching to corporate and private clients through individual and team training workshops to enhance their communications and virtual media skills. She also advises entrepreneurs and startup companies on messaging, branding and how to develop marketing strategies.

In 2021 Amy received "Bestseller" with her book "Lights Camera Action", Media Coaching for Professionals along with "Podmatch Guest Host Mastery" in 2022 as a contributing author. As a TV Host, she enjoyed the past 5 years on the national shows “The American Dream TV”, “Retiring Right TV”, “Veterans One TV” and "Financing the American Dream", which airs on CNBC.

As a Recording Artist, Amy has been known in the country music industry for more than 15 years and has opened for Artists including Clint Black, Trace Adkins, Charlie Daniels, and many more. Her new music “Love Another Day” EP released in 2022 and the single “What if it All Goes Right” is now on radio and charted worldwide including reaching #66 on the Music Row Charts, along with being selected for the NY Times Summer 2022 Playlist.