Last spring, it’s safe to say Cameron Scoggins didn’t know that a year from then he’d have two roles on two majorly successful television shows, yet here he is. “So much of this business, I feel like, is about momentum. For awhile you can be dead in the water it feels like, and then all of a sudden it doesn’t rain, it pours… or whatever the expression is,” he said with a laugh when we spoke recently. The Greensboro, North Carolina native is currently killing it on the small screen thanks to roles on two of TV’s most buzz-worthy shows, CMT’s Nashville and NBC’s Shades of Blue.
Being the actor in a group of brothers that includes an actual rocket scientist, Scoggins agreed that he is definitely the anomaly in his family — “You nailed it on the head,” he laughs. As a kid he found himself using P.E. as more of an acting class than anything. “I was always sort of making up stories and movies in my head, and on the playground, before I even knew what I was doing,” he says. Those playground productions eventually turned into middle school plays and that’s when he really discovered his passion for acting. “I felt like I’d found my niche, and from there on out I knew what I wanted to do.”
He took that drive all the way to Juilliard, and upon graduation from there in 2011, he threw himself into the theatre life of New York, honing his craft and falling in love with off-broadway, along with doing various guest roles on shows as The Good Wife, Person of Interest and The Blacklist to name a few. “I love doing new plays, workshopping, and doing off-broadway provides me the chance to work with so many great, newer playwrights and just interesting work,” he says. In fact, his love for the theatre is one of the main reasons he hasn’t made the seemingly inevitable move to L.A. that most actors eventually make.
On Nashville, his character, Zach Welles, is a Silicon Valley millionaire and self-proclaimed fanboy of Connie Britton’s Rayna Jaymes, who eventually partners with the country superstar on her record label, Highway 65, as an investor — not to mention he starts a budding romance with Chris Carmack’s Will Lexington. “The showrunner’s, Marshall Herskovitz and Ed Zwick, from the first table read, were like ‘Have fun. Make it your own. Feel free to add or improv, feel free to move.’ And Connie is a total professional, down to earth and amazing to work with. It’s so good to get to work with someone who makes you feel so comfortable and she has that amazing ability to make people feel comfortable around her.”
And it doesn’t look like Zach is going anywhere anytime soon following Rayna James untimely death, which pretty much left him in charge of Highway 65. “I feel like I’m in the best position of all,” he says. “I’m stepping onto a show at a period of time where it’s going through a rebirth, and being a part of it in its entity right now is very exciting.” Over on the Shades of Blue end, he’s working alongside the likes of Jennifer Lopez, Drea de Matteo and Ray Liotta in the role of Nate, Liotta’s character’s estranged gay son who makes a reappearance after years away. “I’m so fortunate I get to work with Ray and JLo — they’re amazing,” he says.
Also a country and bluegrass musician himself, back in New York, Scoggins was in a band for a few years called The Whiskey Collection, with a group of friends. The group eventually went their different directions, and he focused on acting, but because of his time in the Music City as of late filming Nashville, he’s found himself diving into music more than ever — and hopes to use this summer to lay down some tracks of his own. “Now that I’m down here and I’m around music so much more, it’s starting to come back,” he says. “My intention would be to put out some music within the next year or so.”
Scoggins is someone that, above all else, legitimately enjoys the craft, and in the long run would be just as happy doing off-broadway plays the rest of his life as he would anything else. The notoriety may open many doors, but it’s the work that will always drive him. “I just want to tell stories. I’m just naturally drawn to storytelling, in every form of it,” he says. “I’ve even begun to invest some of my time into playwriting myself. I get anxious when I’m not doing something creative. It’s hard when you have so many different interests, and all of those different interests require time to work on it or practice, but part of it for me is not stressing about that, and letting each thing work itself out.”