Celebrated as a poignant lyricist, accomplished musician and transcendent vocalist, American/Pop artist Susan Toney showcases a fusion of country, pop, rock, and rhythm and blues in her forthcoming CD project entitled LOVE IS THE CURE. Encompassing the influences of her heritage, Susan delivers a transparent, introspective collection of songs steeped in spirituality.
Susan talked to us about her music and life in Los Angeles.
How long have you been a musician?
I have been a musician since the age of 3. I played the piano and the guitar. My musical training began in the second grade.
What did your parents think of this path? Were they supportive?
They thought it was a good path and encouraged me to be adept at both the left and right brain, being able to be intelligent and creative. They supported my talent with lessons, I played at church, sang in the choir, performed in theater and talent shows at school and my parents always asked me to play for friends and relatives.
How would you describe your music?
My music is Country, Pop, Americana, Blues and Rock.
Do you remember your first public performance?
Yes, I sang and played a Joan Baez song in the talent show at my elementary school in Dallas, TX. I also acted in and played the Banjo in Huckleberry Finn.
When did you first get started in the music studio?
I began recording in my own simple recording studio, with a tape reorder, in elementary school. I was invited into the recording and radio studio, when I was in junior high school.
How did you get started working with David Z?
His management company contacted me and told me David loved my music and was interested in talking to me about working together and producing an album. We spoke on the phone, I sent him music, we discussed songs for the album, we met in Nashville, talked about the musicians and working on the record at Ocean Way in Nashville and then made the album called "Love Is The Cure."
The album continued to be worked on in Los Angeles with David and we added 3 more songs, doing additional recording, production mixing and mastering, at Crescent Heights Digital and Universal Mastering Studios. The 16 track album, is now called "Love Is The Cure-The Essential Collection." The Album, EP and Singles are available digitally on iTunes and Amazon and the Album will be available in stores, February 10, 2014.
If you could share the stage with one (currently living) musical artist, who would it be?
What is one if the challenges that comes with songwriting?
Enough time to write. Choosing the best stories.
What's harder for you? Writing the music or the lyrics?
It's not that the lyrics are harder to write, it's a different process and like a great novel, the story grows as it speaks to you and you have to be still when it is delivered to you, or you'll miss it. The music comes automatically and it's easier to remember a musical phrase and hook, than a story, lyric line, literary mood and climate for the songs development.
Tell us a bit about your new album and the inspiration behind it.
The new album "Love Is The Cure-The Essential Collection", has 16 tracks, that tell the story of how complex, beautiful and necessary love, healing and relationships are.
The album was produced, recorded, mixed in Nashville, at Ocean Way Studios and in Los Angeles, at Crescent Heights Digital, by David Z. The album, EP and Singles were mixed by Ray Kennedy at Zen Masters in Nashville and Erick Labson at Universal Mastering Studios in Los Angeles.
The album has incredible virtuosos, musicians and singers on it: Jane Getz, Mike Rojas (piano, keyboards, synth), Bob Tucker, Bob Britt, Pat Buchanan, Jack Holder (acoustic, electric guitar), Jay Dee Manass (pedal steel), Gabe Witcher (country fiddle), Chad Watson, Steve Mackey (bass), Arno Lucas, Lynn Williams (drums, percussion, Cajone), Bekka Bramlett, The McCrary Sisters, Jean McLain (background vocals).
Out of all the cities you could be in, why Los Angeles?
I'm in Los Angeles because I'm a singer songwriter and actress. I worked in Film as a first camera assistant and Television as camera operator, camera and sound assistant, videotape engineer and grip.
The L.A. music scene can be pretty cut-throat. What is it like to make a career there?
For me, the L.A. music scene isn't cut throat. Everyone trying to make it has my blessings, are my colleagues and I want them to succeed. I don't worry about competition. I have a message, care about people and want to remind people they can overcome, they are loved, valuable and have a purpose. I care about who I sing to, being authentic, honest, being the best I can be as a performer, singer, writer, musician and song crafter.
What is your favorite venue to play at?
My favorite venue('s) to play at (are) is Genghis Cohen, Room 5 or The Troubador.
Can you recommend any fabulous food joints?
In L.A. The fabulous food joints that come to my mind are: Bestia, Campanile, Canter's Deli, Carney's, Chan Dar, Encounter Restaurant, Gladstones, Lawry's, M & M's Soul Food, Original Tommy's, Pig 'n Whistle, Pink's Hollywood, Philippe the Original, Saladang, Spago Beverly Hills, The Dresden Lounge, The Encounter, The Pacific Dining Car, The Pantry, The Tasting Kitchen, Trader Vic's, Yamashiro Restaurant
What are your favourite and least favorite aspects of Los Angeles?
My favorite aspects of Los Angeles are, great weather, music, theater, art, restaurants, shopping, creative and business opportunities, possibilities, beaches, diversity, the music, film, television and entertainment business.
My least favorite aspects of Los Angeles are traffic, expense, pollution, difficulty getting to and from different parts of Los Angeles, because of geographic size, real connection to others.
How would you describe Los Angeles in one word?
I would describe Los Angeles in one word by saying: "Amazing." Amazing, Awesome, Big, Complex, Crowded, Extraordinary, Extensive, Expansive, Opportunity, Polluted, Smog, Smoke, Vast, 2 Counties.
What's next for you?
I'm going to be the shining star in music and acting, reminding people to dare to love, live, heal and grow; to become and support others in becoming, everything God intended us to be.
This year I was considered for 5 Grammys for my new album and country single, in the top categories and fields, that exist in The Recording Academy. I was immensely humbled and grateful for the very large honor.
In 2014, in this next year, I will become the singer on tour, on stage, performing and acting in TV and Film. My LP is signed to a major world wide distribution deal with InGrooves/UMG and I am being launched as a major artist, on Radio, TV, Film and the Web, all over the world. I'm one of the leads in an indie film called Harmony & Melody and it's soon to be released.I'm writing my autobiography, which will also become a screenplay.