Susie McLean

It is an elegant Suzie McLean that took the stage last week at the Hard Rock Cafe in Toronto to present a few songs off her new album to the audience of the Toronto International Music Summit.  In her gold sequel dress, she stole every heart in the room by serenating us with her beautiful voice.  Her debut album 'Til The Morning Comes is now available.  It includes three original songs and jazz covers.  For more info on this artist and events, visit:
Interview by: Valerie Bastien
Valerie: Explain how you came to singing and writing music.

Susie: My mom encouraged me when it came to singing. I was 8 years old when I really got into it. I was always making up songs, dressing up pretending to be some big performer and asking my parents what they thought. I loved writing out my feelings in poems and I started to add melodies to it. I was later encouraged by a teacher at my art school to continue writing and singing.

Valerie: 'Til The Morning Comes, your debut album is now available. What makes you proud about this album?

Susie: The thing that makes me most proud is that it’s a true reflection of me. Nothing is put on. Each time I look at it or listen to it I know that I was true to myself in everything I wanted it to be, down to the artwork.

Valerie: Releasing an album has been your long-time dream; tell us about what kept you going when times got tough?

Susie: My husband and family kept me going. They consistently poured into me and told me that they would support me and help me with whatever I needed. One of the other things that helped me was picturing myself succeeding and doing well.

Valerie: Explain why you chose the title ‘Til The Morning Comes to reflect the overall delivery of this album.

Susie: I chose the title ‘Til The Morning Comes because it speaks of hope and holding on cause tomorrow is a new day. Each song on the album has a message of hope. Hope for relationships, hope for love and hope for pain to end. That’s what I want listeners to take home.

Valerie: There are three original songs on this album. Can you talk about these songs please? What are they about?

Susie: "Sing Your Song" is about finding new love and the joy that you experience when it happens.  "‘Til The Morning Comes" is about an individual that is in a committed relationship promising that no matter what life may bring their way they are in it together.  "Falling Down" was written about my brother who passed away 3 years ago from leukemia. It speaks about pain and letting go.

Valerie: How did you choose the other covers for the album?

Susie: I wanted to make sure that I chose songs that I could relate to in some way, that I could be true to and re-live as if it were my very own. Billie Holiday said it best “If you find a tune that’s got  something to do with you, you just feel it, and when you sing it, other people feel it, too.”

Valerie: Is there a song on the album that always puts you in a good place and makes you smile?

Susie: Yes, that song would be ‘Til The Morning Comes.

Valerie: What song is the most meaningful to you and why?

Susie: The most meaningful song for me on the album is “Make you Feel My Love.” The reason being is because it speaks to me of an unconditional love. Something we all desire and need. It speaks to me of what true love should be. The safety in knowing that there is nothing you could ever do to make me stop loving you.

Valerie: You come across as a very positive person. What do you hope for your fans to learn from you as a role-model?

Susie: Well, I hope that they would see that anything in life is possible. That no matter where they come from or what people may say, you can achieve your hearts desire. Just because it’s hard is never an excuse to give up.

Valerie: What are your touring plans in the near future?

Susie: I actually plan to do a tour in 2013. In the meantime I want to sink my teeth into what’s happening here in Toronto. Doing more live shows, jazz festivals and bettering myself in my craft!

Valerie Bastien is a vocal coach, teacher, musician and freelance journalist.
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