Suzie McNeil

I first heard of Suzie McNeil on the 2005 television serie RockStar : INXS in which band members were looking for a new singer.  Suzie did amazingly well for herself and was one of the runner ups if I remember well.  Her career just exploded after that incredible opportunity. She's sang back-ups for Pink, played the charactyer Oz on the Canadian production of "We Will Rock You", she judged new talents on YTV's "The Next Star" and by now, everybody knows that she has been the voice behind Marineland's jingles for years.  And of course, she's managed to release three albums yet, one of which, "Broken and Beautiful" has earned her a couple of awards at the 2008 Junos.  What an exciting life she has!  Suzie is happy today to talk to us about her most recent and cherished work and new album: "Dear Love".  For more info on this artist and tour dates, visit: SuzieMcNeil.ca

 
Interview by: Valerie Bastien
Valerie: Music has taken you on a roller coaster several times in your career in the last decade. Describe how it has forged the artist that you have become today.

Suzie: Music has always been my whole life and I feel lucky that it's also my career...  The high I've gotten from music has always been the same. Its the place where I feel the happiest in life. The music business, however has given me it's fair share of highs and lows. It's a very difficult business to be in but when something hits there's nothing like it.
I find that I take everything with a grain of salt today and I'm very level headed about where I'm at. I feel kind of... I don't know, wise? I very much enjoy passing on all of my knowledge to up and coming artists as well. :)

Valerie: You have recently released your new album “Dear Love”. Many of the songs were written about the end of a relationship that was clearly very meaningful to you. Explain how music helps you channel your emotions.

Suzie: When I set out to start writing this record it was a pretty bad time in my relationship and that's all I could really think about at the time. It was clouding my abilities... and then it occurred to me, what am I doing? I should be writing about my relationship!! True art is based on something that is real to us, so when I decided to channel my direction, the songs just flew out of me.

Valerie: There were a couple of collaborations with Josh Ramsey of Mariana's Trench. How did this come about? Can you tell us about the songs that you wrote together?

Suzie: Josh is signed to the same label as me so they set it up. We had a blast, he's hilarious. He's also MEGA talented at what he does... writing killer pop lines and producing the whole thing!! We wrote one of my favorite tunes Drama Queen together which totally describes me to a tee. The other song Tough Love took a few different directions before we nailed it down but it's got a really fun vibe to it, I'm proud of what we did together.

Valerie: I enjoyed watching the video for the single Drama Queen; I think that your sense of humour comes across quite well into the song and video. Why do you think girls are such drama queens (at least that's what HE says, lol)?

Suzie: I think girls are just really sensitive at times. I'm not sure about everyone else but that tends to make me over-think the situation. These days I'm like George Kastanza on Seinfeld... I try and do the opposite of what I'm thinking when it comes to men!! Lol

Valerie: Describe two more songs that are contrasting in style on the album? What are they about?

Suzie: Hmmmm... I guess Dear Love and Tough Love would be quite contrasting? Dear Love is about a love letter to your ex that is pretty introspective. Just about healing, and looking back to what might have gone wrong. It's the beginning of the theme of the record. Essentially the whole album is a letter to an ex and it goes into the couple's story.
Tough Love is pretty fun and straight forward, it describes a part of me that's pretty tough. I like to be pushed around a bit and I need a strong man in my life because of that.

Valerie: I knew you as the rocker chick from RockStar: INXS... It seems that you have grown into more of a pop rock singer. I like that we can sing along to your songs and that they are not unnecessary heavy; just fun with a bit of attitude! What song represents who you are the best on the album?

Suzie: I'd say Merry Go Round... the older I get I think the more I mellow out. My next record will be even more mellow... :)

Valerie: You're voice is very versatile. You can sing anythng. How do you care for your voice?

Suzie: Ummm... Jack Daniels?? LOL No, I pretty much just sing properly. Not with my throat but with lots of breath support etc. Sleep really helps too.

Valerie: There has been a lot of controversy around how marine animals have been cared for at Marineland lately. I heard that you even asked the jingle in which you sang to stop being used. Recenthly, Dalton McGuinty finally acknowledged the issue after a petition of over 77000 signatures were presented to him. What would you like to see happening to prevent future suffering for animals in such environments as Marineland?

Suzie: I would like there to be stricter government rules and regulations for animals in captivity.

Valerie: Your career has been incredibly diversified and very exciting. How do you define success. And how do you know that you have reached it?

Suzie: I've always gauged success by whether I'm able to do something that I love for a living. And I am, so I feel incredibly lucky. I work hard as well so I really feel the outcome of every success... It's very fulfilling.

Valerie: What are your future touring plans?

Suzie: I play a lot around Canada as it is, but we're in the process of putting together an actual tour. TBA!! :)

Valerie: What are you looking forward to the most on your next adventure?

Suzie: Being immersed in music... every step of the way. :)










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