Susana – good music favors the brave

May 29th, 2012

It’s the reflection of her growth as an artist. The sum of over 10 years of empowering music and EDM scene involvement. ‘Brave’, is the warm, powerful voice of Susana. Her second artist album just landed, including 12 new originals that bring out the light of dark progressive, lift the waves of trance and slowly, but steadily introduce you to the eclectic mind of the Dutch songstress. To celebrate the release of ‘Brave’, we named this talented lady our Artist of the Week. All reason to hook up with Susana and ask her all about her courage, personal choices and upcoming happenings.   

Hey Susana! Congrats on the release of ‘Brave’, your second artist album already! What’s going through your mind right now?
Susana:”Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!!!!!!  Pinch me please!!!”

How is today’s Susana in comparison to the Susana that we heard on ‘Closer’? Is she a different vocalist – more mature perhaps?
Susana:”Even though I am still very proud of Closer and of the collaborations on there I do feel like Brave is a stronger album, mainly because I feel like it demonstrates better what the Susana sound is. I think with Closer, which was released two years ago, I was still searching for my sound. And that’s not the only way in which I have grown since the release of Closer. For Brave I got more in the front seat and took more control over the creative process and the decision making. That’s also part of the reason why I named the album after the song Brave. I wrote Brave about how it takes courage sometimes to open up, show your vulnerable side and surrender to love. But as an album title the word Brave also refers to having the courage to step out of your comfort zone in order to make your dreams come true. Something which isn’t always easy to do, it can be very confrontational. I went through that process myself! But in the end I do believe fortune favors the brave and I couldn’t be more proud of this album!”

What, in your eyes, defines a brave artist? In fact, what makes you a brave person?
Susana:”First of all I think we all have our brave and not so brave moments. And there are many ways to be brave. Speaking your mind. Not giving up on your goals even though people around you aren’t supportive or the circumstances are difficult. Fighting for the one you love even though the odds are against you. Being honest even though it may upset things. Not being afraid to show your vulnerabilities. Admitting you were wrong. Letting go of someone you love because it’s the right thing to do even though it hurts. Finding happiness and strength within yourself despite the adversities in your life. But also being ok with not being brave all the time… I mean, we tend to view vulnerability as a weakness but it should be all right to experience different emotions. In the end emotion is what makes us human and what makes us relate to each other. Music itself is all about emotion! Also, like I said before, I think it actually takes a brave person to get in touch with vulnerability and not being afraid to show it.  This is, by the way, something that artists, and vocalists in specific, do constantly. Either to create touching vocals or while performing. Besides that I think artists in general have to be a little brave to step into the spotlight where everyone can see them and judge them. Not only in public but also through media and social media. The word brave can be a metaphor for many things really!”

The album features collaboration with various talented producers. How did you decide who to work with?
Susana:”Most of the time we would reach out to producers whose sound we liked, or who had expressed interest in working with me before, and asked them to send demos or instrumentals that we would then choose from and write upon. And on occasion we would be approached by producers who heard about the project. The decision to reunite with Rex Mundi and Ernesto vs Bastian was easily made since our previous collaborations have turned out so well. In the end what is most important to me is working with well-produced tracks that I feel a connection with and working with genuine people who take their craft seriously.”

Is there any personal favorite on there, or track that you’re most proud of?
Susana:”Armin asked me that same question when he interviewed me for A State of Trance last week and it’s always a tough question to answer! I feel connected to different tracks for different reasons. Lyrically Brave is the most personal track on the album for me, Down to Nothing is a great track to perform live, I love All Time Low because it’s a little out of the box, I have a thing for Shelter because it’s a positive song about friendship, Different Worlds has been produced by Beat Service -who is one of my favorite producers at the moment – and I like the track so much because it has a certain groove to it… well, as you might be able to tell it’s hard for me to pick favorites!”

The latest single, ‘Down To Nothing’ with Max Graham, is doing very well! What can you tell us about the music video?
Susana:”The music video for Down to Nothing was shot in Taiwan in April with Provoke, an amazing production company! My mom went with me on the trip. We stayed there for a week, not only to shoot music videos but also because I was performing at  the Taiwanese Spring Wave Festival. I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of that trip! Even though on day two I caught a Taiwanese flu that kept plaguing me throughout the whole week! Taiwan is a lovely country, the people are so kind over there, working with Provoke was a pleasure and I just love the whole process of shooting videos. I haven’t seen the final product of the Down to Nothing video yet and I don’t want to give away too much but I think it will show people a different side of me then what they’ve seen before!”

What’s the single plan for the coming months, which one’s the next?

Susana:”Down to Nothing with Max Graham and All Time Low with Rex Mundi have just been released. The next single will be the title track Brave, with Ernesto vs Bastian and Wezz Devall. I shot music videos for all three singles, so these will also be revealed over the next few weeks. After the third single we will see what comes next!”

‘Brave’ also features your stunning cover version of ‘Home’. Does this classic have a special meaning to you?
Susana:”Actually covering ‘Home’ was kind of my way of paying tribute to trance music. To me the lyrics are a metaphor for how at home I feel in the EDM scene. Besides that I wanted to show a different side of my voice. I am known for my slightly dark and powerful sound, but the past few years I have also been exploring other dimensions of my voice, mainly through working with my vocal coach Kirsten Shotteldreier. Home gave me the opportunity to showcase a softer sound by using the higher regions of my voice. The fact that my version of Home has been received so well has made it extra special of course.”

Another new challenge for you, is the vocal radio show that you’re starting on, together with Audrey Gallagher & Betsie Larkin. What’s the show going to be like and how often will it air?
Susana:”Yes, this is something I am very excited about! V2V is a project initiated by my agent JAM DJ Management in collaboration with Audrey Gallagher, Betsie Larkin and myself. It is aimed at promoting and consolidating the currently growing market for vocalists in EDM through live shows, radio and podcasts, online media, merchandising etc. As we all know the EDM scene has long been the main territory of – mainly male – DJ’s and producers, but over the past few years vocalists have been gaining more and more popularity and respect as EDM artists. I think that for example initiatives like the Armin Only Tour have contributed to this development by bringing live artists on stage and showing the impact this has on crowds around the world. Also the rise of social media have made it easier for vocalists to profile themselves and connect with these same crowds. They have started to grow their own fan bases and the scene is picking up on this. And of course vocalists are consolidating this development by setting the right standards for themselves and branding themselves as solo artists. A lot of good things are happening for vocalists and I’m hoping V2V will contribute to this. We will have a monthly radio show on which will be broadcasted every 2nd Sunday of the month and Audrey, Betsie and I will compile and host it in turns. I will kick off with the first episode in June. Those interested can visit where we will publish more detailed information soon. “

You’ve seen quite a few countries – performing live at some very impressive gigs. Which ones are coming up?
Susana:”Yes, so far it has been a good year! Actually travelling is my other big passion in life so I feel really blessed to be able to combine both music and discovering new places, cultures and people. Coming up next are Ukraine and Prague and my booking agent JAM is currently working on some more gigs for over the summer. To stay up to date about where I’m headed next people can follow my updates on Facebook and Twitter.”

Get Susana’s ‘Brave’ album on iTunes or Beatport now!