10 Questions with ... Susan Toney
May 11, 2015
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
1) The second single "Missing Me" was recently released to AC radio. It follows the first radio hit single "The Trail of Light and Dark" and is also from the recent critically acclaimed album "Love Is The Cure-The Essential Collection." What inspired you to write this song?
"Missing Me" is the second single released. It's a reflective song about the victory and healing that followed, after I faced the pain and disappointment of an abusive relationship. The single "Missing Me" was released at a time, when to keep the freedom given to us by God and rebuild the foundation and strength of our country, we have to choose to forgive, love, work together, and treat each other with respect and dignity. With discussion of different points of views and ideas, we continue the rich fabric that makes us strong, resilient and diverse.
2) I have read that you suffered a horrific car crash in 2003 and you had to learn how to walk, talk, sing, and more all over again. How do you think this experience has affected your music and you as a person?
The accident affected me very profoundly. My life, talents and gifts were saved miraculously and with renewed faith and determination I recovered completely. It deeply reinforced my understanding and faith in God and that I was here to touch the world with my message, music, voice and gifts, as a singer, composer, writer, actress and author. I'm here to bring others Hope, Joy and Peace.
3) Let's talk about your recently released record, "Love Is The Cure-The Essential Collection." What was the inspiration for these songs? Can you describe the process of putting the record out?
The inspiration for the songs on the record comes from the many different types of relationships we have. It's universal and part of being human to have both great and difficult experiences. Relationships are full of joy, beautiful memories, love, pain, disappointments and sorrow. All relationships teach us, as we make mistakes, learn and mature. Our disappointments can be our greatest teachers, if we risk being seen and understood and continue to strive to love and understand each other. As we get better at loving ourselves, understanding and listening to God, we influence and help each other become all that God intends us to be.
Putting the record out had many objectives. I wrote this collection of songs for everyone of all ages, colors and nationalities. It was a process of distributing the record so it would touch everyone. I wanted to have digital exposure on all platforms, submit the album and two singles for Grammys and reach and touch the masses through social media, press and national radio. The album and two singles were considered for many Awards. The album and two singles charted in AC, Pop, Americana and Country and the singles are in rotation on radio. The "Missing Me" music video is beginning exclusive releases and the music video "The Trail of Light and Dark" is in rotation in over 1,000 media outlets world wide.
4) Can you tell us what it was like working with Grammy Award-winning producer David Z who has worked with some incredible musicians like Prince, Tab Benoit, Johnny Lang, John Mayall, Etta James, Eric Clapton and more?
Working with David Z on the record, was an absolutely incredible experience. He's a brilliant multi-platinum Grammy nominated producer, engineer, mixer and knows exactly how to get the best out of the artist, the musicians, and background vocalists working together on the project. He's a master at bringing out the different musical parts and textures in a record and making it support the artist, style, genre, and message being conveyed by the songs and album as a whole.
5) I love your quote "My music is like a tree with branches of universal truths. Like a tree, some of the tracks are oak strong; some are like a weeping willow." Can you elaborate a little on this? Why do you think your songs are this way?
My songs are very commercial and universal. The songs discuss universal truths about love, loss, self examination, difficulties, failure, faith, hope and overcoming disappointments. My songs reflect my life's journey, the things I've learned and observed in the world around me, about God, myself, and others.
6) Strange Child Records is your current record label. Can you tell us about starting this company and why you felt it was necessary? What other musicians do you work with under it?
I felt I needed to start a record label as a part of my brand. I was offered several major record deals, but felt the deals I was offered were asking too much at the time.
I work with several legendary musicians in the studio and live performance. My band: Jane Getz, Bob Tucker, Chad Watson, Arno Lucas, Tony Braunagel, Sheri Pedigo. In the studio-Jane Getz, Mike Rojas, Bob Tucker, Jay Dee Mannas, Pat Buchannan, Bob Britt, Jack Holder, Chad Watson, Steve Mackey, Arno Lucas, Lynn Williams, Bekka Bramlett, and The McCrary Sisters.
7) Can you remember the moment you decided to be a performer? Was there ever a time when you wanted to do something else?
I knew I wanted to be a singer and performer in the 1st grade at Monte Casino Catholic Preperatory School in Tulsa, OK when my class went to the cafeteria and the Sister asked me to stand in front of the students and sing the National Anthem. As I prepared to sing I thought, "This is what I was born to do. I'm going to be a singer, writer, actress and author and help other people love and understand each other, their purpose, and God who made them."
Although I have several undergraduate degrees in the arts and a graduate degree in Film & Television Directing, Writing, Acting and Production and worked successfully for network TV and Film studios as a camera operator, assistant, grip and videotape operator, my highest aspiration and goal was always to be a mainstream artist, actress and author.
8) More times than not, influences tend to bleed through. What artists are currently inspiring the music that you're making?
I'm influenced by both current artists and great, timeless artists in many different genres. Taylor Swift, Faith Hill, Katy Perry, Sia, Selena Gomez, Rihanna, Barbara Streisand, Joni Mitchell, Sam Smith, Bruno Mars, Maroon 5, Tony Bennett, The Rolling Stones, The Beatles (Michael Jackson, Sinatra, Carole King, Peggy Lee, Patsy Cline, Johnny Cash, Leonard Bernstein, Johann Sebastian Bach, and Ludwig Von Beethoven).
9) Living or dead, who would you love to work and why those in particular?
I would love to work with Tony Bennett because he is a song and phrasing genius. He sings and reaches into everyplace you need to hear him. I would also love to work with Barbara Streisand, because her vocal interpretation of the songs and the recordings produced, are always exceptional and timeless.
10) Is there anything in particular that you'd like people to take away from listening to your music?
I want to help people understand themselves, each other and God, to become everything they can be and encourage others to do the same. I want my music to inspire courage, determination, to love, hope, have faith and share forgiveness, generosity, grace, mercy, compassion, and kindness with others.