Winnipeg Singer/Songwriter Süss driven by music

Her songs have a lyrical honesty. Coupled with her quirky musical mind, they can be sad and funny at the same time.

Her songs have a lyrical honesty. Coupled with her quirky musical mind, they can be sad and funny at the same time.

 As posted by Sandra Thacker, CBC News April 19, 2014

Alternative indie singer/songwriter Süss is releasing a new collection of songs.

It’s called Myths On My Body and it’s being launched at the Gas Station Arts Centre on Friday April 25.

Her songs have a lyrical honesty. Coupled with her quirky musical mind, they can be sad and funny at the same time.

Not many musicians decide to go full throttle into a music career in their 30’s. But for Süss it was a no-brainer.

“I was realizing I didn’t want to have a career in science,” she recalled. “I was coming out; I was learning to live alone in Winnipeg after being married to a man and living in Vancouver; I was leaving the church which was all difficult but important for me to do.”

She acknowledges it takes a lot of drive to have a career in music.

“You have to give up a lot,” she explained. “I was already giving up a whole bunch of things. So I decided to go back to music school when I was 30. And I kept on doing everything.”

Mostly she knew she couldn’t really be happy without music.

“If I could use a biblical reference, it’s kind of like King David or King Saul has to get David the Shepherd to come play his harp to soothe his crazy mind,” she said. “And I had to soothe my own mind.”

'I kind of describe this album as Jane Siberry goes to Texas.' - Süss

‘I kind of describe this album as Jane Siberry goes to Texas.’
– Süss

One song on the album is called Like a Man and it reflects Süss’ own gender identity.

“I was raised in a very gendered atmosphere, specifically in the Mennonite Brethren church,” she explained. “One of my older brothers recalls the women sitting on one side of the church and the men on the other. That was just ending as I was growing up.”

Süss recorded her EP with musician/producer Dan Donahue.

“He is a very interesting guitar player. And he played five different guitars on this album. Whereas my last album had a lot of piano on it this one is full of guitars,” she pointed out. “So, musically Dan really helped. But I also had the Winnipeg roots scene in mind. I kind of describe this album as Jane Siberry goes to Texas.”

Süss in 2BMag.com

Süss Hits the Road with a Guitar and a lot of Gumption

Süss Hits the Road with a Guitar and a lot of Gumption

Süss article in 2B Mag.com

Süss Hits the Road with a Guitar and a lot of Gumption

Quirky and unusual, Süss’ music finds a way of balancing the skill and wisdom of experience with a lust for life that is definitely catching. Süss performs with Rae Spoon on Sunday, May 1 at Casa del Popolo, 4873, boul Saint-Laurent.

At a time in her life when most professional musicians are starting to think about defaulting to their “plan B”, songstress Süss is instead bravely taking on new adventures.  Stepping out of her comfort zone, Süss will be spending the next month playing the role of the travelling minstrel, wandering through Ontario and Québec on her first mini-tour to promote her first solo album, I Just Ride My Bike.  Much like the title of her album suggests, Süss’ music is playful and whimsical. Her jazz-influenced style of folk pop pairs well with her eclectic lyrics, which are sometimes sassy and comedic, sometimes dreamy and romantic. Quirky and unusual, Süss’ music finds a way of balancing the skill and wisdom of experience with a lust for life that is definitely catching.

Excited about her upcoming travels, Süss is particularly excited about returning to Montréal, a town that she feels is infused with art and energy, something that she has tried to apply to life in her hometown. And even though she “sometimes feels a bit isolated” as an openly queer artist in Winnipeg, this tour is an opportunity not just to promote her music, but also to make connections with other queer artists. When Süss makes her stop in Montréal, she will be opening for Montréal-based post-folk wanderer, Rae Spoon, someone who has travelled the world as an independent artist thanks to help from an international queer network. A perfect pairing of travelling souls, the Rae Spoon + Süss show promises to be one for dreamers and rolling stones.

Check out more of Süss at www.sussmusic.com or www.myspace.com/sussmusic

Süss performs with Rae Spoon on Sunday, May 1 at Casa del Popolo, 4873, boul Saint-Laurent.  Tickets are $10 with a “no one turned away for lack of funds” policy at the door.  www.casadelpopolo.com

 

Süss in Xtra.ca

daily xtra

daily xtra

Here is a copied version of the following article in Xtra on April 21st, 2011.

Süss in Xtra.ca

Süss quirky take on the everyday
SONGS / Midlife career change results in folksy album, first tour
Serafin LaRiviere / Toronto / Thursday, April 21, 2011
You’ve got to love someone who can write a catchy ditty about the loss of a fingernail and turn it into an allegory for grieving and recovery. Singer-songwriter Süss has a whole catalogue of quirky and ear-pleasing songs that cover a range of everyday subjects, from musings on lesbian sex to the innocent joy of nighttime bike rides. The sound is a clever mix of jazz, pop and folk-rock that tickles the brain without being overly cerebral or too cutesy.
“Often I’ll think of a moment, a scenario, and then find something to say about what’s happening,” says Süss, who goes by only her last name. “I wrote the song ‘It Didn’t Hurt’ about things you’re expecting to hurt a lot but don’t end up hurting much at all. Like when your pinkie nail falls off, it’s because it had already been really damaged. So it comes off after it’s already finished hurting.”Listening to this material, it’s very easy to forget that Süss embarked on her solo career quite recently. Her debut album, I Just Ride My Bike, was released in 2007, just before Süss turned 40 — an age when many indie artists are beginning to wind down their music careers in favour of more stable and secure employment.

In fact, it wasn’t until reaching her 30s that Süss seriously considered a career in music. Her parents had encouraged their children to sing hymns in their Mennonite church, but Süss found herself increasingly captivated by artists like Bruce Cockburn and Jane Siberry. Enrolling at the University of Winnipeg as a mature student, she began to explore jazz piano improvisation and multicultural music in search of her own personal sound.

“I was really interested in different time signatures,” she says. “I mostly perform on guitar and piano, but there were 10 years where I played flute doing traditional Middle Eastern music. Well, as traditional as a white girl like me can pull off.”

Süss’s first serious music job came while working at the CBC, where she was producing a documentary about her experience as a gay Mennonite. Fellow staffer Clare Lawler commissioned Süss  to write a piece that became “Waltz for Clare,” and the results encouraged Süss to start planning a full-length album.

Unlike pop or rock music, jazz and folk tend to have fairly long shelf lives in record stores and with online vendors, which allows a new artist space and time to catch on. Süss placed I Just Ride My Bike with the indie music site CD Baby for distribution and slowly began to build a dedicated local following that appreciated her sound. As sales and audiences grew, she began to look beyond her prairie borders in search of wider exposure.

Now embarking on her first multi-date tour, Süss is ready to introduce her music to new audiences across the country. It’s quite a step up from some of the jobs she was forced to take while honing her craft.

“While I was writing and working towards recording, I had to do a lot of odd things to support myself,” she says. “I pulled rickshaw in Winnipeg for a while. One night I pulled [Manitoba jazz performer] Wally Larson to the Franco Manitoba Cultural Centre. I made him give me 20 bucks.”

Money well spent, I say. The production on I Just Ride My Bike is crisp and clean, allowing Süss’s delicate musings plenty of space to have a solid impact on the listener. The lyrics are thoughtful, sweet and frequently quite funny, creating an intensely personal and affectionate atmosphere.

Whether it’s the gleefully goofy song “Lesbian Sex” (“Lesbian Sex is better than a gmail address, it’s better than searching the net, for a blogger who’s obsessed”) or the poignant “Lovers, Drugs and the Wandering Apostrophe” (“The drugs of her lover take her under… at first she does a little, just to be together on that same planet”), Süss manages a conversational feel that is both effective and affecting.

The title track is also a standout, with its joyful ode to nighttime bike rides.

“It’s really fantastic to do in summer here in Winnipeg, when it’s been too hot and you need to cool off,” says Süss. “I like to stand on the pedals, throw all my weight onto the front of the handlebars and then let go with my hands. It’s night, and I have my arms and fingers in the air, and it just feels so beautifully free.”

Süss brings her tour to Toronto on Tues, May 3 at The Tranzac, 292 Brunswick Ave. See sussmusic.com for more details.