Artist: Suzanne Santo
Hometown: Cleveland > NYC > LA > Austin
Latest album: Yard Sale
Personal nicknames (or rejected band names): Suzanimal, Lewis, Soozanto
What other art forms — literature, film, dance, painting, etc. — inform your music?
I get really sucked into cinema. I’ve written whole songs after being emotionally altered from watching a movie or TV show. Deadwood was a big one for me. I truly believe that David Milch channeled God through the world he created on that show and I feel it every time I watch it.
What rituals do you have, either in the studio or before a show?
It’s not so much a ritual as a way of life these days, I guess. I just want to enjoy this. I mean, what a fucking great life, getting to play music! When I’m able to release the things I can’t control and celebrate my hard work and embrace the gifts I’ve been given, the shows become magical and the studio work becomes fluid and beautiful.
If you had to write a mission statement for your career, what would it be?
Art is long. It can be a lifetime and longer if you’re good enough and lucky enough. The most substantial and purest form of reward for this particular way of life comes from within… If you search for external relief, it tends to be fleeting and most certainly temporary. Don’t forget to live. Chasing the dragon of art will consume you and opportunities of great love and joy will be missed if you forget to exist outside of the chase.
Which elements of nature do you spend the most time with and how do those impact your work?
I take long walks a few times a week and try to do four to five miles if I can help it. I live in Austin, so there are some great neighborhoods and a good amount of trails around the lake to utilize. I work on new songs sometimes, catch up with friends, listen to podcasts and genuinely feel rejuvenated every time. If I neglect to walk or get too busy I start to get sad.
Since food and music go so well together, what is your dream pairing of a meal and a musician?
Man, playing/singing with Willie Nelson would be a dream. Considering the fact that he’s an Olympic-level stoner, the paired cuisine for this fantasy has no limits. I think a buffet of the highest quality BBQ and fixin’s, homemade lasagna, fried rice, tater tots, an array of pies, mochi, Golden Grahams cereal, hot pretzels with cheese, and some popcorn would suffice… also hot chicken and biscuits.
Photo credit: Cameron McCool