A Note From Susan
Hi Everyone-- this the my old news page:
please click here to go to my new Susan Anders site. It has my latest news, blog, gig info and more. Thank you!
Fall/Winter 2011 News
I went to Paris and Rome in October! Still recovering...just released my newest project, The Just Songs Warmup for Kids, it's available here and on iTunes, CD Baby and Amazon.
Late Summer 2011 News
I've started a blog about singing and more, it's here. Re: my blog about Artie the dog: exhibit A:
|I thought I was the diva here
I'm teaching three workshops the third week of September in Nashville, Tennessee at NSAI's SongPosium. Basic Vocal Technique, Harmony Singing by Ear, and What Every Songwriter Needs to Know About Singing. Songposium is brimming with workshops given by a bunch of stellar teachers, if you're a songwriter or singer-songwriter I highly recommend it.
Boy, were my July shows in Tenessee and California fun, thank you to everyone who came to them!
You can also find me at Facebook. I just taught vocal technique and a class called "Harmony Heaven" at California Coast Music Camp this last July 11-17. Come join us next year!
Summer/Fall 2010 News
Just finished doing workshops at NSAI's Songposium here in Nashville, as always it was lots of fun-- the attendees are always talented and smart and keep me on my toes.
Before that I taught at California Coast Music Camp, as usual it was a blast. Loads of singing, jamming, dancing and laughing.
It has been a busy year so far: the results are my two new babies, please check them out--
My brand new CD Swimmer, and...
My brand new iphone app Sing Harmonies
They are very different, but I'm so happy with both of them. --
We weathered the flood in May just fine since we're on a hill, but it'll be a long time before Nashville recovers. Spirits here are good, though. The volunteer response here was awe-inspiring, and friends of ours who lost their house and both cars say they will never leave Nashville, the people here are just too wonderful.
My two favorite books so far this year are Little Bee by by Chris Cleave, and Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese. One takes place in England and Nigeria, the other in Ethiopia and a bit in NY. Check them out.
My song Kickin' Up Dust is the title cut on the new CD by Candyce called, you guessed it, Kickin' Up Dust
Winter/Spring 2010 News
Some quick notes on several fronts: Over the winter holidays I went to Darrell Scott's Writing Intensive in Costa Rica, and wow, was it great. I loved the yoga spa where the workshop took place so much that I may hold a week-long singing seminar there next winter-- stay tuned!
I'm teaching again this summer at the wonderful California Coast Music Camp. See my previous note for more about the camp, it's incredibly fun. I'm teaching a doo-wop choir again, and also a stagecraft class.
I've finally broken ground on a new CD, hope to finish it this year. It's more moody and personal than most of the songs I've been writing in recent years.
My song 'Elastic Waistbands' is on the new Bitchin Babes CD 'Diva Nation' check it out here. I wrote it with Nancy Moran from the Babes, who tells me the song is going over super well with their audiences.
I'm still working on a vocal warm up for kids -- I'm testing it out on a panel of kids right now. It should be out later this year.
The No Scales, Just Songs Workout Vol. 2 is the textbook for three of the contemporary voice classes this year at Citrus College in California.
Fall 2009 News
Long time no news, so sorry. I got swamped earlier this year completing More Harmony Singing by Ear, my new follow-up to Harmony Singing by Ear. It's available now, I'm proud of it, I dissected the original harmonies that are on Drive My Car and Teach Your Children for it-- that was fun, even though I played parts of Drive My Car a few hundred times during the process. I hope these CDs are just hard enough to challenge the harmonizers out there who aren't complete beginners.
There is a free transposing application that a client of mine swears by, here's what he wrote: "Mention that the marvelous and completely free (malware-/spyware-free as well) Audacity audio editor can be used to pitch-shift the tracks. It is available from Sourceforge ".
He used it to shift the songs on Singing with Style down a few steps to fit his baritone range.
The Irrationals, a wonderful Bay Area a cappella group, recorded two of my songs on their most recent album Done Waiting. One of them, Living On the Edge, I wrote many moons ago in college.
A great country singer with a big rich voice named Jordan Carter recorded a fine version of my song Hard Hard Hard. You can hear it here (as of August 09).
I had an incredible time teaching and playing at California Coast Music Camp in July. There's something magical about that place. Among a bunch of other fun things, I:
conducted a twenty person doo wop choir
did the hokey pokey in a swimming pool - that really is what it's all about.
sang in a band of three singers, a tuba, an accordian, a trumpet and a guitar.
met and performed with Will Galison, my newest favorite singer-songwriter. He's a world class harmonica player, too. The were many other killer musicians there, including ukelele master James Hill (go one minute into this clip to hear him play).
I came back very inspired, and after a long writing lull I started writing songs for a new solo CD. Hope to complete it by next summer.
I'll give three different workshops on harmonizing and beginning and advanced vocal technique at NSAI's Songposium in Nashville Sept 21-25: Songposium is a week of songwriting, guitar, music business, and voice workshops. That week whenever I'm not teaching I'll be auditing the other workshops-- the teacher roster is really great. More info:
I also have in the works is a project similar to the No Songs Just Scales Vocal Workout, but this one will be for kids.
Tom has been working in the studio a bunch, as always. Country gentleman Allen Karl has been in a lot this year recording tracks for his next CD. Meanwhile, the album Tom produced for him last year, My Final Rose, is getting serious radio airplay worldwide. Our friend Pete Frega wrote the title song.
We hope to get some video of Tom playing some of his Meanderthals songs on Youtube in the near future-- stay tuned.
My Previous Update
See further down the page for older updates.
I've finally finished my ebook and book Singing Live: The Performing Skills Guidebook for Contemporary Singers. I tried to cram everything I could think of about performing into it. Since I coach everyone from country stars to full-on punkers to American Idol hopefuls to whatever, I tried hard to make it useful for singers in every popular style.
Now that I've finished Singing Live I'm working on a follow-up to Harmony Singing by Ear. If you are one of the singers working with that and want to make requests or give feedback, now's the time to write me. This one will be a little harder than the first one so singers can keep progressing with their harmonizing skills.
My song Finally Love was cut by an amazing new artist named Emma Mae Jacob. Watch out for her. As I write this (2008) the song is on her site, if you want to hear her version.The one on my page was sung by my former student Hillary Scott, who is doing great things with her band Lady Antebellum--their Capital Records debut album was released in April, they had the number one song on the country charts in May, and in June they won an ACM award!
Tom is happily producing away. When he gets a breather he hopes to do some more solo gigs, and when I get a breather I hope to do a new solo album.
One less thing to whine about: Trader Joe's is coming to Nashville this fall! No more schlepping a cooler when I fly west to visit my father. Maybe the online petition (see my older update below) actually worked. If so, then today's message is to be a squeaky wheel. Use your voice. Sing a song, make a difference, and vote this fall!
I don't have time just now to add to my book and music list so please see below for my older recommendations. So far this year my favorite book has been The Brambles by Eliza Minot, my favorite album is Salvation in Lights by Mike Farris--if you can see the latter live do so, you will not believe this guy's voice. And yes, James Hunter is still in high rotation at my house. My favorite movie of late is The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, it's incredible.
Books, Music, Films
My favorite books of the last twelve months:
Run: Ann Patchett. Satisfying on multiple levels.
Lush Life, A Novel: by Richard Price. If you like The Wire you'll love this, Price was one of the Wire writers.
Dirt Music: Tim Winton. Great writing, and you'll learn about the flora and fauna in Australia, too.
The Elegance of the Hedgehog: Muriel Barbery
Some older book recommendations:
The Great Fire: Shirley Hazzard. Satisfying on so many levels: nuance, mood, depth. Every sentence is exquisite. Definitely in my top ten.
The Amalgamation Polka: Stephen Wright. One of Tom's favorite books.
Never Let Me Go: Kazuo Ishiguro. Took a while to get into it, just like every other Ishiguro I've read. Thoroughly moving, just like every other Ishiguro I've read. this is a very different book, but it's up there with The Great Fire.
East of Eden: John Steinbeck. I think this was my third time reading this, it holds up and then some. What well-drawn characters. I keep searching for books I love as much as this one.
Animal Dreams: Barbara Kingsolver. This one, too, is as satisfying as it was ten years ago, so I went out and re-read all of her books. Of course, Poisonwood Bible out-vivids 98% of all other books ever written.
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time: Mark Haddon. Quick read, loved it, very different. A very moving glimpse into the world of autism.
Aloft: Chang-Rae Lee. Boy, can this guy write, the details within are funny and amazing. Reminds me of Richard Ford. He has modern American life for most of us pegged.
Who We've Been Listening To:
Mike Farris (Salvation in Lights), Beth Nielsen Chapman, Leonard Cohen, Satie, Darius Milhaud, James Hunter (still!), Darrell Scott (Modern Hymns CD), Aimee Mann, Soloman Burke, Ry Cooder, The Wild Tchoupitoulas.
Here are some lesser-known films of the last twelve months that we liked a lot:
The Snow Walker
The Lucky Ones
I Could Never Be Your Woman (yeah, chick flick, but some smart writing and Paul Rudds dance sequence is priceless.)
Early 2008 Update
Yes, that picture of me in the corner has finally been updated. As much as I loved how good I looked in the last one (which was taken by my LA photographer friends Tracy Talbert and Michael Larsen), it was ten years old. This newer one was taken when I played the Bluebird Cafe in November 2007. My photographer buddy Trin Blakely, who also took the photos for my solo CD and for Singing With Style, came through once again.
We're still wearing several hats around here. I've been writing and recording lots of songs, teaching away, running Zanna Discs and occasionally playing out. I'm also working on a book of tips about performing, and very slowly working on a sequel to 'Harmony Singing by Ear'. Both should appear sometime in 2008.
Tom finished his new instrumental album and it's fantastic. You can hear sound clips here. He's mostly using it as a promotional tool, but if you want a copy let us know.
My former student Hillary Scott is in the studio with her band Lady Antebellum, recording their first CD for Capitol Records, Victoria Shaw and Paul Worley producing. Go Hillary!
We now have a page with all of our more pitchable songs here, as opposed to our songs we wrote for ourselves to sing that you'll find spread throughout this site. Since that's a lot of songs to wade through I put a few of my recent favorites here.
There is still no Trader Joe's here in Nashville, darn. Whole Foods just does not do it for me. Some brilliant soul created an online petition begging TJ's to come here, if you live here too please sign it. Everyone deserves to eat cheap organic food and TJ's has it.
There is life besides work--Some things I/we did in the last twelve months:
Danced the cha-cha with my friend Cathy in a Bethesda parking lot.
Went to a baptist revival meeting.
Bicycled to all of the monuments in Washington DC.
Threw my father a combo 80th birthday/wedding reception--he married his new love Joyce after meeting her via Craigslist!
Went swing dancing in Centennial Park at the end of the Nashville summer and didn't pass out from the heat.
Answered phones for a Nashville Public Television fundraiser--I was one of those people in the background during the dreaded pledge-break.
Walked across the Brooklyn Bridge.
Went to a gallery opening and stood next to Al Gore.
Threw a "sing thing" vocals-only jam session.
Taught my dog how to swim. Actually I just threw a ball in the lake and she figured it out.
Older News: Feb 2007 Update
2006 was a busy, full and sometimes sad year. My mother finally lost her 2 1/2 year fight with breast cancer in the spring of 2006. She stayed brave, funny and philosophical throughout, but she was tired and very ready to go when it was time. That made it easier to let her go. But I miss her, though she was a crotchety atheist who scoffed at the afterlife, I still think she's hanging around my house wishing I'd comb my hair more.
Several months later Tom and I flew to California to pick up a car and all of Mom's sewing stuff I'd inherited--years ago I used to sew for living, though now I need to be drugged or bribed to even sew on a button. Then we schlepped back across the country, stopping to visit friends along the way. There's nothing like a cross-country drive to help say goodbye to a departed mother and to get some perspective on one's life. We found a great cow skull in Santa Fe, named him Slim. Discovered La Posada in Winslow, AZ (no, we didn't stand on the corner) -- it's a beautifully restored hotel full of history and really great art courtesy of Tina Mion, artist-in-residence. We saw a lot of restlessness -- many of our friends are changing their lives, fleeing their cities for smaller towns, or just asking the big questions about what they are doing. After seeing so much of the country our feeling that Nashville is a great place to live was reaffirmed, despite it's lack of a Trader Joe's. Just as well that we decided this because we discovered in LA that our beloved funky old home where we'd lived for ten years had been sold again and then demolished to make way for a mansion. You really can't go home again.
After we returned we finally completed and released Singing with Style , my latest instructional project. On this one I got to sing a bunch of great jazz standards, talk about voice technique and yack about a whole bunch of ways to stylize a vocal. I've been using it every day to warm up since Artie the dog still howls in agony if I sing scales. Meanwhile, Harmony Singing By Ear has become the big seller of late, acing out You Can Close Your Eyes .
Tom's studio business went nuts last year so he's been working like crazy on nashville recording projects and projects for his Demos By Mail clients. He managed to squeeze in a few shows to promote his CD Tom Manche and the Meanderthals , and he licensed some of his instrumentals to LucasFilms and the Chatanooga wing of NPR. He's now working on a CD of instrumentals.
One of my Susan's Room songs, No Guarantee, made it's way onto "Days of Our Lives" last year. Meanwhile I continue to write as much as possible, play around town and do the Nashville songwriting ramble.
I'm on Myspace now--there might be some more recent updates and photos there.
Even Older News
Here's an older bit for friends and fans who want to know what happened after we moved from Los Angeles to Nashville.
As some of you know, in the fall of 2002 Tom and I up and moved from Los Angeles to Nashville, Tennessee. We bought a house on the west side on an acre of woods, set up Studio X on this side of the country and dove head-first into our new life here. Here's what we have found:
- Really nice people.
- More songwriters than you can shake a stick at.
- Manic-depressive weather.
- World-class live music--country, jazz, R&B, alternative, the works. Too bad most of the clubs are not smoke-free, but there's always the Bluebird Cafe.
Here's what we have learned:
Here's what we miss:
- Always keep an umbrella in the car. Remember, we spent years in Los Angeles before this.
- When you say "insurance" the inflection is on the "in-".
- All children, cats and dogs are taught to say "ma'am" by age three. Still makes me feel like an old lady, but there it is.
- Stop worrying about earthquakes. Worry about tornados instead.
- Insects the size of your fist really do exist, and they want to come inside your house.
- Our west coast friends. Could you all move here, please?
- The ocean.
- Trader Joe's. Why oh why can't they open one here?
- Warmer winters. Tom is from Ohio and doesn't care, but I'm still a wimpy California girl.
Susan's Room is now spread across America: Albe is in LA (and has welcomed his adorable mini-albe son Dante), Ritt is in NY, and we are here in Nashville. So no Susan's Room gigs to announce, I'm afraid. Tom and I are both writing loads of songs and play out pretty frequently in Nashville--email either of us if you want to be on our local gig email list.