In 2003, at nineteen, songwriter Suzanne Santo followed her boyfriend to Los Angeles. They broke up during her first week in the city, leaving her “only sadness and my father’s guitar,” she recalls.
She channeled her emotions into songs and started releasing music with the band. darling darling in 2008. After nine years, members were ready to explore solo careers. Santo released his first album, Ruby red, under her own name in 2017. A few years later, she was taken over by the Irish folk star Hozier playing in his band on tour.
When playing someone else’s music, especially for crowds like those in GlastonburyThe pressure to be perfect during every song is intense, says Santo. “It was such an honor to be invited to be a part of this band and such a great opportunity, but it was really painful, because my biggest passion was my own music, and I felt like it was to have given up … as if that part of my career was over. ”
This was not the case.
Feeling withdrawn to her own music, she left Hozier in 2019, cherishing the skills she had honed on tour. She started doing Americana defined by twang and rock and roll sensibilities of deep country. His lyrics paint a picture of his childhood in the Rust Belt, as well as his journey out of it. She looks back on her youth in Middleburg Heights, Ohio, where she developed her skills in putting on a show and keeping people happy and entertained while working as a hostess at her family’s Italian restaurant.
On tour with Hozier, songs from his next album, Garage sale, came together. The album is about “the things that I left behind and the things that I hold on to,” Santo says. While working on the project, she went through multiple relationships and began to focus on herself and her career. Along the way, she let go of a long-held fear of not getting married and having children according to the normative timeline. Instead, she says, she embraces “my values and my love for myself and my standards to create authentic and awesome music.”
Suzanne Santo will perform Lost Lake and the Ride Festival.
The songs on the album describe different moments in Santo’s life and various facets of his relationships. The record is full of starts and ends, lairs of past memories, female rage accompanied by thundering beats and chaotic guitar riffs, allowing the skills she honed earlier to bear fruit. As with any good garage sale, you never know what you’re going to find next.
The opening track, “Over and Over”, faces a toxic relationship that Santo kept returning to. Always leaving the door open for someone to come back into your life is a frustrating cycle, she concedes. The song describes the tiring routine of always being the one who can’t move forward, or the one who gives love like money. A chorus of harmonious voices reinforces these feelings.
Then the album dives into family relationships and life lessons on the track “Mercy”, which Santo describes as “education comes full circle”. Stories of mercy and forgiveness are revealed; she explores how darkness can be hidden in smart places and how change is a constant in life.
Touring Byron Bay, Australia, Santo wrote the opening lines of “Since I’ve Had Your Love” while watching out on the water. The song is about falling in love with someone and how the world is suddenly different when you’re in love. Sunsets shine brighter, cities are more vibrant, and every moment is filled with intense passion and emotion. Life moves a little slower as happiness engulfs a person; the new love feels like it is floating in warm, calm waters. The new lover might ask: have I slept all this time?
“Bad beast”, a powerful song that has already dropped as a single, begins with an annoying growl. The track features Santo’s vocal range, hinting at the exceptional vocals of the rest of the album.
The track “Common Sense” tells the story of how music guided the singer-songwriter throughout his life, but at a price. She notes that there are downsides to having a career as a musician: loneliness, lost relationships, burnout, and being broke.
“There were a lot of sacrifices in following the call that I could never fail to answer,” concludes Santo. “But I still wouldn’t trade it for the world.”
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