THE MOMENT I BEGAN THE INTERVIEW WITH WORLD-RENOWNED RECORDING ARTIST SUZANNE PALMER, I INSTANTLY LOVED HER. HER SWEETNESS AND SINCERITY SHINED RIGHT THROUGH THE PHONE LINES AS SHE SAT WATCHING “WEST SIDE STORY” WITH HER 11-YEAROLD DAUGHTER BEFORE I INTERRUPTED HER.
Delivering powerful and majestic live performances to her audiences both locally as well as internationally, Suzanne “rocks the house” in the gay club scene from New
York to London and almost everywhere in between. She has been a featured artist in world-famous venues and festivals such as “Gay Days” in Orlando, “The Winter Party” in Miami, “The White Party” in Palm Springs, “Gay Pride” in Sao Paulo Brazil, “Gay Pride” in Manchester England, “Toronto Pride,” “Montreal Pride,” “Chicago Pride,” “Mexico Pride,” “Homo Sexual” in Sydney, and “New York City Pride,” just to name a few.
Her dynamic vocal ability is “larger than life,” and her artistry is nothing short of amazing as she works the crowd, bringing them to heights that can only be described as epic!
Suzanne has worked with dance producers such as DJ Tiesto, Peter Rauhofer, Offer Nissim, David Morales, Eric Kupper, Angel Moraes and Peter Bailey. Her most recent collaboration has been with Georgie Porgie, owner of Music Plant Records. Together they have released to the world “Keep On Keepin’ On” in 2012 and “Joy” in 2013. Proudly, their latest single “Surrender” was just released this past March, and if you have not heard it yet, you need to do so right away!
Hey Suzanne, your new single “Surrender” has just been released and already it’s poppin’. If our readers haven’t heard it yet and want to, where can they go?
You could get it at iTunes, Traxsource, Beatport or just go directly to musicplantrecords.com.
It’s a very high-energy, exciting song.
It is! It’s a collaboration of Georgie Porgie (his company is Music Plant Records in Chicago). Most of the recording work I’ve done has been in New York. So, when we met through a mutual friend, Linda Clifford, here in Chicago, we got together, and he said, “Do you wanna do some singles?” I said, “Let’s do it!” His studio is only a half an hour away, which is a little different. Much more relaxed than having to get on a plane.
Do you have a video to go with it yet?
We don’t at this time. However, a lyric video is coming at out any day now. I’m not sure what we’re going to do with it yet, the lyric video. The thing is, every time I have the opportunity to do a single, or anything that I do, I try to make it mean something.
And what does “Surrender” mean to you?
Surrender to the music – sometimes you have to. Surrender to your talent even though it gets in your way sometimes. It’s kind of the idea of the song. “You keepcoming back to the music… not that I ever left.”
I know that you grew up in a musical world as a child and started preforming at a young age.
Well actually, I wanted to be an actress. I joined a comedy improv group and left high school. My father was a piano player and…well, the world’s different today. It’s very odd because now that I have a daughter, I would never want her to leave high school. I mean, I came back and went to college, to the Goodman School of Drama at DePaul University. But, at the time, my father said, “You have an opportunity to perform, and you wanna do it, so go ahead and do it.” I didn’t think of myself as a singer – I started singing through these comedy bits. I would make up a song, sing it, with hopefully funny lyrics. When I left the group I came back to Chicago and got a job as a singing waitress and put myself through college really singing.
And that’s how you started singing?
This was in my teen years. I was still too young to work in clubs, but I sat in at a jazz club, and the owner of the club said, “Are you working next week?” The singer that
had been booked was doing something else. He asked me what my name was. I told him Suzanne Suszynski, and he sai,d “Oh man, I don’t have enough letters for that, can you come up with another name?” I happened to be working as a singing waitress in a place called “The Palmer House,” and a couple of girls who I was with said, “Why don’t you just make your name Suzanne Palmer for the next week?” So I did that. The owner invited me back the following week, but I told him I didn’t know what my name was going to be. I asked him to let me think about that. So, I took a walk near my house, which was near a grave yard. I sat down and thought about how I had to tell this man what my name was going to be…and I looked down and I swear I was sitting at the tomb of “Potter Palmer.” I said, “OK, that’s my name.” So that’s where I started singing, and from there I just got calls for other singing gigs. I then started to do commercials. I did not think I was going to be asinger – I didn’t feel like I had a good enough voice for that, but I did it and found that I do – so I just started making a living like that. I did a song demo for DJ Mark Picchiotti and Craig Snider, who were the group called The Absolute. I did a gospel/house song called “There Will Come a Day.” He was shopping the song, and to make a long story short, Tribal Records put the record out with my vocals, and it became really big in London. Then we did a second single, “I Believe.” Tribal became Twisted Records, and that’s where I met Peter Rauhofer. I was signed to Twisted to record an album, and Peter was working on his Club 69 album, “Style.” Rob DeStefano, at Twisted, flew me to Vienna to sing one song, “Much Better,” for Peter’s album. I wound up singing three more songs, “Twisted,” “Alright” and “Muscles.” Peter and I met in the studio, and that’s where it all began. We went on to do “Hide U,” “Show Me,” “Sound of the Drum,” “Fascinated,” “Luv 2 Luv” and my album, “Home.”
You have performed in almost every gay club and gay festival in the world. How much fun was that?
The gay crowd is the best. The energy of the gay clubs and circuit parties – well, you can’t match that. Everything’s going right. It’s great.
Who was your biggest influence?
Its between Judy Garland and Chaka Kahn. In between there somewhere. You know you just have to find your niche. The energy of the straight clubs is more serious. I just think gay clubs, for me, is a perfect match.
Where have you been lately?
I don’t travel as much now because of my daughter. When she was little, we traveled everywhere together with my husband. We went to “gay days” together, but now she’s in school, and her schedule is crazy. Last year I did Toronto Pride, which was a tribute to Peter Rauhofer, and I was in New York on New Year’s Eve.
Have you ever done Fire Island?
No, I haven’t.
Any future tours on the horizon?
Right now, I’m working on promoting my new single, “Surrender.”
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I hope I’m healthy – I would like to be healthy. I’m a diverse person musically but I do like my comedy. I’d like to mix more of the live music with the electronic music. Acutally, I got my diversity for music when I was doing Club 69 – I would get booked at clubs and they didn’t know if I was black or white. When I’d get off the plane I could tell they were nervous – like, what did the record company send me? But, as you begin to become more known, people get to know you, your character, your personality and your music. When I met Georgie Porgie, we did “Keep on Keepin’ On” and “Joy.” “Joy” was actually about my daughter, who is my biggest joy in life.
What’s her name?
Nora – we got her name from “The Thin Man” movies from the 1930s, with Nick and Nora Charles. I’m a gay man trapped inside my body. I love Joan Crawford and Mommie Dearest, but we got her name from Nick and Nora.
I personally will be looking forward to hearing you in the future as well as in the present.
It’s gonna lead somewhere – I know I’ll be singing. Where and how and for who, I’m not sure, but I’ll be singin