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SUZIE Q AND A: Cult singer-songwriter Suzie Stapleton takes center stage with new single

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Suzie Stapleton's forthcoming solo single, “Yesterday’s Town”, will be released on Friday.
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LONDON —Growing up in Sydney, Australia, Suzie Stapleton was desperate for a musical outlet, one that she searched for until being drawn to the Melbourne scene, thriving there for about a decade, making a local name for herself.

With a sound that calls on influences as diverse as Nick Cave and Leonard Cohen to bands like the Pixies and Kyuss, she released a couple of acclaimed EP’s—45 Revelations Per Minute and Obladi Diablo—but it was around 2015 that Stapleton knew if she was ever going to truly break out internationally, now was the time to do it.

“It’s really tough for musicians in Australia trying to tour overseas—there’s a two thousand dollar plane fare in your way before you even get started. It’s brutal,” Stapleton said. “Growing as a musician is a continual process. With guitar, for example, there’s always more to learn, it never ends. You get to a certain point and reach a plateau and then learn one more little trick and suddenly a whole new part of your playing opens up. I’ve had that happen a lot in recent years and it’s exciting.”

Moving to England, in-between working on her own music and picking up new instruments like the violin in an effort to increase her musical education, Stapleton has opened for the likes of Mark Lanegan, Mick Harvey, and Boss Hog, as well as becoming a sought-after background vocalist, appearing most recently on underground idol Lydia Lunch’s newest album of covers.

“I really enjoy working on other people’s projects, it’s a very different headspace to when I’m working on my own records,” Stapleton said. “I’ve self-produced all of my own work thus far so a daunting tunnel vision can take hold. But if someone asks me to do backing vocals on their record, I’m not worrying about the production or thinking about changing the lyrics so I can just sing. I try to take that back into my own work, to remember that to just focus on one thing at a time. It’s a more Zen approach that’s for sure.”

It’s an approach that has made her forthcoming solo single, the gorgeously evocative “Yesterday’s Town” such a unforgettably atmospheric dream to those who’ve heard it so far. With lyrics inspired by the book Pedro Paramo by Mexican writer Juan Rulfo, the song is scheduled to be released this Friday on all the typical digital music outlets.

“The protagonist goes in search of his father whom he’s never met and goes to the town of his birth only to find a ghost town when he arrives,” Stapleton said. “I was staying in Spain at the time I read it in a little mountain town in Granada and the imagery from the book blended with the whitewash surroundings in my mind. I was also grieving the loss of a close friend and the fevered memories and longings described in the book echoed some of what was on my mind.”

“Yesterday’s Town,” however, is just the preamble to next year’s blitz, with another single, a tour—including returning to her homeland of Australia for the first time in three years—and, if she can get some crowdfunding together, a new album. Meanwhile, interested parties can listen to her work at in preparation.

“On the one hand, I write because I feel compelled to do so and in a completely selfish way—that’s what I enjoy doing—so I don’t think about the audience interaction at that point,” Stapleton confided. “On the other hand, playing music live and connecting with an audience is an amazing and spiritual experience. If I make one person feel how I have felt listening to my favorite albums or seeing my favorite bands then that is a pretty amazing thing to be able to pass on.”

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Louis Fowler

Güicho. Gadfly. Chicano. Choctaw. Cristero. Freelancer. Leftist. Activist. Vilified. PKD....

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