On Saturday 27th June, Music Connex present a bill of excellent modern soul and RnB acts, including Carol Riddick, Maryanne Ito, Carmen Hendricks, Tristan, SuCh and DJ Colin Curtis. Ahead of the show we spoke to vocalist SuCh, asking her about her introduction to music, the draws of live performance and the essence of soul music.
Tell us about your introduction to music, and what genres or artists were the first to really catch your attention.
‘Whenever I think of 90’s R&B, I get nostalgic. I really started paying attention then because both of my older sisters listened to R&B when they were teenagers in the 90’s. Musicians like Toni Braxton, Babyface, Boys II Men, Jodeci, Jagged Edge, Brownstown, Xscape, Aaliyah, Monica, Brandy, etc… will always be special to me. I also loved pop so I remember listening to Mariah’s Emotions album over and over again back when we had cassette tapes. Of course I LOVED Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston. My dad’s a pastor so I grew up listening to Gospel and Christian music. Also, since my family is Haitian I listened to a lot of Konpa (Haitian music) growing up.’
What drew you to live performance, and when you began performing, who informed your approach?
‘What drew me to my live approach was watching and observing the praise team leaders at a church I was attending in Chicago after college. I realized that some of the best entertainers are church singers, they know how to pull the audience in, how to tug at the heart strings, and really, sincerely connect to every word they are singing. That’s the kind of performer I wanted to be, the kind that could make you feel. And I soon realized that the performers that I was drawn to, in general, were the performers that I felt that after watching them in a live setting I’d leave the situation feeling like I knew them a little more. That they were vulnerable with me and that I was vested in whatever they were doing.’
What in your opinion is the enduring quality of soul music, and why is it still important to people in the 21st century?
‘We all have soul. And soul music moves, stirs and heals the soul. Its melodies, words, instrumentation, when combined, they are powerful, and meaningful. Soul music is socially conscious, deals with love, life, issues that every day people can relate to. It’s timeless and boundless music, crossing generations, oceans and racial lines, appealing to and tugging at every color and creed. If music is the universal language, then soul music is its international voice of freedom of expression that many artists, including myself, feel compelled to heed and pay homage to. For those reasons, it’ll always be important and relevant.’
The MusicConnex Live Soul City Tour showcases the best independent soul talent from across the globe.