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Neon Limelight Interview: Susan Justice Employs Honesty Over Gimmicks On Debut Album

Susan Justice - Warner Bros. Records

Breaking free from the confines of a sheltered childhood, Susan Justice is ready to show the world exactly who she is.

With nothing but her raw, yet sultry voice and acoustic guitar, Susan’s emergence in music began in the subways of New York City.  At the encouragement of a close friend, Susan decided to pursue music not just as a hobby, but as a career.  Her ground-laying efforts to start recording and performing on a professional level eventually led to her official signing with Warner Brothers Records.

Justice isn’t your typical pop artist.  Her music brings forth more honesty than gimmick or image.  She writes lyrics that tend to resonate with listeners because of the universality and truth in her experiences.  This makes her a very pleasant addition to the ever-changing pop music scene.

Neon Limelight had the opportunity to sit one-on-one with Susan and discuss the motivation behind her music, being one of the featured artists on the 2010 Lilith Tour, and her debut album, Eat Dirt.

Neon Limelight: Can you tell me a little about the process in creating this album?  How long did it take?

Susan Justice: This album basically was created over the course of a year.  I had just met up with this manager who had a producer he wanted me to meet, Toby Gad (Beyoncé, Fergie, Natasha Bedingfield). So I went there, and I played something for him (Toby), told him this was something I’d been working on.   I only had the verses and the bridge, so he was like “Oh that’s pretty good.”  The two of us worked on the chorus tighter and we completed the song.  I went back and played it for David, who at the time wasn’t my manager. As soon as he heard that song, he was like “That’s it, I’m the guy for you, I want to be your manager”, and that song was “I Wonder.”  It was the first song in the process of this record.

I wrote all the tracks on this album during a time in my life where I was really, really for real deciding if I wanted to sort of establish myself in the world and take my music from a fun discovery place to a global kick ass place.  All the songs are sort of like me kind of starting to come out of my shell, in terms of talking to people about my life and just starting to talk about it very tentatively.

NL: I totally feel that way when listening to the album, it’s as if we are getting a peak into your diary.

SJ: Yeah, and then by the final song, which is this trip to LA (I came here to sing it in), that’s going to be the last song on the record.  I don’t know if you can see really a progression, but there totally is from beginning to end.  It’s like I’m flowering, and coming out of my shell.

NL: Which song on the album is your favorite? Why?

SJ: I like Company a lot, just cause the style isn’t really a modern style. It’s very Bob Dylan-esque.  The lyrics are the most simple and real to me.

NL: Who are some of your musical influences? You mentioned Bob Dylan, anyone else?

SJ: I love pop music; I love what Beyoncé is doing right now and what Lady Gaga is doing right now.  Even though that is not the style of music I do, I just love it when people just play around with the genre and come up with something irreverent and crazy.

NL: Who’s on your play list?

I’m listening to a lot of different things right now.  When I go to work out in the gym I listen to Metallica, when I’m driving in my car I listen to Iyaz, Rihanna, Lady Gaga and Beyoncé.  When I’m in my house I’ll play Broadway show tunes (Judy Garland), Jazz (Madeleine Peyroux), and Classical (Bach).  It’s really the gamut of what I’m doing.   I think a lot of people are like that these days; No one has one particular style of music that they listen to. I love variety.

NL: What is the motivation behind your music? What are you trying to convey?

SJ: Every song has a different meaning behind it.  It was a progression, it started with just me coming out into the world, getting more and more confident along the way, dealing with issues from my childhood and my past.  It’s just all working on myself, trying to find the place that’s truthful, that’s not fake or forced, and wanting everyone to be chill and cool and truthful too I guess.

NL: Why did you choose the title Eat Dirt for your album?

SJ: It just kind of came out that way.  When you listen to the title, it sounds like I’m telling you to eat dirt, but that’s not what I’m saying at all.  It’s like a little twist; you have to listen to the song, and then you will get it.

NL: What do you enjoy most about performing?

SJ: I love the fact that it’s so effortless.  I had to learn how to sing in the studio, because I don’t come from that background, I come from a live performance background.  I love being with my band.  For me it’s just the spontaneity of it, I can’t really explain it…you don’t always sing the exact melody, every single show is different.  There are limitless possibilities in performing.

NL: Are singing and songwriting your only creative talents?  Do you foresee pursuing any other avenues in your career?

SJ: Yeah, acting, I’ve done a little bit of that.  Not really a lot, but I’d like to do that as well, especially theater.  I’d love to be able to do Shakespeare, or other classics one day. I just love the arts – I love music, literature, theater, everything that has to do with that – I’ve always loved it.

NL: You’re going to be on the Lilith tour this year, are there any artists performing that you are looking forward to seeing?

SJ: Sheryl Crow, it’d be cool to see her.  I just love the idea that it’s all women.  I’ve never done that before.


More on Susan: Myspace / Facebook / Twitter / YouTube

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  1. great article and great song! love it!

  2. Great interview! she has a really good voice. I’m going to have to look her up.

  3. Beautiful voice, so innocent and clean. Love the song.


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