A talented singer-songwriter based in the creative heart of New York, Chris Suswal has spent the last year championing the release of his hit single ‘Loving Won’, a brilliant acoustic rock release that harked back to the golden ‘90s. Since then, Chris has continued to impress fans and critics alike, releasing a gorgeous stream of singles that have become his breakthrough EP. After receiving acclaim from publications such as Juke Box Mind and Just Fame, we decided it was about time we sat down with Chris to learn a little more about him.
It’s wonderful to have this opportunity to talk with you Chris, your music has just been taking over Spotify of late, and it’s amazing to see it grow. Where did the journey begin?
“I grew up in Metuchen, NJ about 35 miles from NYC and there was always music played in the house. My sister played classical piano and my parents were always singing and listening to records. My high school graduation gift was an acoustic guitar, and it probably sounds cliche but when I learned how to play Stairway to Heaven I was hooked. In college I began recording, learning music theory and piano but wound up majoring in Literature. That's where studying poetry gave me inspiration to write song lyrics.”
Your latest releases have been described as having a distinct vibe ‘harkening back to the 90s’, how would you describe it for those yet to hear your singles?
“I gravitate to ‘90s and classic rock so much of that comes through in my sound, especially with the use of multiple guitar tracks on most tunes.”
Would you say there are a lot of influences from the ‘90s that guide your sound, or is there something more that helps define your style?
“I'm all over the place when it comes to my listening moods so it’s hard to say. Some days I'll crank progressive rock or metal and others I'll tune into folk or alternative stuff. I find inspiration from the greats like Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan and James Taylor but current songwriters like Ed Sheehan or Chris Martin can be stunning too. I just keep my ears peeled and check out the indie community as well. There's an endless amount of talent if you keep an open mind.”
What is your songwriting process? How does it all come together?
“It’s all about finding time to noodle around with my guitar or piano. Playing cover songs and letting chords or riffs pop out and turn into new melodies. From there I will revisit them and sketch out some words or phrases that come to mind. I try to remind myself to keep it simple and honest because that's when I'm most productive. It’s so rewarding when a practice session results in the bones of a new tune.”
What’s the most important thing for you when you’re writing a song?
“Really just to become a vessel for whatever the universe wants to send my way. If I'm trying too hard to force something to happen then I'm likely asking to get stuck. But letting the vibe of the day take over is the key for me.”
Your debut single has been followed by a stream of impressive releases; can you tell us a bit more about them?
“I released a single each month the past six months and it’s been an exciting rollout. These were my debut songs so connecting with the audience and learning about the marketing process has been eye-opening. They will be compiled as an EP on vinyl pressing so that will be cool, right?”
Once the EP is out, what’s next for you as an artist?
“I'm thrilled with getting to collaborate with John Vergara of Pancake Recording Studios in Brooklyn. NY. He's not only an extraordinary engineer and producer but is an expert drummer too. I plan to continue to record there because the creative environment he fosters makes it such a wonderful place to be an artist.”
It’s been great talking with you, Chris. Is there anything you would like to say to our audience before we let you go?
“Yeah, a huge thank you for listening!”
With sublime melodic tones, scintillating guitars, and evocative vocals that will capture your attention in an instant, Suswal has become a true musical figure in the independent scene, and we can’t wait to see what he does next.
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