Suki Rae and Company: “Can’t Stop Now” by Eileen Shapiro
New York-based classically trained musician, Suki Rae has recently released an unusually compelling inspirational, peace captivating, jazzy, sultry, gospel bluesy, 10 track CD.
Suki Rae has been performing internationally for over 25 years, and her new CD is actually her 7th. She has won a slew of awards and has had musical residency in 8 different locations, including Israel and Spain. She currently gigs all over New York City on a regular basis.
Her music covers many genres. It’s eclectic, socially conscious, and spiritual. It’s powerful and worldly leaving the listener curiously wanting more, and wondering what’s next. Her music was also featured in a film, along with Oasis, entitled, “Dig Your Soul on the Streets”.
I had a conversation with Suki regarding her music, her influences, and her new CD. …
I love your music, it’s very different.
I’m just being me. Being different, I’ve always been offbeat, I’ve been a non-conformist, a spiritual seeker, so why should this be any different? I’m classically trained, so I started out in classical music. I walked that route for a while. Then I got into theater and film, then I came back. I’ve been involved with folk music, as classical music wasn’t for me. I still play classical music sometimes. I started writing my own music about age 18 or 19, and I’ve been doing it ever since.
When you write music what influences you?
Where ever I happen to be, and whatever happens to be going on.
When you were growing up what did you listen to on the radio?
Well, my mother was a classical musician. Actually, they forbid us from listening to anything except classical music. So I started out with classical music and I got really pissed because when the Beatles came out I was crazy about the Beatles. So I kind of had to listen to them in hiding. Then not long after the Beatles came out I was still going through the straight and narrow classical music path. I mean I was playing in orchestras, I was studying, and I was winning awards and stuff in the classical music field. Then I started getting into Joan Baez and getting a little bit into folk. When I came to New York I heard about this Jazz workshop. So I started studying jazz at this great jazz class. You could say that since then I’ve been pretty much more into jazz. For many years I’ve been playing and performing jazz but I’ve also been very much into comedy, musical theater, and everything as far-fetched as gospel music, a few country songs….and then I lived in the Middle East for two years so I was very much into world music. I lived in Israel so I was playing mostly with a Middle Eastern percussionist. I’ve done about eight music residencies in different parts of the country and in the world.
How many Instruments do you play?
I play the flute, the piano, the guitar, I sing, I write and play a little bit of the recorder, but my main instrument is the flute. I’ve been playing piano since age 5, and guitar since age 14. But if you would ask me what I am, I would say a flutist.
Do you play live?
Of course, yes! As live as I am…
You’re in New York, where do you play?
The three places that I’ve played recently are pretty diverse. I had my CD release party at a place called The Sidewalk Cafe, which is a little funky place that has pop rock, folkie kind of music. Every couple of weeks I play with a group of spiritual musicians at the Integral Yoga Center. But I played a few nights ago at a place called 55 Below, which is a jazz/blues club. I also perform places that have classical music. Pretty much if someone wants to pay me I’ll play, but probably not in the bathtub…
Let’s talk about your new CD.
What’s strange about it is it’s my seventh CD, but these CD people seem to like more than the others and I’m not really understanding why. I don’t really think it’s better than all my other music. It just has a spiritual and peacesque orientation. For some reason, people seem to like this one which is kind of taking me by surprise. I have so many CDs in different styles. This is pretty much gospely, spiritual rock. People seem to like it which surprises me because it varies a lot. There is a blues song, there is a spiritual type of meditation song, there are two rock type songs which I wrote a while back, there are soft rock songs, one is like a ballad, they are all very different styles. They are all focusing on spirituality and peace.
That’s a good subject nowadays.
Yeah, well that’s probably why. A lot of publications are liking it and what’s even more interesting is the people that buy it and the people that listen really like it. I’m thinking why do they like it now and what about all these other years and all the other music I have? It’s like really hard to define it. It’s hard for me to define why people would choose this or that. It might be that they seem to like the combo.
If you could say anything to your fans and followers what would you want to say?
I would say that the title of the song is not an accident. The title was a message. You just “Can’t Stop Now”, and I mean it in terms of writing my own music. I made it in terms of an inspirational, hopeful message of music being an inspiration. I mean it in terms of the politics going on… at this juncture in a crazy world, we can’t stop trying to find peaceful solutions, and trying to go towards a more globally peaceful world. When I say ” Can’t Stop Now”, it really is a message: “we gotta keep going but we have to band together and put some effort and force into everything”. It’s kind of symbolic because I put a lot of effort into this CD. I put a Herculean effort into this one.