Currently Listening to ‘Workin’ by Susy K + Interview
Produced by a Girl Artist Interview -
Workin' (Original Single)
1. Hi! What was the inspiration behind “Workin?”
Hi! Thanks for having me. I was inspired to write ‘Workin’’ about a few situations I’d been in where I had been working pretty hard for the attention of people in my life – relationships, friendships – I realised that I needed to stop chasing people who didn’t fully appreciate me and show love to myself instead. It was so cathartic and healing writing it!
2. Your voice is phenomenal! Who was your biggest inspiration vocal wise and where did you learn to sing?
Thank you so much! Vocal wise, I was initially inspired by my parents – they both sang opera throughout my childhood, and my dad is still singing now in his late 70s! My cousin Elana Hayden (@elanahayden) also inspired me to pursue my love of soul music – she is an amazing singer. Thanks to this, I started singing from a very young age...my mum said I started singing before I spoke, which sounds so cliché but if you’d met her, you’d know she wasn’t the overly sentimental type. Outside of my family, I was hugely influenced by legends like Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, Michael Jackson and Mariah Carey, and when I was about 9 or 10 years old, neo soul, hip hop and jazz started to also heavily influenced me as a singer and a songwriter – D’Angelo, Erykah Badu, Jill Scott, Eminem, OutKast, Dr Dre, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Nat King Cole.....I better stop there or we’ll be here all day haha!
3. How did you decide to do a jazz interpretation on this song?
To be honest, there’s always an element of jazz to my singing – it’s such an integral part of the music I do and the kind of music I enjoy listening to like Moonchild, Lianne La Havas, Sam Wills and more. In terms of the overall sound on ‘Workin’’ though, I would say it’s more classic soul and funk influenced, which came organically from my collaboration with Dave Browning (@browningdave). We have been working together for over 10 years now, and our musical tastes really align.
4. What’s your biggest dream in your music journey you’re looking to come true?
This is a HUGE dream, but I would absolutely love to work with D’Angelo or Erykah Badu in some capacity one day – whether that was songwriting with them, performing backing vocals for them in the studio or live, or simply being in their presence as they create! I’ve been fortunate enough to see them both live, and they are truly exceptional on every level. I’m not holding my breath for this one, but it’s a great dream regardless.
5. Please explain your creative process.
It really depends on who I’m collaborating with or if I’m writing alone. If it’s just me, usually a lyrical line or a melody will come to my mind, usually on a walk or whilst I’m thinking about a scenario I’ve been in (most of my songs are written from personal experience). I’ll record a note on my phone to remind me, and I develop the song from there – my song ‘Heal’ was created that way. If I’m collaborating with someone, like I did with Dave for my latest single ‘Workin’’, I might be given a chord progression and bassline, which I’ll listen to it on a loop and see what melodies or lyric ideas come from that. I tend to focus on what emotion or feeling the loop gives me so that it’s embedded in the song from the start.
6. What’s an average day like for you with music as a vocal coach, singer, songwriter and more? We love to see a girl boss crushing the music industry full time and being successful!
Thank you! Every day is a bit different, which is what Ireally like about my work life; no 2 days are the same. I do most of my coaching during the week and have some evenings either performing or songwriting. I’m also a fully independent artist, so I’ve managed and overseen every aspect of the releases I’ve been involved with since June 2022 - 2 singles with my electronic soul duo Velas7 (@velas7music) and 4 of my own...next is the EP release in March! It’s a bit of a juggling act, so staying organised, determined and focused is key. However, it can often be overwhelming – when you ‘re freelance, you are responsible for everything, so it can be difficult to make time to rest and recoup which is so important – there’s always the unhealthy temptation to just keep on the go all the time and worry about getting things done. I’ve not quite mastered that balance yet but I’m doing my best! Learning to ask for help and chunking down tasks have really made a positive difference so far.
7. What’s your favorite performance been and why?
Although there’s been a few, I’d probably say when I performed at Shepherd’s Bush Empire. Me and the full band were performing a mix of Destiny’s Child and Beyoncé songs and the energy in the place was amazing. It was also the first time I’d performed in a big venue like that, and it was such an awesome experience that I learned a lot from. For instance, I had quite an obvious wardrobe malfunction which felt humiliating in the moment, but it actually turned out to be a funny moment and folk were impressed with how calm and collected I seemed about it on the outside...some folk even thought it was an intentional part of the act! It really taught me that it’s ok for performances to not be ‘perfect’ – being human, making mistakes and not taking things too seriously go a long way to making a performance, not perfection.
8. Do you have any big projects or shows coming up?
I’m currently very focused on releasing my solo EP ‘Hear It From Her’ available on Friday March 17th and keeping the momentum going with my latest single ‘Workin’’. However, I’m also writing new material with Velas7 and my next solo project, so I’m excited about that. Gigs are also stacking up – I’ve done gigs in Edinburgh and London alongside my single releases throughout the year, so I’ve got more booked in to showcase ‘Hear It From Her’ and more...keep an eye on my socials for those!
9. What’s one piece of advice you have for someone wanting to emulate your success in being a full timemusician and working in the music industry?
If I had to narrow it down to one piece of advice (there is a lot of advice I could give!), it’s don’t just focus on the creative side, learn the business side too, even to a basic level. Whatever area of the music business you work in – teaching, performing, writing, producing, marketing, content creation etc – you need to know what your rights are and how to advocate yourself. I think this is especially pertinent for women in the industry given how men-centric the industry is, and it’s never been easier to access quality information from places like PRS, PPL, Musician’s Union, ISM, BMI...the list goes on.
10. What does the term Produced By a Girl mean to you?
Empowerment, freedom, self-assurance and self-expression!