BestFan TV correspondent Rebecca Amare chatted up a storm with powerhouse singer Suzie McNeil. She tells us about performing for the troops in Afghanistan, her recent experience with heartbreak and explains that she’s a strong woman that’s not afraid to speak her mind! Check out the interview below!
Rebecca: You’re always are rocking some crazy hairsytles and colours, what the craziest colour you’ve done so far?
Suzie: I’ve had blonde, and then blonde with black streaks, now its red with the black…. Next I’m going to something more normal I think. I want one that goes well with red lipstick. Next album, next hair color!
Rebecca: Let’s talk pre Rockstar INXS; describe the years leading up to this big break?
Suzie: Well I was always doing music in some capacity. In high school I did musicals and I was in band (class). And then I moved out to Vancouver and that’s where I started a blues band. Then moved back to Toronto and continued with that around age 20. That’s when I made a pact to myself that I would only make a living off music and singing. Ever since then I have and I’m proud of myself for that. I also joined an ABBA tribute band, which was good money so I was able to save up and put it all into my original music at the time… I was in another band called 4 Star but I quit when I knew I was going on to Rockstar … I mean, it was time anyway so I wanted a clean slate before that show (started).
Rebecca: How was it being on the reality show Rockstar INXS? Did you have a good experience?
Suzie: Yeah I did. It was hard! It was weird; there were a lot of emotions that went along with it. We were sequestered on it, so no contact with the outside world so that kind of skewed perceptions in there. None of us knew how we were being perceived or how the show was being edited and that was weird for me. It messed me up for a good year after that. It’s hard to explain but my life changed after that. On those shows you’re also dealing with thinking that you are going to be a superstar when you come off of it, when that’s not the case. You have to use it as a door opening to create your own success. It’s a platform and you have to move on that success. Then there’s ‘which door do you walk thru?’ and all these decisions afterwards. I wasn’t ready for that either, but it changed my life and I’ve been able to make a career for myself after so I’m happy I did it.
Rebecca: As a regular judge on YTV’s The Next Star, what did that mean to you in terms of steering kids in the right direction for their singing careers?
Suzie: I think it means a lot. Teaching is one of the most important things we can do. Teaching our wisdom for others to use from is ultimate. Having been on those shows before, I have a great understanding of how it feels and what you need to do. I feel like I was able to help them… discover what makes them a star. When we would audition the kids on the tour, It was so obvious when a star would walk into the room. It’s hard to describe what it is, but the it-Factor does exist. It was actually a learning experiencing to me, to see what the it-factor was and that it does exist…it makes you turn around and go, “do I have that?”.
Rebecca: What was something that you learned from being on tour with P!nk?
Suzie: The pink thing was cool because I really got to see how the ‘big machine’ runs. She’s kick ass and she really made her career happen and never took no for an answer. I was inspired by her story and I enjoyed having her as mentor… it was awesome!
Rebecca: Tell me about your experience singing over seas for the troops in Afghanistan?
Suzie: Afghanistan was crazy! It was intense. We had to live with the soldiers and there was a rocket attack. It was scary…a bunch of Canadians died when we were there… I was happy to entertain people who really needed it, but I’m not a big fan of war so it was hard to be in it like that.
Rebecca: Your current single is called ‘tough love’, what inspired you to write this song?
Suzie: Sometimes I’m crazy and funny, I speak my mind and I love shock value sometimes…with the right people in the right company! So I wrote it with Josh Ramsay and I said let’s just call it out for what it is… I’m a strong woman and I just wanted to describe it…and warn all the men out there! It’s just the way I am so I better embrace it, you know?
Rebecca: You describe your new album ‘dear love’ as the letter to a former love about the time you had together? How hard was it to get this real and this honest about it?
Suzie: Actually, it was quite easy. When I decided to explore this topic, it was very cathartic for me. The song just came pouring out… because it was the biggest thing that was going on in my life and I had never been dumped like that before. So, I was like… now I know why there’s so many break up songs out there! I hope that I can help people with it… a record that maybe someone will put on and ball to until you feel better.
Rebecca: What can we expect from you in the future?
Suzie: I hope to make a mini-musical with the tour I’m doing with this record. Although I love watching bands doing their thing on stage but, with this album I didn’t want to just stand up there and sing a bunch of songs… I want to make it into a story. I just want to make something that’s beautiful and different.