In light of her 15th anniversary, Dutch vocalist Susana — known for chart topping collaborations with artists such as Armin van Buuren, Aly and Fila and RAM — presents Susana | 15, a celebration of her career and an ode to the vocal trance genre. The event will take place in The Netherlands on November 9th, 2019 at Poppodium P60 (Amstelveen).
Having travelled far and wide to perform for trance crowds all around the world, for this special occasion Susana is returning to her native country and reconnecting with her musical roots. She invited renowned musicians and fellow vocalists to join her. Together they offer a unique and intimate live concert experience for true vocal trance lovers, showcasing their favourite trance vocals in their purest form.
It has always been Susana’s mission to pave the way for vocalists as artists in their own right, instead of mere voices for hire in a DJ dominated dance music scene. So it’s no surprise that there will be guest performances by some of the genre’s most beloved singers as well.
The event aims to offer a unique experience for Susana’s fans and vocal trance lovers and there will be special VIP packages including a meet and greet, a goodie bag and more. Full line up will be announced over the coming weeks. Don’t miss out, get your tickets now!
Not only do we have this special announcement of Susana’s upcoming event; we also had a word with the amazing vocalist about her own journey through the vocal trance genre!
FMF: You have this huge event coming up, which will showcase vocal trance tracks throughout the years. How did this idea come to mind?
Susana: This year marks my 15th anniversary as a trance vocalist! In 2004 I had my first ever trance release: ‘Dark Side Of The Moon’ with Ernesto vs Bastian. So last year, when I realized my anniversary was coming up, I immediately knew I wanted to do something special to celebrate this milestone. It seemed to be the perfect opportunity to bring to life some ideas I’ve had for a really long time.
Funny thing is that I always said I would never organize an event. I’ve heard stories from both promoters and artists about egos clashing, arguments with managers who aren’t happy with the spot their artist gets on a flyer or complain about set times etc. Basically drama I felt like I didn’t need in my life.
But at the same time I like to push the envelope, to push my own limits and I started to think about organizing an event on my own terms, with people I like, trust and respect. And all of a sudden I saw opportunities and even got excited about the idea. Especially when I decided to turn it into an acoustic concert. I’ve always wanted to do an acoustic project, but for some reason never got around to it.
Besides that it has always been my mission to help pave the way for vocalists as artists in their own right in our scene that (even though a lot has improved) is still mainly dominated by DJs and producers. I mean, look at the average trance event, it’s mainly DJ’s who get booked, and even if they book vocalists it’s usually just one or two. So it was a logical decision for me to invite some of my fellow vocalists to join me. There are millions of vocal trance fans all around the world but they rarely get the opportunity to see their favourite vocalists perform life. I want to change that.
So Susana | 15 is going to be much more than just a celebration of my career. It’s also a celebration of the people who played an important role in it over the past years; my colleagues, family, friends and fans, and an ode to the vocal trance genre in general. So I’ll be performing some of my favorite vocal tunes by other artists as well. So yes, I don’t know if you can tell, but I’m very excited about this and I can’t wait to share it with the world!
For this show, you’ll be performing acoustic versions of your tracks, which will be quite the treat as we normally only hear them paired with their trance productions. What do you love most about acoustic performances?
I can’t exactly pinpoint why, but I think many people will agree that there’s just something special about hearing your favourite tracks in a stripped down, acoustic version.
Before I got introduced to trance music, I performed a lot with live musicians. I could tell there was quite a bit of prejudice about electronic music. It was thought that because it’s made with a computer it’s not ‘real’ music. But the truth is, there’s a song at the core of each track. And transforming those tracks into acoustic versions is a great way to demonstrate this.
Besides that I just love performing with live musicians! Something I don’t usually get to do at regular trance events. In a way Susana | 15 is a return to my musical roots and I can’t wait to show everyone what we’ve been working on!
You have a have a ton of great tracks from over the years in your career as a vocalist, so this may be a hard question to answer. Which of your many tracks has been your favorite to be a part of?
It’s a tough one! But even though artists usually say they can’t choose, I do think every artist secretly has his or her favorites. I sure do. From the earlier stage of my career ‘Nothing At All’, my collaboration with Rex Mundi, is definitely a favorite. ‘Dark Side Of The Moon’ with Ernesto vs Bastian and ‘Shivers’ with Armin were released previously, but it wasn’t until I got to work on Rex Mundi’s demo that I really fell head over heels for trance music. I can’t explain it. But when I first heard the demo I just knew it has made for me and it made me realize more than ever my passion for the genre.
Other favorites are ‘Frozen’, especially the Nic Chagall remix, ‘Closer’ with Omnia and The Blizzard, ‘Find A Way’ with Photographer, ‘Unbreakable’ with Aly and Fila and Roger Shah, ‘The Promise’ with Neev Kennedy and my solo releases ‘Only Summer Knows’, ‘A Million Memories’ and ‘Mend My Broken Heart’.
And of course ‘Ramelia’. At the time, when RAM asked me to write a track with him in memory of his wife Amelia, who I also knew in person, I had mixed emotions. I felt honoured of course, and knew I wanted to do it, but at the same time I wasn’t sure I could pull it off. Looking back, I guess RAM saw something in me that I didn’t see at the time, for him to trust me with such a special request at a very emotional, difficult and confusing time. We talked about the message of the song. Even though it’s a song about loss, we wanted it to reflect Amelia’s bright and heartwarming spirit as well, we wanted there to be a spark of hope too. I ended up writing the lyrics in one evening. I’m pretty sure she was there with me, helping me to find the right words. I like to think ‘Ramelia’ is her way of continuing to bring comfort to the world, as so many people could relate to it. RAM and I received countless messages from people explaining how ‘Ramelia’ helped them deal with their own experiences of loss. And that, in turn, showed me more than ever the beauty of music and the difference it can make in our lives. So yes, ‘Ramelia’ obviously has a very special place in my heart.
You are constantly coming out with amazing new music. When you are writing lyrics and when you are in the studio singing, where does your mind go and how do you get ideas for new music?
It depends. As you may expect, when I write by myself, I often take inspiration from my own life, from what I am going through at that time. But when I don’t have a specific theme on my mind I usually just listen to the music and see which words and themes come up and then take it from there. That’s how I came up with the ‘Unbreakable’ hook. It was the first thing I heard when I listened to the demo they sent me.
I also write a lot with songwriter and producer Raz Nitzan. It’s become a tradition that we always eat lunch before a studio session. He makes killer lunches, by the way! And during that time we always talk a lot, about life, love, all kinds of subjects. And it happens often that we then take something we just talked about as inspiration for the song we’re recording.
There’s not really one way of writing songs, nor a wrong or right way. I think it’s different for everyone. It can even differ per song. But I would say that most of my releases are autobiographical, which I think helps bring them to life when I’m recording as well.
You’re one of the most renowned vocalists in the trance scene. What drew you towards this genre specifically?
Thank you for the compliment, that means a lot to me! Well, I always say it wasn’t me who found trance, it was trance that found me. I got introduced to Raz Nitzan and Adrian Broekhuyse, his creative partner at the time, by a neighbour of my family who had seen me perform live with the band I was in back then. For those who don’t know, at that time Raz and Adrian worked as songwriters for a lot of DJs and producers.
When I think about it now it’s hard to imagine, but back then I wasn’t familiar with trance music at all, besides maybe some tracks I had heard on the radio, such as ‘The Sound Of Goodbye’. But this soon changed! The first two top lines Raz and Adrian worked on with me were for ‘Dark Side Of The Moon’ with Ernesto vs Bastian and ‘Shivers’ with Armin van Buuren. It was like a whole new musical world opened up to me. It didn’t take long for me to fall for the genre. Especially while touring with the Armin Only tour. Armin’s 9 hour sets introduced me to even more amazing trance music. The tour also allowed me to connect with trance crowds all around the world. Discovering the trance community and feeling like I belonged there, made me determined to turn it into a career. And here we are, 15 years later! And what a ride it has been!
I ask this question to anyone involved in trance because everyone has a different perspective of the genre and what it means to them. What does trance mean to you?
I don’t want to sound dramatic, but it’s become such an integral part of my life that I can’t imagine my world without it! Through trance music, I have found my purpose in life. It has allowed me to travel the world and I’ve met so many amazing people because of it. It’s my daily stimulus and my daily outlet. Trance is everything! Haha.
As someone that is always on the up and up with vocal trance, what else can we expect from you in 2019?
Due to personal circumstances, I’ve been a bit off the radar the past 1.5 years and the first few months of 2019. I was busy launching my online academy through which I am teaching artists how to use online marketing to gain exposure and grow a loyal fanbase. But now that all of that is out of the way and my academy is up and running, this summer I’m back to working on a lot of new music. I just released my third solo single ‘Mend My Broken Heart’ and I have a couple new collaborations in the making as well! But obviously my event is going to be the main focus for me over the next few months, now that ticket sales and promotion has begun, it’s time to work on the concert itself! I can’t wait to sit down with the musicians and create some magic!
*Featured image via Susana*