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An Interview with Recording Artist Susan Hickman
Susan Hickman has found her niche in a blend of rocking, uplifting country
By Cindy Beth Gordon
(more articles from this author)
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Susan Hickman has found her niche in a blend of rocking, uplifting country that hints at a range of influences from Janis Joplin to Carrie Underwood. Passion is evident from the very first note, and her considerable talent allows her to segue from whisper-quiet reflections to barn-burnin' romps with ease.

Hickman's in control and loving it and she proves it on her debut country CD, Susan Hickman. With her new CD, Susan is not only sharing her love of music - she's hoping to connect with a global audience. Produced by Doug Deforest (Todd Fritsch, Doug Spartz, Jonathan Edwards), her CD is the perfect showcase for Susan's fresh and vibrant vocals.

The 24-year old beauty is not without credentials; over the past few years she has shared the stage with high-profile acts like Tracy Byrd, Jo Dee Messina, Kevin Fowler, Steve Holy, The Lost Trailers and Phil Vassar, to name a few.

Her live shows are energetic, and she's developed quite a following in her home state. Music has always been a part of the feisty blonde's life story; she started taking piano lessons when she was just five years old and added the violin in her teens. Just four years ago she began to teach herself guitar.

Susan grew up singing in the church choir, listening to her parents' favorite classic rock songs, and hearing her Mom sing opera around the house. Her mother often made up songs to get her two daughters motivated. That musical backdrop helped drive the Texan's love of song, and according to her parents, the exposure began when Susan was still in the cradle. Family legend tells us that Hickman was actually singing before she started talking. When she was just 12-years old, Susan boldly cold-called a talent agency and scheduled an audition.

Her life, she says, has been focused on a career in entertaining ever since. Susan is the human equivalent of a perpetual motion "machine" - and she now divides her time between live performances, songwriting, rehearsals and her web design work. She promised herself that her job would be something she loved and music is it.

Another promise the aspiring star made was to never compromise herself or her music. Her moral compass leads her in everything from song choices to venue selections and she is steadfast in her beliefs.

Introduced to her husband Matt by a mutual friend four years ago, Susan is on the fast-track to happiness. She performs every chance she gets and loves the energy of the crowd. Combine her talent with that passion - and you have the magic that is Susan Hickman.

Hi Susan. I listened to songs on your myspace page - definitely impressive! So what are you currently up to? Are you going to be attending and/or performing at the CMA Music Fest this year?

Susan: Well currently I have been on the road doing lots of radio tours promoting my new single, "Hell Still Ain't Frozen Over" (from my self titled debut CD, "Susan Hickman.)" I will be at CMA Fest this year I will be having a showcase at the Cadillac Ranch on Friday June 11th 5:45pm and am very excited. It's my first CMA fest it's going to be great!!!

How did your first CRS go? What was that like?

Susan: It was awesome!! It was non-stop with interviews, meeting new people, visiting with the DJ's, it was crazy fun! I can't wait till next year!

Sounds really fun! Are you currently doing or going to be doing a radio tour from that? What areas/States are you going to cover?

Susan: Well we have already covered Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and tonight actually I leave for the Arkansas run.

That's terrific. So what was it like growing up in Houston, Texas? Are you still close with your sister and family?

Susan: Houston is a great place to live. I don't think I'd live anywhere else, there is always something to do in my part of town I had a very active childhood. My sister Sadie and I are very close we live 5 minutes away from each other so that makes it nice.

With your debut self-titled CD "Susan Hickman" What are some of your favorite songs off your CD and why?

Susan: I love "One Of Those Who Make It Up There." It's the most honest song I have heard in a very long time. Doug Deforest, my producer and songwriter, did a remarkable job telling the story.

What was it like working with producer Doug Deforest? Where did you record your CD?

Susan: We recorded in Drasco, Arkansas at Raney Studios and in Cherokee Village, Ark. at Lake Paradise Studio. I recorded all my vocals in my pj's, so needless to say, I was comfortable. We took breaks every now and then to go feed the catfish in the lake out in the back. Doug was great. He is such a pro at what he does and the Cuttin Crew (musicians) are all brilliant!!!

Too funny that you recorded in your pj's. :) So who picked the songs for your CD?

Susan: Doug searched out the material, and then I chose from what he gave me.

That sounds good. So how was your European tour? Know that you went to Germany, Holland and Switzerland? What was that like? What was your favorite part of that tour and your least favorite part?

Susan: It was amazing, the scenery was incredible, I ate so much chocolate I am still working it off. My favorite was probably the 2nd day we were in Switzerland. We stayed at a little guest house it was so adorable. I woke up to see the man of the house feeding his sheep-- that was really cool. My least favorite part was being stuffed in the smallest car in the world along with 4 other people.

Did you get much time to explore/sightsee while you were there?

Susan: Not really. We were mostly on the road. We did get to take the train from Buloch to Zurich, while we were in Switzerland. We got to see a little of the city and the train station was really neat. We ate lunch then went back to get ready for the show.

So most importantly, where can people get info on you; your CD and upcoming performances, etc.?

Susan: Everything I do is on my website and myspace, and lately I have been really into facebook.

Do you find it hard with everything you're doing (performing, rehearsing, songwriting, website design) to keep up with the social networking sites?

Susan: Yes it is hard, like right now I am also posting my radio tour dates on myspace. lol. I have learned to really multi-task I do get overwhelmed sometimes, but I just take a deep breath and keep going. I do get on my sites everyday though and I take care of all of them. I used to hate when I went to my favorite artist's site and it said it is managed by someone else. I guess the way I see it they are coming there to see me and hear my music, not some guy getting paid to read my mail and comments. lol.

That's terrific that you are able to personally communicate with your fans and not have someone else doing it for you. So as far as performing, how do you prepare for performances? Any special rituals?

Susan: I drink my coffee or Monster energy drink and I'm good to go.

Sounds good to me. Any special plans for the rest of 2010 and 2011?

Susan: Well I am going to France in July for the 23rd Annual Country Rendez-Vous Festival in Craponne and am really excited about that. We are going to release the CD in July/August in the U.S. And it's already time to get back in the studio, I am hoping to start recording as soon as I get back from France. I have some new songs I have written that I am so eager to get recorded. I also will be touring steadily for the rest of the year.

Wow, you have a busy Summer! Sounds great going to France. We wish you good luck with that. Do you have any other favorite hobbies aside from music?

Susan: Swimming and I love to watch TV series on DVD. My favorites are X-Files and 24.

Any special dream duet partner (female and male)?

Susan: Steven Tyler and Dolly Parton

What do you like to do to unwind?

Susan: Go have a massage.

What are some things you'd like to do that you haven't done yet?

Susan: I want to sing at the Grand Ole Opry, that would be the most amazing feeling I would probably cry (lol)-- and it takes a lot to make me cry.

Well, I'm sure we'll be seeing you on the Opry someday. Anything you'd like to add that we didn't cover today?

Susan: Just a BIG thanks to the people listening to my music, and thanks to you and MusicDish for giving me an opportunity to reach your readers.

You're welcome Susan. We wish you much happiness & continued success especially with your upcoming performances at the CMA Music Fest in Nashville in June & at the 23rd Annual Country Rendez-Vous Festival in Craponne, France in July.

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