Nashville, Tennessee: the home of country music. Music Row, The Grand Ole Opry, and the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum are all prime locations to immerse yourself in the history of country music legends; but though Nashville is known for its rich country history, musicians from many other genres are making it there too. If it’s music you’re looking for, you’ll find it in Nashville. Just take its emerging pop scene, for instance.
PopMalt: “Thank you so much for talking to PopMalt today!”
SÜ: “Of course! Thanks so much for having me.”
PopMalt: “For sure. I think it’s awesome what you’re doing…you have the freshest tracks, the hottest stuff right now. I love your sound.”
SÜ: “Thank you so much! That means a lot.”
PopMalt: “Yeah! So, tell me how you got the name ‘SÜ.'”
SÜ: “So, it’s a funny story—well, it’s not really ‘that’ funny. My middle name is Sue, and that’s where I first got the idea for it, but my middle name is spelled S-U-E, and I have been trying to fit within this indie pop lane, kind of on the same playlist as things I listen to. So, I just decided to market it that way, with the capitals and the umlaut, haha—keep it indie.”
SÜ’s bright synth-pop jams provide grooves for days, enough to shake even the stuffiest cynic out of their own oblivion. Her melodies are uplifting, her vocals are soothing, and her beats are mesmerizing. MTV thought so too. She recently provided some of the music featured on The Hills: New Beginnings.
PopMalt: “Tell me how you guys got that whole gig with The Hills and stuff. I mean, ’cause, first of all, I love “New Wave.” It sounds very—I guess my first thing was, it was kind of like this ‘anthem-y’ kind of sounding track?”
PopMalt: “Like, the drums, you know?”
SÜ: “Yeah, we kind of went into that writing session being like, ‘Let’s write something anthemic. Let’s write something that feels like freedom, that feels like, “let’s all encourage this generation.”‘ That kind of a thing. So, we went into the writing session with that kind of a mentality. You know, making change, making a new—bringing something cool about. So, we were like, ‘Okay, let’s call this song “New Wave.”‘ Yeah, we were just lucky to land on The Hills. That was kind of just like—honestly, the people that we are working with here in Nashville pitched it to some of their music supervisors at MTV, and MTV liked it, and they wanted to throw it on The Hills. So, that was really awesome!”
For over a year and a half now, SÜ has been gaining an online following simply by dropping singles. No album. Just singles. And, it’s working.
PopMalt: “Can you kind of talk about—there’s been this wave or trend the past couple years, I would say. I don’t know, I’ve noticed it the past four years, where everyone’s just putting out EPs now and dropping singles. There’s just not this pressure to put out a full-length LP anymore…I just feel like, LPs—they are put out, but, I mean, I’m seeing major labor artists put out EPs. Like, it’s just a normal thing…Nowadays, I feel like ‘EP’ is kind of the choice thing to do, or dropping singles that have no attachment to any kind of project. Can you kind of talk about that, like where that trend came from or how you relate to that?”
She markets her singles well too, with teasers on social media, and an amazing graphic design team. These mini releases give SÜ fans music content to snack on more frequently.
SÜ: “Yeah, I do think it is definitely the trend. I think people’s attention spans are way smaller these days, and I think that the ability to ingest music and digest music is so much quicker. You want it, and then you want to consume something else. So, I think singles are a good way for people to have their attention on that piece of art for a short amount of time. Then, by the time they’re ready for something new you can put out another one.”
PopMalt: “Yeah! I just think streaming has just changed the game…I just feel like streaming has changed that, where it’s just like on-demand music—like, BAM—right there, just ready and available…I feel like maybe it’s because people are not wanting to wait two years for new music? You know, like every two years you put out an LP.”
SÜ: “Yeah, I think that that could be a part of it. I think that that’s definitely a part of some people’s strategy…I think that there’s definitely still a place for the full-length album [though], and for there to be EPs as well. But, I’ve also been noticing people do two singles at once like, ‘Here’s my single’ and you get a bonus one with that single on the same day. So, yeah, I think there’s just no rules in the game anymore. You know what I mean? I don’t think there’s any parameters. I think people just do it how they feel to do it, and people are always gonna want new music…”
SÜ’s right. When it comes to how you release music, there really aren’t defined rules in the game anymore. Heck, H.E.R. received the GRAMMY Award for Best R&B Album this year, when her album was technically an EP, while Chance the Rapper has sort of become the poster child for gaining international fame without ever being signed to a major record label. There’s no rules in how you pursue the game anymore, either. You could break in as a singer. You could break in as a producer. You could break in by being on a singing competition show. You could even do it by being the receptionist at a record company. Everyone’s on their own unique trajectory.
PopMalt: Do you prefer to be in the studio more or do you prefer to perform live? Like, what’s your zone, or is it a mixture of both?
SÜ: Yeah, that’s a really good question, ’cause I would say I would instinctively prefer to be in the studio writing, ’cause I just absolutely love writing. When I first moved here I wasn’t really introducing myself to anybody as an artist. I was introducing myself to people as a writer. So, I was supporting a lot of people’s projects and writing for them—writing for pitch, writing for things that we would hopefully pitch for other pop artists, because I just genuinely enjoy that process and love to write. So, when it came to me creating my own artist project, which is SÜ, I still am in that frame of mind of like, ‘I want to be in the studio’ creating singles or creating content…like hopefully working up to an EP or a record.
Her background in songwriting clearly bleeds through in the depth of her lyrics as an artist. Take her song “Cathedrals” for instance. The words paint a picture of a love that’s strong:
We are like cathedrals
Pillars made of gold
Built for any season
Solid as stone
We are like cathedrals
Stories in the glass
Every little feature
Designed to last
SÜ has also discovered that when it comes a music career that’s designed to last, she must surround herself around the right people, “I think, maybe, there’s just something about Nashville that feels like—[it] has the music scene, but it also feels like a hometown. And so, it’s been a really good place for me. I’ve made some great friendships here, I have a great church that I’m plugged into, and I just feel like I’ve got community…”
SÜ goes on to mention the genuine nature of those people she’s encountered, “I think the thing that I like the most about the music scene here is that, for the most part, pretty much, everyone you come across that’s in music really does have a passion to sort of help you. You know, they don’t hold connections too tightly or anything like that. And, I think there’s been a lot of organic, natural friendships that have formed here in music…People just see something that you have that might match someone they know and they’re like, ‘Let’s get you guys connected!’ And so, it’s just been a really good time for me here, and it’s been really fruitful in a lot of ways.”
Like and Follow SÜ on social media @suofficialmusic