Temple University [Genre:R&B/Soul]
Her voice is a jazzy soprano with a powerful boom. Her words invoke thought. Her sound is catchy and unforgettable. With musical heroes ranging from A Tribe Called Quest, Nina Simone and Wu-Tang Clan to Portishead and Frederic Chopin, it’s no wonder that singer/songwriter Suzi Analogue’s eclectic style is an uncanny mixture of the best of yesterday’s soul with a healthy serving of hip-hop and electronica. Think sweet-tempered soprano of Minnie Ripperton, rugged lyrics of Lauryn Hill, playful rhythm of Billie Holliday and the electric presence of Debbie Harry.
Born Maya Shipman in Maryland in 1987, she was raised in both rural Virginia and metropolitan Boston. Suzi has understood the power of words since childhood. At the age of six she moved to Virginia and began singing in her local church choir. This became her outlet for making sense of this newfound world. Suzi witnessed how words and sound inspire. After rehearsal, she would rush home to write songs on her keyboard and dub them to cassette. Church is where she also learned to sing all three parts of a harmony, despite being a soprano. “There is an improvisational quality associated with gospel music as far as arrangement. You do what hits.”
As Suzi matured, so did her musical tastes. She started listening to hardcore hip-hop and was impressed by the freedom of self-expression through stories of pain and struggle. She started dabbling in production and drum kits. She started harmonizing against beatboxing in local ciphers. She started to breathe hip-hop.
Some of the first albums Suzi picked up were The Roots’ “Things Fall Apart” and Wu-Tang Clan’s “Enter the 36 Chambers”. It’s from Wu-Tang member, Rza (aka Bobby Digital) where Suzi got her name idea from. “I wanted to be his female counterpart, but in my own way.”
Theatre opened Suzi up to the possibility of fusing sound with performance. She worked closely with an award-winning troupe in Virginia in which she held multiple roles in productions. She would often infuse hip-hop and soul to compose music and dialogue for her independent productions. This garnered Suzi statewide notoriety.
Entering college added a new layer to Suzi’s musical ambitions and sound. Here is where she began to focus on recording, writing and collaborating again. She has performed at venues like The Khyber and The Fire, both in Philly and The Remote Lounge in New York. Suzi’s objective is to effect change. Drawing from experience, she uses music as her medium to fight wars against rampant miseducation about life, race, women, love and crime.
This self-proclaimed Brown Girl Wonder is Analogue. Analogue sound is the original sound. The simplistic harmonies and melodies transformed into other things. An analogue clock moves time using its hands. And that is exactly what she’s doing: creating something of her own lifetime using hard work. Expect to hear more from Suzi Analogue. The multi-talented and multi-faceted artist will be working on a studio release with Amsterdam’s uprising label Dopeness Galore and has collaborative projects lined up. She will also be releasing a series of self-recordings regularly.
Ex-boyfriends, future boyfriends, imaginary husbands, HIP-HOP, james yancey, Portishead, Nina Simone, Billie Holiday, Minnie Riperton, people on the subway, crime, The Washington Post, Choir practice on Saturdays when I was 10, Esthero, Betty Davis, Phyllis Hyman, Daniel Dumile, Sade, E.Badu, Lauryn Hill, Curtis Mayfield, Sly & The Family Stone and you, and you and you and you.
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