Suzanne Gladstone is a country/soul singer and songwriter from San Diego. She was born in Oceanside, California and was one of ten children. Her childhood was rather difficult, being raised by her aunt and grandparents after the age of five. She turned to music and poetry for solace and this led to her love of singing and songwriting.
She is self taught and somewhat of a natural, with her paternal grandmother being a jazz singer. Along the way she has found inspiration from such artists as Mariah Carey, Celine Dion, Reba McEntire, Faith Hill and Garth Brooks amongst many others. Her voice has been compared to singers such as Shania Twain and Adele.
Here’s my verdict on her most recently released singles:
This track is a moody, organ-driven epic rock ballad with a passionate lead vocal from Suzanne. Opening with the chorus hook doubled on electric guitar, the opening lines set the tone for this heartfelt, soul-searching song: “The sands of time are running out, I haven’t figured what life is all about…”. This emotion is captured perfectly by Suzanne, and the memorable, anthemic title hook is something most will be able to relate to. Towards the end, she gets to showcase her outstanding vocal range and power.
This song shows a whole other side to Suzanne’s songwriting. While maintaining the pop/rock instrumental sound, there’s a definite RnB influence in the fast flowing verses that display the vocal dexterity you find in rap and hip hop. Lyrically, it once again expresses honesty and vulnerability: “I can’t stand this cold bed, or these nasty thoughts filled with dread..”. The simple, poignant title hook captures this sense of desolation: “As the dust settles, you’re gone”. A great pop track with a sassy modern edge.
I Am! I Am! (My Own Kind Of Pretty)
After the emotional turmoil of Dreamer and Dust Settles, this song is a nice contrast; it’s an upbeat, ultra catchy and uplifting track, this time displaying a jazzy side to her musical oeuvre. Over a crisp, punchy beat Suzanne alternates with catchy sax lines, delivering a ferociously feisty vocal that takes no prisoners. Lyrically, it’s about overcoming negativity and showing self-determination, the chorus defiantly running: “Ain’t nobody gonna hold me down, ain’t nobody gonna take my crown again”.
This ebullient spirit is continued into Warrior, one of the rockier tracks in her current canon. Over a potent 2/4 beat, synths interweave with gritty electric guitars to great effect. The stomping chorus hook is instantly infectious and provides another inspiring anthem in the Christina Aguilera mould. The opening lines once again perfectly set the tone: “You and I, we fight the night like we can touch the sky, we rock it hard like we are meant to fly, no one can stop us and they don’t know why….”.
This is a classy pop track that brought to mind the epic ballads of the 80’s, but with a more modern production approach. Suzanne gives another emotive performance, portraying a wronged lover in an affecting way. The emotional impotence you feel when heartbroken is captured by the excellent chorus, augmented by high register harmonies. Can easily see why this was chosen as a single.
Gazing In Your Eyes
This is an interesting track, a seemingly languid and low-key song but the lilting vocal melody quickly sticks in the memory and, upon repeated listening, it proves to be an understated gem. Based around an atmospheric guitar motif, Suzanne here depicts someone in the depths of being in love: “Heart beating with your love, without it would be broken, no more reason living on if your love were unspoken” runs the fine chorus.
Everything Will Be Fine
Even more catchy is the summery sounding perfect pop of Everything Will Be Fine, which brought to mind Taylor Swift circa 1989 (the album, not the year!) The title hook is effortlessly addictive, the lyrics equally full of positive energy: “Don’t downplay your passion as some childhood fantasy…”. If this wasn’t a hit upon its first release, it deserves a future re-release as it’s got all the makings of a major worldwide smash.
This is another fine piece of songwriting with a gorgeous piano introduction and a jazzy influence in the chord progression, along with a funky overall feel. Lyrically, it depicts finding someone special after a dark period: “After a few months of living like my heart couldn’t beat….”.
Is It Love?
This song is a return to the epic rock ballad style of earlier tracks, alternating between sections of delicate piano and storming drums, the musical bedrock for a blistering vocal performance once again from Suzanne. Lyrically, it’s also a return to portraying the inner turmoil that romance can bring: “I want to cry but the tears have dried in my eyes, instead I’m looking for the meaning in my life…”. Excellent track.
You Walked Away
This track opens with a Tori Amos-style piano flourish before a beefy beat kicks in, building to an anthemic and cathartic chorus featuring effective call and response backing vocals. With its radio friendly sound and affecting vocals as ever, it’s another fine choice as a single. Suzanne really gets to display her considerable range towards the end and it brought to mind the highly emotional Stevie Nicks-sung classics of Fleetwood Mac.
Overall, this is an outstanding collection of singles that showcases Suzanne Gladstone as a singer and songwriter of considerable talents. Her commercial and creative potential is huge and it’s surely only a matter of time before she becomes a big name.