Singer-songwriter Suzanne Santo first found success with her critically acclaimed roots duo honeyhoney, who released three albums between 2008 and 2015. After becoming a solo artist in 2017, she released her debut album that same year, Ruby Red, produced by Butch Walker. Now, she just released her latest single, “Fall For That,” on September 18 (via her own Soozanto Records imprint). This new song is taken from her upcoming second album, produced by John Spiker, which she hopes to release early next year. Beyond that, she’s also been an in-demand backing band member for Hozier.
Certainly, Santo’s track record indicates that she’s someone who can offer useful advice to aspiring songwriters – but she initially hesitates to tell anyone else what they should do. “That’s tough, because everybody’s got a different way of doing it,” she says. After she gives it a little thought, though, she comes back with some suggestions.
“Write from your genuine place and not from a place that you think is trending or ‘it’s supposed to sound like this’ or ‘I’ve got to write a happy song because then people will listen to it more,” Santo says. Santo herself is known for this kind of unflinchingly honest song. On “Fall For That,” for example, Santo addresses the way in which she realized that news and social media oversaturation was negatively affecting her emotionally, and how it’s important to take a step back and think about our true thoughts on things, instead of being manipulated.
During these troubled times, Santo also adds that songwriters should be particularly careful with their lyrics: “You can have an idea of what the song is going to sound like, but lyrically, I think that now more than ever, we need genuine content,” she says. “We need people’s real feelings and emotions. The less manufactured emotions, the better, is what I would say. So know yourself. Know what you’re going through, and then figure out a way to funnel it into a song.”
Santo says she writes almost every single day, and she recommends that others do the same. “If you really care about songwriting, write as much as you possibly can. And know that you’re going to have some [songs] that you don’t like as much as others, but they all get you to the next place, to the songs that you do really love that you wrote. So don’t hate on your shitty songs!” she says with a laugh. “They all inform the others. When you have tons of seeds in your workbook, if you will, you can just Frankenstein them and put together a fucking awesome song!”