Bruce Sudano lives in the now. His forthcoming EP Stories of Our Lives Vol. 1 marks the latest chapter in his ongoing exploration of the human condition. The ever-evolving singer songwriter continues to musically blur the lines between folk, blues, pop and soul with a poetry that touches a nerve. An award-winning and Grammy-nominated artist, known for his work with his late wife Donna Summer as well as writing hit songs covered by Dolly Parton and Reba McEntire, Bruce Sudano adds his own unique voice to the world, filled with raw emotion and wisdom.
Tell us about your musical background-what individuals, bands, and genres have influenced you the most?
Like many of my generation, my musical background is rooted in the songwriters of the Brill Building, along with the Beatles, Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Tom Waits, Paul Simon, and Bruce Springsteen, as well as Motown and the Sound of Philly.
You’ve been a working musician since you were a young child-how do you think your music has changed and evolved over the years?
Growing up in Brooklyn I was exposed to numerous genres of music. Everything from Sinatra to the blues, soul and R&B, pop and rock with a heart for songwriters. I was also a big fan of Hank Williams and I think all of these elements show up in the songs that I write and the records that I make. Even though I’ve been doing music for a long time the style of music I make hasn’t really changed that much. I just have a greater understanding of what I wanna do and how I want to do it. It’s more refined now, it’s more focused. I think I continue to get better at my craft and at the same time have a deeper understanding of life, it’s emotions and complexities.
You’ve written songs that have been huge hits-what is your writing process like? Do you think there is a key to writing a great song?
Yes, I’ve been lucky enough to be involved in a few hit records but hit records don’t necessarily mean great songs. I think there’s a distinction there. I’ve heard many great songs that will probably never become hits records and I’ve also heard hit records that aren’t necessarily good songs. For me, the key to writing a great song is having a lyric and a melody that engages the listener with a story or a feeling that resonates in their heart, mind, and soul. Something that captures the imagination and maybe they recognize themselves, that moves them in some way. Yet at the same time, songs have different functions in different environments. A dance song has a purpose, a song in a Broadway show has a purpose and folk songs have purpose but they’re all generally trying to achieve different things. My process these days is sitting with my guitar and trying to find something meaningful to say in some creative way.
What is your favorite venue or festival to play and why?
My favorite venue to play is Genghis Cohen in LA. I like it because I’ve been playing there for a long time, it’s a small intimate room and I’m really comfortable there. I like to try to play there a couple of times a year. My favorite festival to play is the Philly Folk Festival because of its long history, the camaraderie of all the people, the great artists it has showcased over the years and it’s extremely well-run. I got to play it this past August for the first time and I really enjoyed it. I made friends.
Any words of wisdom for aspiring musicians and artists?
My words of wisdom for aspiring musicians would be to practice, learn what your strengths are, learn what your weaknesses are and try to improve them both. Don’t compare yourself, stay in your own lane, follow your own dream.
What’s one fun thing most people don’t know about you?
One fun thing about me that most people don’t know, let’s see: I only drink instant coffee. I have 3 cups every morning and that’s it for the day.
You can see Bruce Sudano perform at The Philadelphia Folksong Society on Sunday, November 3rd. You can learn more about Bruce Sudano at www.brucesudano.com.