Artist of The Week: #0059 Susie Blue

To celebrate the special re-release of Northern Irish Indie-Rocker Susie Blue’s debut album, ‘Didn’t Mean To Care’, we’re premiering the whole album in full, as well as the visuals for the much loved Indie Queer-Anthem ‘People Like Us’, which has sneaked its way onto the record.

We also had a chat with Susie Blue about ‘Didn’t Mean To Care’, all things LGBTQ+, her plans for the rest of the year, her fantasy dinner companions and more!

There's a lot of really cool musical names coming out of Derry. SOAK, Rosborough,  yourself. Can you tells us in London a little more about your local music scene and any other acts we absolutely must check out?
Music in Northern Ireland is so amazing at the minute and the talent is just bursting, I love Cherym who are a 3 piece all female band and they are so phenomenal. And Touts are so energetic with their songs and live performances.

'Didn't Mean To Care'  is a lively album made up of shoegaze guitar sounds and synth-pop melodies. Could you tell us some of the band/artists that have influenced the record?
I really love The Cranberries and also Kings of Leon, I honestly listen to bits of every genre so I think it all comes into play.

While not all of the songs on your album are obvious that they are queer, 'Didn't Mean To Care' is an intimate collection of songs documenting your teenage years, inspired by your relationships with woman after coming out as a gay.  Have you faced much prejudice for wearing your sexuality on your sleeve through your music (or in your personal life), and if so, how do you deal with it?
I've dealt with a lot of hateful stuff and also a lot of creepy stuff as people tend to turn any lesbian relationship into a sexual thing. My reaction is different every time, sometimes I'm just annoyed and inconvenienced and sometimes I am scared and angry at how I'm being treated. But with anyone that is a fan of the music I've only felt love and acceptance and also sometimes a really sweet bond with people who have went through similar things 

Is there a particular track on the album that secretly means more to you than any of the others? 

There is an acoustic track on the album called 'Trust Me', which actually came about by an ex girlfriend of mine asking why I don't trust her and I wrote a song explaining the reason why and it's so personal to me because it's a very honest stream of consciousness.

We heard you're playing the Diva Music Festival next month on the same line up as Gabrielle and KT Tunstall.  Whether intentionally or not, you've opened yourself up to be perceived as a role model for strong women in music and the LGBTQ+ community. Is there a message of advice you could give to anyone reading this who may be struggling with their identity or sexual orientation? 
What I have come across in past years is that there are so many different scenarios for people within the LGBTQ+ community and each one is so unique, I would honestly say, you will always find your way, it's your path and just because it's not the same as somebody else's doesn't mean it's not beautiful. The LGBTQ+ community is so diverse and a lot bigger than people think, we are all family and if someone is reading this and is a little lost, my inbox is always open.

What has been your favourite place to perform in so far?
My favourite festival has to be Glastonbury, the whole experience was amazing, I also love to play in Sandinos in Derry and Whelans in Dublin, there's nothing like an Irish bar.

Could you tell us about the other members who sometimes make up your live sound?
So I've been working with 3 guys for the last 2ish years and they always know exactly what I want everything to sound like, we all have great chemistry on stage and it's been so amazing to work with such talented people.

Do you feel like society is generally moving in the right direction with LGBTQ representation in music and TV? (Sometimes I feel like we'll be stuck watching really awful small budget lesbian films on Netflix forever with the same tragic endings!). 

I think TV and film is moving on from having weird lesbian story lines that nobody relates to, sometimes it is still a bit forced but it's becoming a lot more common and a natural progression for some characters which is nice to see. (SPOILER ALERT) Like in Atypical on Netflix, the show isn't about lesbians and the character isn't presented as gay or queer but the natural progression had me on the edge of my seat with excitement because when I was growing up I didn't have random characters in a show just being gay and everyone being okay with it. It was always a shock or I had to watch a specific show about lesbians. So I'm really happy lesbian story lines are being more normalised. Also, my friend Megan Doherty’s photography work is currently being used in the Channel 4 show The Bisexual, there is possibly a picture of me in there somewhere, I don't know.

Can you talk us through the ideas for the 'People Like Us' visuals?
I wanted to present a story of a young queer person being picked out of the crowd and punished for being themselves and then have the LGBTQ+ community come be their saviour so to speak. I wanted to show that even if times are tough and you think you have no family, the lLGBTQ+ community always comes together and at the end of the video the young person finds their happy place. 

Imagine you're hosting a dinner party for 5 famous people across ANY time in history and any profession. What would you be eating and who would be sat at the table with you? 
i would probably have pizza because it's easy to eat while talking to these famous people and also I probably won't spill it on myself. For guests I would have to say Amy Winehouse, Dolores O'Riordan, Christy Moore, Sinead O'Connor and my granda just so we could all do 6 part harmonies to old songs. 

What are your plans for the rest of the year and do you have anything scheduled for 2019 yet?

I have a gig in Belfast on the 11th of November which is a charity night for mental health and that's in Limelight, the next one is in Portrush on the 16th November which is in the Atlantic lounge presented by Phil Taggart for his slacker night and then Diva festival on the 30th of Nov to 3rd dec which is on great Yarmouth, and I'm so excited for all of them! Into the new year is all very mysterious right now.

Interview feature by Karla Harris

Stream ‘Didn’t Mean To Care’ on Spotify, here.