Life path

Tom Coyne - Grateful Goodbye

Today I found out that legendary Mastering Engineer, Tom Coyne passed away. With a resume that contains top artists like Adele and Coldplay, I am so honored I got to work with Tom on some of my latest Susan songs in 2016. Despite being terminally ill, he told no one.  Instead, he engulfed himself with what he loved most - music.  I was so touched when my producer forwarded me an email from Tom after He mastered "Time For This" last fall.  This is what he wrote:


Hello Gerard,
                           I hope all is well with you.
                           Only thing I can say about Susan and this single                                     is WOW !!!  Incredible !!...OK 2 words.
                           What a performance , and mix.
                           Enjoy and when you pick which of the options I                                     gave you, I will make the 96-24 for you.
All the best,

                                                      Tom Coyne
                                                      Senior Mastering Engineer

Music is a powerful thing. And for those of us who create it and build our lives around it, music is more than a job.  Music is our comfort, our identity, our food, our air, our therapist, our inspiration, our communication, and our deepest passion.  It romances us in to a "marriage that never ends", even when our human commitments fail or fall short.  Music is the euphoric, perfect, insatiable force that holds our hearts captive, and we remain happily imprisoned.  

Tom, I will forever be grateful that your skilled ears crossed some T's and dotted some i's on my songs.  Your kind words lifted my spirit that day.  You have left an enormous body of beautiful music in our hands now, all because they passed thru yours first.  Thank you for sharing your gifts with me and letting me stand on your shoulders for a minute. I promise to run and run hard at this.  Thank you for reminding me that it's worth it. Respect, Gratitude, and Love . . . .  ~ Suz


After watching the Grammy's this year, I've been thinking a lot about my own music lately and why I keep at it.  I have devoted so much of my life, time, money, energy, and effort to this musical path and I love it - I wouldn't change a thing.  I know music is what I am supposed to be doing.

Loving it is certainly enough to keep me going, but I also want it to mean something to other people, to inspire them, and to contribute something to this world we live in.

Over the past few years, so many people have asked me " what do you think about The Voice or American Idol?"  Seems that the entire world wants to now be in the music business.  Certainly everyone has their right to dream and pursue whatever they wish.  I guess the question I have is this; If you knew right now that this dream would never make you rich or famous, would you still pursue it? 

As studio technology advances and we can now polish, fix, and even re-pitch bad singing like never before, it has opened the door for pretty much anyone to be "in the music business".   It is quite uncomfortable to be in an industry that everyone has such strong opinions about yet little credentials to warrant these opinions.  So, I avoid these types of discussions for the most part!  Again, everyone has the right to like what they like.  Art and music, after all, are subjective.  One problem with this is that we seem to have lost perspective on what quality music or art actually is.  The scale has become so greasy, there is no standard, no "true north".

As artists, our society has certainly tainted the path of success for us.  It is much more about being popular, likeable, beautiful, how much you "chat" on line, how many "likes" you have on Face book and Twitter, and so on.  It is NOT about the quality of the actual music you are creating.  Celebrity is part of every culture, but lets be honest; it has little to do with great art.

Certainly none of us can change the idiosyncrasies of our culture. And yes, I try to build my fan base on social media as much as any artist.    And I am not being critical of technology or flashy live shows, costumes or production.  That is all fun stuff and it's great to be creative with it.  But when it's all said and done, I want to be great at what I do.  When people listen to my songs or see me live, I hope they see something real.  At the end of the day, technology can't write a great song or create a passionate vocal performance.  This is up to me.  I need to be devoted to being skilled at what I do: practicing, studying, and growing as a musician.  This process should never stop, it should continue on thru my life.  Because no matter how much "BLING" gets added in the production process, the art needs to be their standing strong underneath it all.  Regardless if it makes me rich or famous, I will keep doing it. It is who I am, not something I am trying to be.

So I guess the point is this: wherever your dreams or talents take you, be the best you can be at it.  Do what you love and be who YOU are . . . don't chase a certain career because you think it will bring you fame and fortune. Create something with your life that is worth remembering.  Contribute something to our world.  We humans are one big family after all.  Pull your weight with those unique talents of yours. This is the best path we can take.  It is the path to TRUE success.  Discover what YOU were created for.  If you can find and embrace it, everything else will fall into place . . including the success you are dreaming of.