Americana Artist/Cardiologist/TEDMED Speaker Suzie Brown talks love and family
Written by Krys Midgett for Women of Music Music of Women
Suzie Brown is all about love and family. Listen to her newest album ‘Sometimes Your Dreams Find You’ and her happiness comes through in every lyric.
Brown was born in Montreal but grew up in Boston, surrounded by music. Her parents are doctors but her dad played guitar and they would all sing. Folk music such as Gordon Lightfoot and Patty Griffith were a big part of the soundtrack of her life. Rodgers and Hammerstein were even included in that soundtrack with ‘The Sound of Music.’
Brown reminisced ‘I had a record player growing up and and we had tons of records. The first album that I really fell in love with was ‘The Sound Of Music’.” She would described how she would listen to the Casey Kasem Top 40 and listen for the songs she liked and record them on a Boombox. You have to push record on the tape deck at just the right time or you miss part of the song.
She never planned on writing songs or pursuing music as a career. As a matter of fact, two weeks out of every four, she spends countless hours being called Dr. Brown as a Cardiologist at Vanderbilt.
“I never really thought I could do it [music] as a career, I don’t know why. I just never gave myself permission to think about that. My high school didn’t have a lot of music. There was a band but I wasn’t into that kind of music. So I went off to college and in my last year of college, I tried out for an a Capella group on a whim and I made the group. Hanging out with those girls was what really sealed the deal. Then I graduated from college and bought a guitar to keep singing. I just played covers for a long time and started writing a while after that,” said Brown.
The 70s raw no production songs were a big influence on her unique sound. She was drawn to artists such as James Taylor, Mamas and Papas, Carol King and Billy Joel. As for newer songs, Kathleen Edwards’ song ‘House Full Of Empty Rooms’ off her ‘Voyageur’ album has really caught Brown’s attention.
During a fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania, she began her songwriting career and never looked back. While her career launched in Pennsylvania, her dreams decided to find her. Life took a turn while she was recording her second album, Heartstrings. At the studio, she met Scot Sax, a Grammy Award winning songwriter and talented musician. They attended a mutual friend’s wedding the next day. Eleven months later, they got married. In September, Scot and Suzie will celebrate their six year anniversary.
Between her Folk/Americana career, being a wife and mother of two little girls, time and balancing her life seems to be her biggest obstacle. Luckily, Dr. Brown has a lot of support behind her. She has worked part-time since she became a doctor in 2009, so that she could also work on her music. It is a two weeks on, two weeks off schedule. This works well with the music and the family. They also have a nanny to help with their two girls.
“It is tough when I am working at the hospital because I am in it. But then I have uninterrupted time that I don’t have to be there,” says Dr. Brown. “I couldn’t do it without help because I would have zero time.”
The title track from her newest album came from that struggle to balance. ‘I had been on tour and I was pregnant with our second daughter. I was sick. I was playing shows at night and up with my daughter, Josie, in the morning. It was brutal. Then I got home and had like one or two days off. I worked 12 days straight at the hospital, I was so sick and pregnant,” says Dr. Brown. “I had another one or two days off and I had a write with my friend Korby Lenker. I didn’t feel very well. I was just so exhausted. All I wanted to do is lie in bed for like a century. I made myself show up. We just had a great conversation about life and about where I am and how I never expected my life to look like this. I was on such a career path before but that I never thought I’d be as happy as I am. We wrote the song ‘Sometimes Your Dreams Find You’ and it ended up being the title track to my album.”
Brown’s creative talent and dedication has brought about numerous songwriting awards, commercial placement and five albums. As an Advanced Heart Failure/Heart Transplant Cardiologist, Dr. Brown has accomplished so much more.
Giving back is also very important to her and Scot. They give to various charities, but one comes to mind that she really wants to share. The Joe Berretta Foundation helps many heart patients and their families. They provide lodging and assistance that insurance will not cover while patients wait for a procedure called an LVAD or for a heart transplant. Information about that foundation can be found at www.joeberrettafoundation.com.
She feels strongly about this foundation because Joe Berretta was a patient at Vanderbilt and the foundation is in his memory. Brown sees the struggles that the families go through while on the waiting list. Brown has a giving heart and that comes across in her medical career and in her music. As far as everything goes, she is exactly where she wants to be in life.
“I am not really looking for the next step anymore,” says Brown. “I am not looking for a major label record deal. I am not looking to be on the road all the time because I really value my family life. I want to keep things moving and growing as an artist, and keep sharing my music.”
She is a doctor, a mom, a wife and a talented singer/songwriter. What does the future hold for Dr. Suzie Brown? More songs, more saving lives, more happy…..”more of the same!”
Please visit www.suziebrownsongs.com to purchase her album and fall in love with her style.
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