An interview with Roy Brown
Suze Sims: an interview excerpt By Roy Brown
Sometimes you know a person is more than good, more than talented and set apart from the cream of the crop. I saw Suze Sims perform at Waterfront Blues, it was a jaw dropping experience. I didn’t know it then, but after seeing her locally too, I knew I had to visit with her. I would like to share the conversation.
RB: Musicians often have different paths to finding their talent. How did you find yours?
SS: I started in clubs, back east; as a stage technician. I just had to go to live shows. That’s how it got started. I had no idea I was going to sing. I was in a car wreck a while back, and spent 5 years recovering; on a couch for 18 months before I could go back to work. I couldn’t drive; there were lots of anxiety attacks. 2 years after friends took me out. I was a darts tournament that had to Karaoke. I sang Tina Turner, Private Dancer and Led Zeppelin, and was hired on the spot to host. It was a happy accident. Soon musicians coming into my Karaoke place asked me to sing with them. I figured I had training singing the entire Karaoke book. Eventually I started at live shows. So I backed into music. I was doing info systems. Now I want to sing and play. That's It!
RB: When into that process did you realize that you were a good singer, maybe a great one? How did that happen?
SS: It was when I started singing in a back up roll I felt that I had a talent. To be able to compliment another artist brought the desire for original music and writing. I began to write songs and later collaborate. Being hired was a convincing moment for the existence of talent. I still check myself to make out the song’s chemistry then I sing.
RB: Tell me all about Suze Sims.
SS: I’m from New York City. Harlem dad; Brooklyn mom. I grew up with a lot of art and music. I didn’t know I wanted to play music. I did a lot of theater; moved on to nightclubs stage tech and concert production and community theaters. I finally finished college 2006. Completing a degree in audio engineering, performance, I have several IT Systems and Audio certificates.
I worked at the Seattle Art Institute, Seattle Art Museum, and several Seattle radio stations. Great jobs!
RB: Musically, before Red Hotz, what have you done?
SS: I’ve also done wedding gigs other bands and casuals or guest vocalist, a lot of recorded and live back vocals. I worked with David Keys a pianist with a jazz magazine and Dean Schmidt and Aaron Henning. I worked in Jim Basnight Band, Whiplash, Ruby Tuesday, and co-billed Mavis Staples Melissa Etheridge Shemekia Copeland Phoebe Snow Walter Trout Joan Armatrading Curtis Salgado Elvin Bishop Rita Chiarelli Bernard Alison Canned Heat Duffy Bishop. I have also produced concerts, worked large festivals.
RB: It sounds like you are not really concerned about the particular style of a song, but aren’t you primarily doing R&B and Blues?
SS: ...I’m really into the song and what it does. We start a song that sounds like its New Orleans second line and turns to a rumba swing ...This is the 11th year with T. Wilson, the co founder of Red Hot Blues Sisters whose songs are driven by soul stirring blues vocals, great songwriting and guitars, and fantastic energy.
RB: Where do you see yourself going from here? Do you want to be a singer when you grow up, or an engineer?
SS: I see myself as a recording touring performer and philanthropist. I love playing other towns you might work or collaboration with new musicians. As far as the audio engineering, that’s the roll of my production company Cherub Productions or Peace Code Records. I want to produce artists’, and in a studio of my own too. A lot of artists struggle; however, particularly in the NW area women tend to be on other peoples albums and don’t have their own product. This is where the engineering integrates with the rest of my career.
RB: Ya know Suze, I just don’t understand the draw of the vagabond life of the road. How do you feel about the road?
SS: I read magazines and hear Santana tours for 2 months with a month off for sanity reasons as well as family. ...I have toured 8 countries now and would not trade it for the anything. When they say go, I would not have it any other way. 70 dates per year and I want 150. PUT ME ON THE BUS LETS GO! There are things you must do to make the road easier. Always leave the hotel and see the town.
RB: Are there any final words you would like to convey to your fans?
SS: This band formed November of 2004. I just can’t believe the response in that short timeframe. I am sincerely amazed and thankful. I’m so grateful we have that appeal and have been lucky enough to be asked back and win awards. That’s an opportunity the fans give me that I take very seriously. They allow me to keep doing what I love, that speaks to my heart.
I had no idea I was going to be singing. I thought I was to be a technician in some dark theater. Thank you all so much for coming out to our shows supporting the record and touring.
RB: As I’m sure you know, Suze Sims is one of the finest performers we are blessed to have in the Puget Sound Region. I’ve been looking for along time for an artist that someday, I can say, “I knew her when…” After listening and talking to her, I think that just happened. To learn more about Suze , try Facebook. Suze, I’m hoping for tickets on opening night at Carnage Hall. if you are in the money, air fare to New York would be nice. Please make them first class, just like you.
2008 BB Awards recipient for Best Band and Entertainer of the Year. In the short time since Suze Sims - the Red Hot Blues Sisters performed their first live show in 2004 at Highway 99 in Seattle, they have taken the local blues community by surprise with the power and depth of their musicianship.
Their innovative songwriting brings a fresh feel to the blues. Selective covers of traditional standards shine like polished stones through the lens of the bands style & strong musicianship.
Recently featured live performances including a 2007 European Tour including Belgium, France, Netherlands and Germany and on the main stages of Portland Waterfront Blues Festival, Sunbanks Blues Festival, Mt. Baker Blues Fest, Bite of Seattle, The Yale in B.C. Canada, Seattle's Northwest Folklife, Blues by the Sea, Highway 99, The New Orleans, Rockrgrl Music Conference 2005 and Wild Buffalo have continued to introduce the talents of RHBS to the Northwest music scene, resulting in extremely positive responses from ardent blues, rock and R&B fans.
Fronted by the hot and soulful vocals of Suze Sims this group also features some of the finest North West musicians.
The Red Hot Blues Sisters have a guaranteed crowd pleasing show that is quickly gaining momentum, well-crafted original songs with brilliant performances that are rapidly being picked up for airplay and a growing fan base!
Producers Bonnie Hayes and Tom Pfaeffle recently joined forces with Peace Code Records to produce their latest 2 song EP, Hot Off the Press which includes Ocean Beach and See You composed by Suze & Teri. Bonnie Hayes is best known for her hit songs "Have A Heart" and "Love Letter," which restored Bonnie Raitt to superstardom with the multi-platinum, multi-Grammy-winning CD Nick of Time. Tom Pfaeffle is best known for his work with Heart and Queensrych. Together, they influenced an impressive sound on there EP "Hot of the Press!"
Other releases by Red Hot Blues Sisters include Producers Don Dodge and Neal Storme and Titles: Flood In The Basement released May 2005 Peace Code Records includes Kiss My Dimple and Lost & Found Friends of the Holidays 2005 released November 2005 Compilation CD produced by Friends of the Holidays includes Lost & Found along with songs by artists Rod Cook & Toast, Randy Oxford Band, Stickshift Annie w/ Kimball and the & Blues Alliance.
RHBS SonicBids.com - http://www.sonicbids.com/epk/epk.asp?epk_id=18850
Peace Code Records - http://www.peacecoederecords.com
In Search of Memphis Mojo February 2008 on Peace Code Records; Limited Release EP-Preview includes the late great Ruth Brown's - R. B. Blues. The rest is the cherry on the whip cream.
Feel the Burn released August 2007 on Peace Code Records; includes Flood in the Basement, Crying Shame, & Southern Comfort.
Flood In The Basement released May 2005 by Peace Code Records; includes Kiss My Dimple & Lost & Found.
Hot off The Press released November 2005 by Peace Code Records ;includes Ocean Beach and See You produced by Bonnie Hayes* and Tom Pfaeffle**
Friends of the Holidays 2005 Compilation CD released November 2005 by
Friends of the Holidays; includes Lost & Found
and material from artists Rod Cook & Toast, Randy Oxford Band, Stickshift Annie w/ Kimball and The Blues Alliance.
Universal Peace Experience released August 2003 by Sister Guitar on Peace Code Records
International Blues Challenge | Memphis Tennessee January 31- February 4
2007 FINALISTS Back to Beale Street Winners! Winners! Winners!
Suze Sims Best Female Blues Vocalist May & June 2005
Teri Anne Wilson Best Blues/Rock Guitarist May & June 2005
Lost & Found - Best Production, Beat and feel good track May & June 2005 - on Garageband.com -featured artists.
KAOS RADIO Olympia Washington KMHD Portland, Oregon KINK Portland, Oregon IndieFeed.com - Blues & Funk Channel BadDawg Radio Blues Society of Omaha Podcast.net , Podcastalley.com Lindis Bluescast - Germany The Roadhouse, Blues Highway and dozens more podcasts!
Pre-release "Hot off the Press" EP available Nov 2005 - Ocean Beach and See You - producers - Bonnie Hayes, (Robert Cray, Bonnie Raitt) and Tom Pfaeffle (Queensyrche, Art Institute of Seattle)!
Observations of the Northwest blues scene Saturday October 6th the Seattle Rhythm & Blues Festival features The Red Hotz, 2006 nominee of the Washington Blues Society for Best Band. Fronted by the powerful and soulful vocals of Suze Sims and the razor sharp guitar of Teri Ann Wilson, the Red Hotz are always a crowd pleaser and keep the audience rockin’ at every stop along the way. They are a groove, no doubt.
September 23, 2007 Jet City Blues
For those of you who haven't heard yet, the Red Hot Blues Sisters have been burning up the Blues Scene around Seattle. They are best Blues Band 2006 & 2008 & 2012, singer Suze Sims is Best Singer 2007, & 2008 Guitarist Teri Wilson has been nominated for Best Guitar 2006.
Yogi's Music World Aug 2007
THE RED HOTZ: Feel the Burn Red Hot Blues Sisters Suze Sims throws down some serious vocals in this female-fronted Blues, Rock & Soul Seattle-based band. Recommended if you like Tina Turner, Bonnie Raitt, Santana. CD price: $15.00 / MP3 price: $15.00
Version 3, edited by In2TheBlues on 8 February 2013, 10:40pm · Revised 2015 CP/SAPPs