Susan Friend
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Susan Friend

New York City, New York, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2010 | SELF

New York City, New York, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2010
Solo Pop Country

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Music

Press


Susan Friend first appeared in the Times in 1983. Photographed beside her family piano, the then-13-year-old starred in a feature story about her "impressive" musical abilities. "She's Got Victorian Style in a Modern Era," the headline read.

Therein, however, Friend admitted to "not practicing as much I should," said she had too many interests to focus solely on music, and had "no idea" what she wanted to do for a living.

Friend studied music with Carol Sargentelli of New Street in Belleville, as well as Carol Mateyka, Robert Gizzi, Ron Hackling, and Tom Finetti of the Belleville school system.

After graduating from Belleville High School, though, Friend left her acclaimed musicality behind, pursuing a career in corporate communications.

"I had no idea all those years of piano lessons would lead anywhere," Friend said. "So I put it to rest."

She spent two decades in the business world, before suddenly deciding to start anew, as none other than… a songwriter.

"One day my piano said hello to my pen, which said hello to my brain, and here it is," Friend said. "It was very unexpected. The article you ran all those years ago was a prophetic foreshadowing to a career I never even knew I wanted."

With her new dream in tow, Friend "jumped off the corporate ladder without a parachute," she said.

She left her demanding career and took a less consuming day-job in fine dining, spent thousands of dollars creating a demo album and press kits, got a roommate in a Manhattan studio apartment, repeatedly defended her choices to family members, and put countless hours into honing her musical craft, attending workshops, writing new songs, and pitching them throughout New York City.

A few years later, those efforts are paying off.

Friend's power ballad "Hot Rain" was a top 10 finalist in a national songwriting contest sponsored by We the Children, as part of a Haiti fundraising gala. She was flown out to Hollywood's House of Blues to compete for the top spot, performing live in front of a panel of celebrity judges including musician Mick Fleetwood and actresses Diane Lane and Marla Maples. Friend came in second place, the crowd cheered every time she hit the chorus, and Maples reportedly said she loved the performance so much that she texted her friend, "Hot Rain is HOT."

Moreover, Friend's edgy pop song "God Help the Next One" earned her a Top Five International Song of the Year award.

Nineteen minutes after playing one of her songs at a pitch event, Friend also received a non-exclusive contract welcoming her and her entire catalogue to WacBiz — a company which places songs into television and film. ABC's soap opera "All My Children," along with the MTV network, have expressed interest in her music, as a result.

Lastly, Friend's songwriting pinnacle to date: Clive Davis, world-renowned record producer and Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Famer, is considering one of her songs for a major recording artist, under his J Records label.

"What I'm fantasizing about is that he loves my song, wants it and says it will be on so-and-so's album. That's when I faint and have a party," Friend said. She has an old bottle of champagne, "which is no longer drinkable," waiting for just that party in order to be popped.

She is also in the follow-up stages for song pitches she's made to artists themselves, namely pop sensations Jennifer Hudson, David Cook and Britney Spears, along with Broadway artist Lea Salonga.

Friend writes songs in a multitude of musical genres, leaning mostly on pop, country, R&B and cabaret. Her style has been described as "Diane Warren meets Irving Berlin meets Nashville."

When asked which genre is her favorite to create music for, Friend replied, "Is it ok for my answer to be a non-answer? It's so difficult. I have a true love for each of them. Pop is so great… but country lets you be clever with your lyrics and tell and a story and be extremely sentimental… and cabaret honors the forefathers of music. It's a blessing and a curse that I love it all."

The multifaceted songwriter has close to 40 songs recorded and ready to be marketed, 50 other songs completed, and "zillions" of partial songs and song ideas. Her idol is American songwriting icon Diane Warren.

To all those dreamers out there, Friend said: "I knew my life had to change. I completely turned my life upside down, and it was a bumpy transition. But, the struggle has been well worth it. You have to take a risk and make yourself vulnerable. You can't steal second base while keeping your foot on first."

To contact the artist or hear samples of her work, visit myspace.com/susanfriend or facebook.com/susanfriend3. - Belleville Times, NJ


Discography

Still working on that hot first release.

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Bio

Susan Friend is a rising songwriter and artist whose passion, talent and eclectically vast catalog often has her described as ‘Diane Warren meets Irving Berlin meets Nashville’ and whose voice has been praised for its equally inspired diversity. An award-winning writer and musician since childhood, she is intensely dedicated to her craft and has written and performed a long roster of songs ranging from Pop, Rock and Country, to R&B, Soul and Broadway/Cabaret.

The Songwriter

A member of ASCAP, NSAI, The Songwriters Hall of Fame and The Film Music Network, Susan earned a coveted spot in The Songwriters Hall of Fame Master Class and has been noted by both fans and professionals as a writer who is ‘going places’. She is currently pitching to several major artists, and her tunes have been solicited around the world by a range of new talent including a European boy band, an Asian Pop artist, and a Nashville Star contestant.

Most recently, Susan has caught the attention of a Grammy award-winning producer, Warner Chappell and Cherry Lane publishing execs, and MTV and ‘All My Children’ music supervisors -- and she's had two VERY cherished accolades to celebrate: Her song God Help The Next One made the Top Five of the 2009 Song of The Year international songwriting competition, and her oft-requested Hot Rain made the Top Ten out of 350 entries in the 2010 We The Children national songwriting contest -- flying Susan out to Hollywood's House of Blues where she opened for Mick Fleetwood and competed before a celebrity judging panel that included Mick, Marla Maples and several renowned international recording artists. The song brought the house down and won 2nd Place at this amazing Pre-Grammy gala that also helped raise funds for Haiti.

The Artist

While the breadth of Susan’s catalog poises her to pitch to a variety of recording artists, her own artistry has become increasingly evident. From NYC's Triad Theater, Don’t Tell Mama and CBGB to Hollywood's House of Blues, her ability to tailor her voice and piano-playing to the emotion of the story at hand has often brought audiences to tears – and to their feet. This chameleon-like delivery combined with her exceptional ear for harmony has also made her a natural in the studio where she arranges, co-produces, and often sings on her own tracks – some of which she plans on releasing someday on her own independent albums.

Band Members