Suzanne Santo is known for her career as half of the critically acclaimed roots duo honeyhoney. Early this fall, she released “Fall For That.” The single features a blistering guitar solo from Gary Clark Jr.
Santo says that working with Clark was a dream.
“Gary is such a wonderful, kind person and it was a great honor to have him make such a powerful appearance on the song,” she says. “‘Fall For That’ had been entirely recorded, save for the instrumental section, so when I sent it to Gary there was this wide open space for him to fill with his incredible playing.”
“I was really nervous when I reached out to see if he’d be interested in playing on the track and was truly humbled when he texted back right away with an excited ‘hell yes,'” she shares. “I look forward to playing this live with him one day!”
“Fall For That” is a bluesy single. A press release describes it as a “visceral reckoning with our conflicting desires for connection and solitude, inclusion and isolation, chaos and calm.” Santo’s vocals are effortlessly carried by the soulful guitar work.
Santo shares that the inspiration behind the single came from her time in Ireland a little over a year and half ago.
“Ironically the inspiration behind the song came from not wanting to get pulled into social media rabbit holes while I was trying to relax and write songs in Ireland a year and half ago,” she explains.
“I was in Hozier’s band, singing and playing guitar and violin, and was at the end of a months long stretch of rehearsal,” she says. “We had an unexpected couple of days that opened up, so I rented a cabin in the stunning coastal region of Connemara, to work on new music for my record. I found that any time I picked up my phone and clumsily scrolled through my social media apps, it left me feeling angry, sad or insecure and felt like I was under attack.”
Santo shares that shortly after, she watched The Social Dilemma, which shined a light onto the impact that digital media has on our emotions.
“Frankly, it terrifies me and this song couldn’t have come out at a better time, as I think it’s so important for us to regain control of this area of our lives,” she says. “SPREAD THE WORD!”
Santo often draws on her life experiences when it comes to inspiration for her solo work.
“The journey is so fascinating and I’m constantly in awe of how it keeps unfolding; the joys as well as the difficult parts,” she says. ” Whether it be personal relationships or my relationship to the crazy world outside, I’ve found a steady current of emotions and lyrics presenting themselves through all of it.”
When it comes to production, Santo credits collaborating with her producer, John Spiker, noting that her work has “been a blast to put together.”
Santo’s solo work is a more personal writing process than that of honeyhoney.
“I think there’s a pretty big difference for me, even though I write some honeyhoney songs alone, similarly to how I do with my solo records,” she explains. ” With HH, Ben’s energy is such a huge part of the band and even though I sing lead on most of the songs, when we write, or I write or he writes the tunes, they always become ‘ours’ in a really cool way.”
“When I write for my solo project it can be a little more lonely as I have to be the one raising the bar for the quality I want to put out there,” she says. “I appreciate the challenge of having to stand on my own two feet. That was a big thing for both Ben and I when we ventured into our own projects and has essentially made us much better collaborators in the long run.”
Santo notes that the connections made at live performances are a driving force behind her passion.
“Playing music for anyone, whether it be a friend in my living room or a crowd of thousands of people is such an incredible experience and exchange of energy,” she says. “That in and of itself is my favorite part about touring. That and getting to see the country and the world and stay connected to dear friends and family that I would otherwise not get to see very often. I miss that a lot.”
Santo was forced to cancel her live performances when COVID-19 hit the music industry.
“I’ve been keeping a positive attitude and have been doing my best to play meaningful digital shows, take great care of myself and trust that I’ll be okay in the long run,” she says.
“It’s always helpful if folks hit up the merch store or buy tickets to digital shows,” she says. “I offer Zoom shows/hang outs on my website and that has been really rewarding as I get to interact with folks all over the world!”
“I’ve been doing a lot of work in terms of self care as well as cultivating other projects here in LA and I’ve really appreciated the change of scenery,” she continues. ” I LOVE touring, but my last few solo tours were brutal van tours and I’d love to re-approach that in a more sustainable way for myself as well as my band, who I love so much. I’m not exactly sure what it looks like just yet, but I know it’s never going to be what it was, at least not for a long time, and I’d like to think it will be better than we ever could’ve dreamed.”
Santo shares that she definitely has more music in the works.
“It’s a real hodgepodge at this point as I’ve added a good deal more tunes since Covid,” she shares. “I did a tune with Shakey Graves that I’m really excited about and it will most likely be the next single release. There are so many friends that played on this record and I’m so proud and honored to share it next year.”
More interviews with artists can be read here.