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Blues Busters: Alexis P Sutter Speaks BB King, The Sousaphone, and The Truth

interview by Maren Johnson
photography by Laura Carbone

Is there any particular reason you’re playing a show in Saranac?

Well, you know it’s my first time there. We’re doing this big show at the Winter Festival, and I’m very excited about it. I know I don’t sound excited, but I’m excited! I’m basically just waiting to get back on the road and go.

Your online bios might be a bit out of date. Do you have an album coming out in April?

No, no, the album is out already. It’s called Two Sides and they haven’t updated it yet, and I couldn’t even tell you why – we’ve been so busy and so much has been coming our way. It’s just been a whirlwind of… beautifulness. It’s been a whirlwind of love for us, and I guess we didn’t get to update it.

Are you doing any writing or recording?

We’re always creating, always putting our heads together. We’ve been accepted so beautifully from everyone with these projects. I have four or five albums out now, and we’re just trying to keep everything fresh and new, keeping folks loving what we do.

We’ll be in the car for hours driving to a gig, and we’ll start writing and singing in the car. Everything that we do is basically about life and its experiences; it’s about what we do, about day-to-day. I think what makes this band special is we actually tell the truth, we stand in our truth, we sing the truth, and the audience gets that – when you’re honest with people, they know it. They know when you’re a phony. It’s just something that we pride ourselves on, being honest.

Alexis P Sutter

What is that like to work with so many and write with so many instrumentalists?

When you’ve actually grown emotionally with people, it’s not really difficult at all because you become a family. You go to each other’s houses and you get involved with each other’s family life, and it’s very easy to share. When you’re in love with people that love you so much, it’s very easy to let people be a part of that. We know it’s the truth, because we live amongst each other. You know, I’ve known them almost 16 years.

What was it like to grow up in Brooklyn and New York City with the music scene there?

I grew up in the Clinton Hill/Fort Greene section, which has always been the artsy section of Brooklyn. It was a blessing that I was able to, when I was growing up, attend a state school that had music programs. A lot of these kids today don’t have music programs, and I really feel sorry for the Board of Education in that regard, because we want our kids to learn reading, writing, arithmetic; we want them to learn the basics, but you also need kids that have an artistic expression. Whether it be singing, whether it be playing in the band, whether it be drawing and painting, molding clay- you always get something out of that. I played in the band for many years, I played the sousaphone, B-flat tuba. My mom worked in the public school music system as a teacher, and she’s still playing, still singing. She’ll be ninety in March, so she’s retired now of course, but she was my biggest influence, singing in church from the age of three.

I lived across the street and I still do from Pratt Institute College, which is very artsy. We’ve always been surrounded by that type of energy. All of that played a part in molding me into who I am and loving the arts. I never really knew any other part of growing up, except for being involved in different things that had to do with the arts. I feel so bad for the kids today, because I don’t think that people really take the arts seriously. They just look at it like a bunch of clowns, like a bunch of people who couldn’t cope with anything else so they took the easy way out and did music. I’m really, really against that. I think that people should give it a chance, you know, give people a chance, give kids a chance, and bring music back, bring it to their neighborhoods, and really let the kids live it a bit.


0 # Anu Prestonia 2012-03-08 16:37
Congratulations Alexis! Your music is soul-stirring and heart felt. It's a visceral experience that never leaves you. If your receive half of what you give, you are richly blessed. Keep on doing it!
0 # Rev. Kevin E. Taylor 2012-03-11 18:15
The legendary Blues Giant, Mr. BB King, is SO right--there are very few female vocalists ALIKE like Alexis P. Suter! Very few singers, PERIOD! Her voice is unnerving. I have seen her a few times and the FIRST was in a choir YEARS ago and when she finished, her lead vocal caused a RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE! We tried to lose our minds but I know I lost my stress! I have seen her a few times and each time is better than the last! See her. Show her that you really appreciate GREAT MUSIC! Her showwomanship is AWESOMENESS! It's church for my pastoral soul! MY GOD, I am about to put on "HOLE THAT I'M IN" right now! THAT SOUL RECTIFIES MY SOUL! Thank you APS for all of the amazing music! You cried for Mr. King and you've caused those same tears FROM me. So we'll even! Your gifts will always make room for YOU!
0 # JaVonne 2012-03-11 21:40
We're so very proud of you Sexi Lexi! Keep makin' it do what it do!


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