Possessing all the vibe in the world (Rolling Stone), Suzanna Choffel feels equally at home singing in a dimly lit, smoky club as she does front and center in front of (literally) millions. Credit the Austin TX natives musical upbringing: with a name inspired by Leonard Cohen’s Suzanne, she was steeped in her parents 70s LP collection and grew up cultivating an interest in pop, soul, jazz, reggae and more. The budding talent began writing songs at a young age, took up piano and guitar, and gigged in teenage R&B bands at the legendary Continental Club and even Antones.
She shot to the top of the Austin music scene after her debut album Shudders & Rings won multiple songwriting awards, and her dynamic live show earned her Best Indie Band at the 2009 Austin Music Awards. Suddenly she was headlining SXSW, appearing at Austin City Limits festival, CMJ and Voodoo Experience, and sharing stages with the likes of Angelique Kidjo and Solange. As her profile soared, her music began to appear in commercials and film, including a track during a pivotal moment of the 2010 indie hit Catfish (a surprise even to her). In the slipstream came her evocative and expansive second album, Steady Eye Shaky Bow, hailed as a record of shimmering soul (Austin American-Statesman), and Best Album winner in the 2012 Independent Music Awards.
Primed for the national stage, Suzanna auditioned for and appeared on NBCs The Voice, wowing the judges with her renditions of Fleetwood Mac and Bob Marley and earning singular praise from Rolling Stone as the only artist you would want to listen to a complete album from. Soon came offers to share a bill with Emeli Sand and Skylar Grey, and tour the U.S. with Wakey!Wakey!
After moving to New York in 2011, Suzanna’s quickly become a fixture in the NYC music scene. Since then she re-released her album, renamed Archer, with “Golden Fires” as a bonus track, internationally on Red Parlor Records in 2013 and toured France to rave reviews in early 2014. In 2014 Choffel decided to move back to her hometown of Austin, TX to record her third album with producer David Boyle (Bebel Gilberto, Robert Plant, Patty Griffin) at Church House Studios (a renovated church in historic East Austin). Enlisting JJ Johnson on drums, Charlie Sexton & David Garza on guitars, Cat Popper & Brad Houser on bass and many others, Choffel recorded eleven tracks in the fall/winter of 2014 and is set to release the new Hello Goodbye Summer 2016. The album veers from dreamy folk (“Go Forth”) to Wilco-esque rock (“Follow”) to saucy funk (“Lately For You”) with a few sultry R&B/pop gems along the way (“I Could Be Loved”, “New Word”). The title track was penned upon leaving Austin for New York (in 2011) & the closing of one of her favorite local bars, Momo’s, where many a band formed & cut their chops including Choffel’s. To Choffel it signified the end of an era for Austin. When she returned in 2014 she found much of her hometown unrecognizable: condos where local businesses used to be and cranes crowding the downtown skyline. “It was inevitable for Austin to boom at some point.” But she doesn’t necessarily see it as a bad thing. “Rent prices suck, yes, but overall, I think there is more opportunity here now than there ever was. It’s becoming a bit more of a worldly city, which is great because NY winters were starting to get me down”, she chuckles. “I feel I can reach a much wider audience here than I was able to back in 2008 because there are just more ears here now.”
2015 was perhaps Choffel’s lightest year for performing, but indeed her most life-changing year as she gave birth to her daughter Lulu in March, going into labor the last night of SXSW (she performed quite pregnant at the Austin Music Awards). So far motherhood has not slowed down the songstress too much. She took on a two-week tour in France in June, bringing her daughter along for the ride. Le Monde took notice of her, reviewing her show at the sold out concert series at Palais Ideal in Hauterives. Choffel plans to return this year for another French tour, adding other European dates as well.