Talented Friends

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A while ago I posted about my talented friend Erin Parker. I thought I might make it a regular series by posting about my many other talented friends. Only 20 months later (haha), it’s now time for installment number two.

I met my friend Suzie in 2006 — shortly after I moved to Philadelphia. She’s part of the knitting group I’ve spoken highly of here. Suzie is an awesome singer-songwriter and in the few years she has pursued music, she has received many awards, including “Best of Philly” Music Talent by Philadelphia Magazine. Her first full-length album “Heartstrings” was released in May 2011. It’s a favorite around my house. Suzie’s story is unique in that she hasn’t been a struggling musician all her life. In fact, Suzie is a trained medical doctor and when she’s not writing songs, performing (or knitting with friends), you can find her working part-time as a cardiologist. I know, right?

Well, Suzie is presently in Nashville recording her second album with Oliver Wood of the Wood Brothers fame. It was her dream to work with him, so she just “called him up” and asked him to produce her next album. To her surprise, he said yes. You can join me and support her new record by pledging on her PledgeMusic site (it’s like Kickstarter for musicians) — there’s only 24 days left! Once you’ve made a pledge (as little as $10), you get exclusive access on her PledgeMusic page (such as behind-the-scenes video footage and updates).

I heard a few of her new songs when she performed at Philadelphia’s Tin Angel last month, and I’m really excited about the new work she’s producing. Check out Suzie’s website and follow her escapade’s on Facebook. I’m proud of all my talented friends (please, you’re all talented in some way), and although I recognize the brilliance surrounding me, I want to be better about sharing it with the world.

Suzie’s official video for the song “Heartstrings”:

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This is the first of what could prove to be a series of special posts featuring my talented friends – I have so many of them!

Erin and I have been friends since waiting tables together the summer of 1998.  We worked at a small Mediterranean restaurant and would often be the only two servers working a given shift. When it was slow, we’d exchange life stories over feta-stuffed pita and diet coke. We would fold cloth napkins for what seemed like hours and wonder how it was that we hadn’t met before.

Our friendship blossomed the following summer after we’d graduated and Erin was away doing summer stock theater in Michigan. Through letters, we shared boy drama and fears about heading out into “the real world.” Yeah, hand-written letter writing. The real deal.

At the end of that summer, we decided to pack up my little Ford Tempo and move together from Southern Indiana and Michigan to Portland, Oregon. Erin’s brother lived there, so although we were as naive as any 22-year-olds could be, we had a destination and a place to live once we got there. Together, we started an amazing, and often times ridiculous, adventure.

Erin is one of the main “characters” in my MFA memoir thesis project (we have some good stories from those months together), but over the last 13 years, Erin and my friendship has changed as we have grown. Although I don’t see her or talk to her nearly enough, she was the officiant at my wedding and is still one of my very best friends.

This spring, Erin started a project called MAS Nashville.  It started out as a Mutual Admiration Society, but the name also signifies Mas, meaning more. More talent. More variety. More opportunity. More community.  Erin is an actress and singer, and she got tired of waiting around for other people to invite her to get involved in cool, inspiring projects.  So, she decided to create her own opportunity with a group of women that she admired vocally.  Together, the five women created a one-time-only cabaret performance. It sold out, so they committed to an encore performance.

Today, appropriate for the holiday, Erin sent me a link to their arrangement of Katy Perry’s “Firework.” Watching the video moved me to tears.  Granted, I’m an 8-month-pregnant lady, but still… it just made me even more sad that I live so far away and wasn’t able to see the show in its entirety.

Happy 4th of July! (Erin is the second one from the left.)

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