Interview and photographs by Eric Gleason
There’s an underlying spirituality when Alexis P. Suter talks about her music and the mission she’s on. That soulfulness runs deep in both her personality and her music, as you can see and hear for yourself when the Alexis P. Suter Band takes over the stage at WAMC-FM’s The Linda in Albany at 8pm on Friday (June 21). And when talking with her you can’t help but feel like you’re talking with a preacher after hours. She’s that passionate, that uninhibited about talking about the ideals that drive her musical quest. And like a true New Yorker, this Brooklyn native needs only the slightest nudge to get her talking at length about what’s on her mind:
Q: So how long were you singing in your church before you started singing more secular music?
A: Wow (laughing)! I was singing in church for a long time before I started singing any other kind of music. I mean, I was into different theatrical groups and stuff, and we used to do different music. Not music like on the wide range like I do now with the band, but we did do other music besides gospel music. (Laughing) I don’t want anyone to think I was like this church robot or anything like that. I did do other stuff. [My parents] didn’t want us to listen to any other kind of music but gospel music, so I really didn’t have any other kind of music playing in my home.
Q: Your mother was a music teacher and deeply involved in the church. Was that her influence?
A: Well, I think it was my mother and my father. They just wanted us to be involved with that, you know, and stick with that influence. But as you get older, you get curious, and you want to listen to different things. You know, I’d go to school, and I had friends that weren’t as church-going as I was in my family, and they listened to different kinds of music. I’d go to different people’s houses and hear different things, and your mind gets curious. You grow up, and you’re like ‘I want to listen to this, I want to listen to that,’ so eventually I got to listen to different things because my music range started to become larger. I wanted to know more… and in order to do that, you have to listen to more than one kind of music.