We had the good fortune of connecting with Suzanne Jamieson and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Suzanne, can you tell us about an impactful book you’ve read and why you liked it or what impact it had on you?
The book “Big Magic” by Elizabeth Gilbert had a profound impact on my life. In this book, Gilbert explores the theme of creativity. Where it comes from, how it arrives, what it feels like, and the importance of embracing ‘the muse.” She then dissects the fears and thought patterns that hold creatives back from going forward confidently and faithfully with their work. There is such a pervasive ego-driven pathos among many artists, which is “if I’m not getting paid for it, then I’m not legitimate/good enough/meant to do this thing.” In “Big Magic,” Gilbert presents a compelling counterargument to that, and encourages creativity for the sake of the making itself. In my own life, I was struck with an idea for writing a children’s album of fun, pop music for kids taking all I had learned from my studies of yoga philosophy and positive psychology…but I had only ever written one song in my life. This book made me take that moment of inspiration seriously and gave me the confidence to begin, and to continue, writing songs. That one moment of inspiration…and many more that followed as I opened myself up to such guidance…became my new album, “Bounce” which has won a NAPPA Award, a Family Choice Award, and Creative Child Social Emotional Learning CD of the Year thus far.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
As a mother of a 5 and 8 year old, I am constantly challenged in how to teach my kids positive life skills in a way that doesn’t make them ‘tune out.’ I know that lectures don’t work, and I don’t like being a lecturer. I have a background in singing and theatre….but I also spent years in Los Angeles studying yoga and yoga therapy, where I became very interested in the philosophy and its similarities to the tenants of positive psychology. I remember reading “Growth Mindset” by Carol Dweck and it blowing my mind. I knew I wanted to teach my kids grit, resilience, growth mindset, gratitude, the importance of community, optimism, thought spinning, positivity, etc….but I wanted to do it in a way that would resonate with them. A couple years ago, they were already listening to Katy Perry, Taylor Swift, etc, and I knew that this type of pop music drew them in, got their attention. So I sought out the best in children’s pop music, The Pop Ups out of Brooklyn, NY, and together we wrote my album, Bounce. It is extremely important to me that adults like the music as much as the kids do. Because if parents don’t like it, they’re not going to play it. I also really wanted to respect children with the music. They have the full spectrum of emotions, they understand way more than we give them credit for, and they are constantly picking up messages and modeling their world around them from what they see and hear. Some sophisticated ideas and themes are presented in the lyrics to my songs…acknowledging that the world sometimes is a scary place….acknowledging that things aren’t always fair….acknowledging that they can get in situations where it’s hard to do the right thing….etc. But also presenting ways of thinking, feeling, and relating to the world that are well-researched to promote happiness and well-being. We all want our kids to thrive and be happy. Instead of saying “Don’t Worry, Be Happy,” this album is saying “It’s not always easy. I get it. But here’s some ways to help you feel good…”
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
#1: Hollywood Bowl. Sigh. Next year! #2: Breakfast at Farmshop at the Brentwood Country Mart. Lunch at Great White in Venice. Dinner at Rustic Canyon in Santa Monica. #3: Hike in Temescal or Malibu. #4 If we’re with kids, take them to the LA Arboretum. Stop and get some soft serve at CVT Ice Cream Truck on the way home #5 Anything at Center Theatre Group!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Hila Plitmann, my vocal coach. She has taught me more about music, singing, myself, my voice, and creativity than anyone else, and I am so grateful for her presence in my life.
Album Cover Photo: Jennica Mae Photography