The intro music you just heard is from my guest today, Suzanne Ciani, an early pioneer of electronic music dating back to the 1970s. As a 5-time Grammy-nominated composer, Suzanne’s music can be heard on her solo albums as well as films, games, and countless commercials. Many have argued her Coca-Cola “pop and pour” changed the sound of advertising forever.
During our conversation, we discuss what it means to be an artist, how to evolve away from the need for approval and validation, and the importance of mentors during the creative process. While many of our guests strive to be lifelong learners - Suzanne seems to take this a step further as a lifelong learner and a lifelong creator. I hope you enjoy my conversation with Suzanne Ciani.
For the full show notes, transcript, and links to the best content to learn more, check out the episode page here.
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[00:03:53] - [First question] - One of her proudest moments early in her life
[00:05:18] - What she’s learned about originality and its role in the creative process
[00:07:24] - Advice for breaking out of a derivative impulse and finding your character
[00:09:27] - Going from a classically trained pianist to exploring modular synthesis
[00:13:47] - Performing on David Letterman
[00:17:55] - What the Buchla is and the sounds it can make
[00:23:03] - How much of playing a modular synth is improvisational versus pre-made
[00:24:36] - Ways she would design a creative system for other creatives
[00:27:38] - What her interface allows her to do and the mechanics of it
[00:29:07] - Describing what the core sound elements are that she manipulates
[00:32:30] - The role of women in music and how it’s evolved over time
[00:35:06] - What stands out from her mentorship with Ilse Bing
[00:38:16] - Later career creative freedom and what it unlocks for artists
[00:39:25] - Her thoughts on the creative process writ large and its components
[00:42:10] - Commercial sound design and working with Coca-Cola and Atari
[00:44:46] - Observations from a creative life that other artists could benefit from
[00:46:11] - Unifying factors across her best performances
[00:47:53] - What the future might hold for technology and music
[00:50:18] - Where to start when exploring her discography
[00:51:17] - The kindest thing that anyone has ever done for her