: Get Sue Cho’s track with ZXX and Paul Anthony for FREE by clicking HERE (right click and “save as”).
LessThan3: How do live vocals in a DJ set add to the overall experience of a show? Why do we not see more of these live collaborations (a la Armin Only)?
Sue: Live vocals, when done right, bring a completely different level of energy to a show. It’s a more intimate experience for the crowd because it’s a way for them to connect with the artist. It’s also a great way to hype up the audience and get them to engage. I think live vocals are rarely seen because this industry has been built around the DJ. Traditionally, clubs don’t showcase live vocalists because that’s more associated with concerts. Not too many people do live vocals, either. Also, financially speaking, it’s harder for promoters to spend the money on the travel costs to bring out both a DJ and a vocalist.
LessThan3: In mainstream pop and hip hop music, the singers and vocalists play center-stage, while the producers and DJs take a backseat, but in electronic music the roles are reversed. How do you explain this?
Sue: The pop industry is more about producing an icon that pushes the music, whereas the electronic scene is more about pushing good music that then produces an icon. Because of that reversed mentality, the producers and DJs become a part of the production of creating that idol in the pop industry. EDM is completely different; the recognition comes from consistently releasing solid tracks.
LessThan3: Tell us a little bit of the unknown struggles of the EDM vocalist in today’s world. What are your most daunting obstacles?
Sue: Currently, I’m struggling most with going from “that girl who sings on that track” to becoming recognized as an independent artist. I’m fortunate to have worked with many amazing and successful producers, but it’s easy to get lost in their shadows. I’m hoping the release of my first solo album will help me overcome that. There are also a lot of DJs who simply don’t like vocals over tracks. It’s really disheartening when someone requests a dub version of a song I did vocals for, but that’s the name of the game!
LessThan3: Can you give any aspiring new vocalists out there any advice on how to kick-start their careers?
Sue: Listen to as much music as you can in all genres, even outside of dance music. There is so much to learn and appreciate from all of it. Also, be more than a vocalist. Learn to write songs and be your own engineer. It doesn’t take more than a walk-in closet, a laptop and a USB mic to record yourself; that’s how I started out! Message different producers, because you’d be surprised at how approachable some of them are, even the big artists. You never know what opportunities may arise!
LessThan3: Who do you look up to the most in the music industry? If you could say anything you wanted to them, what would it be?
Hands down, Luciana
. She’s established such a unique style and her lyrics are oh-so-interesting.
LessThan3: Tell us about your inspiration behind Hello; we absolutely loved it and would love to know more.
Sue: I was addicted to this song for a while called My Heart Stops by fRew, Chris Arnott ft. Rosie. It’s such a simple song but so melodic, catchy and very well-produced. I was hitting a wall with all my hard electro songs so I wanted to switch it up and do something softer for a change. In terms of the lyrics, I was going through a very jaded and almost depressive time. I felt like I was meeting all these people, going out and having fun but not really connecting with any of them. It made me feel so isolated and alone. That’s pretty much what the song is about.
LessThan3: How many dance music vocalists write their own lyrics vs have someone else write them?
Sue: I think most dance music vocalists write their own songs. Our industry doesn’t have the luxury of having songwriters to write for us. I have heard of some producers writing the vocal parts, but that’s rare. I’ve written the majority of my songs, with the exception of a few where I re-sang vocals that were already written by another vocalist.
LessThan3: If you had LessThan3 minutes to live, what song would you listen to?
Sue: Under the Milky Way by Sia.
LessThan3: Describe your sound in LessThan3 words.
Sue: Sensual, meaningful.