Susan Hisey’s “Coma”

If you were to write an intro for “Coma” before it played on the radio, what would you want listeners to know about the song?

This is a song about what it’s like to live with anxiety, and to come out of a dark time with anxiety, realizing all of the changes that have occurred during that time. When struggling with anxiety, sometimes you’re just trying to make it through the day one minute at a time, and you’re not present with many changes in the world. It’s more like you’re on pause, or like you’re living in a “Coma” that whole time. So when coming out it can be eye opening and hard to process the changes.

6 Things You Don’t Know About Me:

Elyria, OH native. What is one of your fondest childhood family musical memories?

Singing Christmas carols in harmony with my family at our Thanksgiving gathering every year. Yes, at Thanksgiving.

Musical idols include Patty Griffin, Linda Ronstadt, Faith Hill, Kelly Clarkson, and Sara Bareilles. How have these artists influenced the music you create?

I’ve always loved singing these artists’ songs, so I tend to approach my vocals in similar ways they do. Especially with Patty and Linda, my vocals just lock into a good place when singing their songs. I love covering their music, and all these artists’ music. When I’m writing, I take influence from each, such as the vocal stylings or lyric-focused songs from Patty and the pretty melodies from Sara. During college, I realized Linda’s music suited me so well vocally, so I worked on a few of her songs which helped me evolve as a vocalist.

How have you been able to incorporate what you learned as a Commercial Music major at Belmont University into the business side of your career?

What I learned at Belmont has helped me with simple things, such as copyrighting my songs, or helpful PR tools (I was also a PR minor). But I also gained experience in the music industry as an intern, and a volunteer at industry events, so I was able to learn how the industry works, know what to expect and how to simply carry myself in that world.

Your proudest atypical accomplishment is _____?

Getting a 251 game in bowling!! I was in bowling club in high school and never got above a 160. Then I was bowling at a work party a few years ago and nonchalantly got a 251. It was a proud moment.

One of your main goals is to help people. You mentor teen moms through the Young Lives organization and are a spokesperson for mental health issues. Can you share some resources you’ve found helpful when dealing with anxiety?

What I can’t recommend enough for someone struggling is finding a therapist, the right therapist for you. I also find so much grounding, peace, and healthy processing when doing yoga. Specifically Yoga with Adriene. Her YouTube videos are free and she is amazing. Many people aren’t comfortable trying medication for anxiety or depression, and GeneSight can help you find the medication that will work for you, rather than having to go through trial and error with multiple medications. I was weary of potentially putting my body through a lot to find medication I was already nervous about starting to take, so I used GeneSight. It is a great way to find the medication that will work for your body via a spit swab test. Meditation has been something I utilize from time to time, particularly with Headspace. They talk you through the meditation for guidance, and they have meditation for different areas of focus you are trying to improve on in your life. They even have an SOS meditation for when your anxiety is at a high and you need a few minutes of support. I also personally listen to Christian music that reminds me of a higher power that is in control, but any music that brings a sense of calm is always good to have! For me, therapy, prayer, friends, and yoga have kept me going in times of heightened anxiety or panic attacks.

Your favorite season is _____ because _____?

Fall because of the coziness it seems to always bring. I think it’s an automatic nostalgic happening now, but every fall, I get a rush of joy! I get excited to see the leaves change and drink apple cider…I love apple cider.

Can you share 12 songs that have influenced your life and career?

Patty Griffin “Heavenly Day”

The first Patty song I loved. She has remained a large music influence in my life.

Linda Ronstadt “You’re No Good”

This was the first Linda song I covered in college, and it made my vocal coach and I realize I should be singing more of Linda because her music and vocal approach to songs suit me so well.

Sara Bareilles Her entire first album.

I fell in love with her soulful pop style. I remember feeling like she embodied the style I had imagined for myself.

Colbie Caillat “Magic”

I sang this as one of my audition songs for Belmont. I also found Colbie on MySpace before she made it big in high school, so her music was really special to me at that time.

Caitlyn Smith “Tacoma”

The first time I heard this song I was sold on Caitlyn Smith. She’s been my main songwriting muse since.

Joni Mitchell “River”

While in college I sang this in class during a time I was experiencing a lot of change and sadness with my parent’s selling my childhood home and I just cried my eyes out after singing it. I also ended up singing it in my senior recital.

Susan Tedeschi “Alone”

After singing this in class, my classmates and myself were like this is what you need to be singing. Music with soul.

Maren Morris “My Church”

I loved her style after hearing this song for the first time, and related with her style so much.

Patsy Cline “Walkin’ After Midnight”

First song I learned on guitar. I love Patsy’s music!

Matt Maher “Lord, I Need You”

I would sing this during panic attacks. Just singing out the Lord’s name as comfort and as a prayer.

Frank Wildhorn with Jekyll & Hyde the Musical “A New Life”

I sang this for college musical theater programs before I found the Commercial Music program I had envisioned at Belmont. It felt so fitting and emotional as a high school senior singing about “A New Life.”

Hillsong Worship “Who You Say I Am”

When having doubts about who God is, I would be so moved when leading this in worship at church because it would be me stating “I’m a child of God, yes I am,” pushing away all of the doubts and question. Standing firm in my faith.

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