Susanna Hoffs of The Bangles is back with a brand-new solo album, Someday, and the busy mom and musician stops by ETonline to perform an acoustic version of her single Picture Me just for us – and explain why 15 years have gone by in between solo efforts!
"I had this shoebox full of cassettes of things I'd been working on … but I just kept back burner-ing it -- somewhere between juggling being a Bangle and a mom and a wife and just a person trying to get through the day -- I think that might be why I called it Someday," says the timeless, 53-year-old star.
The arrival of young guitarist Andrew Brassell in her life, a friend of Susanna's niece who "sort of had a guitar glued to him," provided an opportunity for Susanna to stop "washing dishes" in the kitchen and revisit the box o' songs she had put off recording for so long, not to mention create a bunch of new ones.
"[We] would just start singing in my living room and playing music all the time," she explains. "I would just hear these melodies in my head … So we sat down, and the first song we wrote was Picture Me, and it kind of just flowed from there. ... On this record I had the opportunity to kind of explore, using other instrumentation that might not have been the obvious choice for The Bangles -- we got to really dive into that 1967 kind of orchestration that was popular then."
A child of the '60s, Susanna drew inspiration from that decade for the breezy, infectious Someday, explaining, "I'm just always amazed at how emotional and melodic that music is, and I think that it's just a very special period of time when people weren't afraid to wear their heart on their sleeves. … That's when I fell in love with music, so I don't think you ever get over your first musical crush. That music was just unabashedly emotional, and that's kind of what I was going for with this."
In addition to her solo work (this is her third entry), Susanna is still an active member of The Bangles, who are a little more "under the radar" these days, but still playing festivals in Europe and Canada this month before Susanna tours solo to support her new disc. Looking back on the all-girl band's '80s heyday, does she wince a bit with all that big hair and over-the-top fashion?
"I do cringe, quite a bit – and YouTube doesn't help, because you cannot escape it; you cannot escape your past now," the Manic Monday and Eternal Flame singer says with a laugh. "You have to have a sense of humor about it. The fashion was sometimes just dreadful."
And that big hair? "Oh my god! I'm so glad I don't have to inhale hairspray anymore!" she smiles. "But those were the days, and you know, I look back fondly. … I think Walk Like an Egyptian has sort of been turned into a bit of an '80s anthem now, and even at the time it struck me as a rather quirky song. We were all completely confounded when that was picked as a single, because as much as we thought it was a cool song, we thought, 'You know what? This doesn't sound like anything on the radio.' But, that was always true for The Bangles. We lived a little bit outside the box of what was going on in the '80s."
Watch the video for Susanna's performance of Picture Me with Andrew Brassell -- as well as more of her ETonline interview. Someday is available now…