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Susan Hickman: “Don’t try to do everything yourself!”

Don’t try to do everything yourself! You will end up frustrated and exhausted! (Preaching to the choir here) Delegate, find a college student interested in the arts and music business to intern for you. It will free you up from those time-consuming tasks and give you more creative time! Talk to your super fans and […]

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Don’t try to do everything yourself! You will end up frustrated and exhausted! (Preaching to the choir here) Delegate, find a college student interested in the arts and music business to intern for you. It will free you up from those time-consuming tasks and give you more creative time! Talk to your super fans and ask them to do little things like post on social media and share content to your fan groups! It really helps and they are excited to help you grow!


As a part of our series about rising music stars, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Susan Hickman.

Determination and passion paint the walls of country artist Susan Hickman‘s life, causing fans to recognize these vibrant traits undeniably inspire the way she crafts her music. While these are characteristics most acquire as they mature, they seem to be inherent in Hickman’s ethereal essence. At only the age of five she began playing piano and added violin lessons as well a few short years later. As if two instruments wasn’t enough for a young Hickman to handle, at the age of twenty-one, she began teaching herself to play guitar in the living room of her family home in Atascocita, Texas. Hickman finds a unique way to connect her own voice with the instruments she surrounds herself with and has the ability to create melodies which are very much “Louder Than Words”.

At only 12 with no previous experience other than playing and singing in church, Hickman scoured the Yellow Pages for every talent agency in the Houston area and then went on to travel across the country to pursue her dreams. Upon recollecting her journey the first few years Hickman is quick to refer to her mother as a saint from the long business trips to sitting at her shows in the honky-tonks during the early hours of the morning.

In 2010, Susan was named CMA Close Up Who New To Watch In 2010 and has mastered the art of live performances. Hickman’s energy, can-do attitude, and not to mention her music has allowed her to captivate audiences with various large scale acts such as Miranda Lambert, Jo Dee Messina, Shenandoah, Dean Dillon, Robert Earl Keen & Daryle Singletary. While 2010 was a pivotal year for Hickman it also proved to be a difficult one as well, she relied heavily upon her determination and positive attitude. Because she was playing guitar and singing nearly 10 hours a day between rehearsals and shows, Hickman was left having to get two surgeries. But if you’ve learned one thing about this performance powerhouse, it’s that nothing will stop her mind from taking her where she needs to go, not even her own body. Her injuries did not stop her from developing quite a following in the U.S. and Europe. Susan has played through her pain and entertained audiences at Nashville’s renowned CMA Music Festival and even at France’s 23rd Annual Country Rendez-Vous Festival. Not to mention winning Texas CMA Female Vocalist of The Year 2015.

Her last two albums, self-titled release Susan Hickman & Louder than Words Vol 1 were both critically acclaimed and received attention from various high-level outlets from Country Weekly to Dreamwest. Regarding her single Hell Still Ain’t Frozen Over, Music Row Magazine had this to say —

“She’s quite a vocalist, with a delivery as sure and true as an arrow. The throaty breaks in her performance are perfect for the heartache in this finely crafted power ballad. The production builds splendidly in the choruses. Excellent work all around. Well worth your spins and your support.”-Robert K Oermann, Music Row Magazine

As Hickman reflects on her gypsy lifestyle she shares she has done a lot of soul searching. She has taken time to discover herself as a person and then as an artist, though she cleverly mentions they often fight with one another. Only in her thirties, Hickman seems wise beyond her years and has a bright career ahead of her. She is a strong role model for women everywhere, showing them anything is possible when you live out your story with a strong will and a big heart.https://content.thriveglobal.com/media/780630b9b11723fb28b2e4dfaec84087


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?

Absolutely! Thanks for reaching out!!

I grew up in Houston Tx, with my Mom & Dad and younger sister. My parents made the decision to homeschool my sis and me, which turned out to be extremely convenient due to traveling for music later on. I started playing piano at age 5, singing in church at age 6, started violin at 13.

My mom and I were always singing, she taught me how to sing harmony, singing hymns while waiting on my dad to get home from the railroad. I’ve literally not known a time where I wasn’t extremely aware of who was singing on the radio or the tv, if I didn’t know, it wasn’t long before I figured it out.

In the very early ’90s, I figured out who The Judds, Reba, Dolly, Garth, Vince Gill, Alan Jackson, Clint Black were and I was completely in love with music. We grew up listening to country and Christian music on the radio, my father was a railroad man that was born in the ’40s so his musical taste was classic and southern rock and some folk-type artists and I gravitated to the unique sounds of Stevie Nicks, Linda Ronstadt and the storytelling style of Bob Dylan.

My Mother was a late 50’s baby from Wyoming so she was simple in the fact that oldies styles like The Supremes, Aretha Franklin and Etta James were her jam and eventually became mine as well.

Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?

I have always been in love with the idea of creating and performing music. I used to write little songs for my sister when we were little and sing them to her while mom was cleaning the house. I think specifically, a huge first influence on me was Garth Brooks. I thought the way he performed and entertained stadiums of all ages was incredible and very inspiring. I used to sit and watch his concerts and just hold my sister’s guitar and pray I could touch people through music like that one day. Dolly Parton is another one, I think she is such an incredible business woman and a fantastic role model for women! I think I sang Hard Candy Christmas into my little tape recorder every year at least a thousand times! My poor parents haha!

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

Well, I remember at about 12 years old, I cold-called about a dozen talent agencies out of the phone book and gave the list to my mother and said “Mom this is what we are doing this week” It turned out to be a disaster and a lot of wasted money, but it was experience and it started the path to getting a start going. We went to the library and read every book on music business we could find. Yes, the music business has changed tremendously since then, always learning and always growing.

We are very interested in diversity in the entertainment industry. Can you share three reasons with our readers about why you think it’s important to have diversity represented in film and television? How can that potentially affect our culture?

Diversity in any industry is extremely important in my opinion, it would be so boring to see/hear the same old thing all the time. When you have diversity it opens up minds to experience things they didn’t even know they liked. It gives everyone the opportunity to share their gifts with the world! In a society that is basically a melting pot for different ideas nowadays, diversity in music is no different, it’s key to set your voice apart and be uniquely YOU! No one wants another sound alike!

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?

Don’t try to do everything yourself! You will end up frustrated and exhausted! (Preaching to the choir here) Delegate, find a college student interested in the arts and music business to intern for you. It will free you up from those time-consuming tasks and give you more creative time! Talk to your super fans and ask them to do little things like post on social media and share content to your fan groups! It really helps and they are excited to help you grow!

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I don’t know just yet how I’m going to do it, but I want to create a platform or movement that connects great artists to the public. Like on a grand scale. I know some of the most incredible artists and they should be way farther along in their careers than they are. I know everyone has a path and a timeline to reach their own goals but I do believe we all need to do our part in sharing our favorite musician’s work so it can be heard.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

I believe no one gets anywhere in life all alone, I have had support from my family and a few close friends along the way. I am thankful for my parents that funded my 1st record when I was 14 years old. I am so grateful for my dear friend Dick that helped fund my music videos last year. My incredible band that I never have to worry about, they are perfect! I am also thankful for the lack of support and all the no’s I have heard over the years. It always makes me work harder for what I want. Because I truly believe you can do anything you set your mind to!

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

Well, there is a popular saying “Good things happen to those who wait” I have always said “Good things happen to those who work hard and make things happen” I will always work hard for myself. I don’t ever want to look back and wonder why I didn’t get to the place I wanted to be in my career due to lack of perseverance

How can our readers follow you online?

www.susanhickman.com

www.facebook.com/susanlynnettehickman

www.instagram/susanhickmanmusic

This was very meaningful, thank you so much! We wish you continued success!

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