Culture / Entertainment

Dallas’ Most Intriguing Emerging Music Star — This is Sudie’s World

BY // 07.11.17

I am in a sprawling warehouse with bare concrete floors and no air conditioning. It’s completely empty except for about 12 people dressed head-to-toe in white, and completely dark except for a glowing neon cube. This isn’t a dream, though it feels like one: This is the set of Sudie’s latest music video.

Since releasing her self-titled debut EP in 2015, the 25-year-old singer and producer has become one of the most avant garde and intriguing forces in Dallas’ music scene. Her voice is powerful, her music is strange and stirring. It doesn’t exactly fit into any genre, but if it must fall into one, it would be experimental.

The same word could be used to describe Sudie’s writing process. She often composes songs in sudden furies of inspiration, sometimes creating new pieces on the spot in concert.

It’s therapeutic as much as it is spontaneous. Take “Heart Attack” for example, a song which Sudie wrote in the middle of the night after waking up in a panic attack – and which she says provokes mixed reactions.

“I really know that my music isn’t for everybody, and it doesn’t need to be, you know. It’s for me. I make it because I need to,” she says.

A sneak peek at Sudie’s latest music video for “Spill.” Photography by Cal Quinn.

A week after visiting the set of Sudie’s neon dream, I am sitting in the living room of her cozy Dallas apartment watching her flip through a stack of vinyls.

Holiday Gifting

  • Oscar De La Renta - Earrings
  • Casa di Lino
  • Bond No 9 - Perfume
  • Mariquite Masterson
  • Mariquite Masterson
  • Loeffler Randall - Clutch
  • Cle Du Peau - Nail Polish
  • Bond No 9 - Candle
  • Loeffler Randall - Shoes
  • Cle Du Peau - Lip Gloss
  • Oscar De La Renta - Clutch
  • Nocturne Studio

“I’m in a Steely Dan mood, does that sound okay?”

She is beaming with her signature cheery disposition, though she says she’s exhausted from a long day working at Oak Cliff bookstore bar Wild Detectives, one of the six jobs she is currently juggling. Making music, of course, is one of them. She has a few projects in the works, most importantly her first full length album, which she expects to release next year.

Her apartment is as charming and colorful as she is. Painted Japanese fans hang on the wall next to a framed print of the artwork from “Sudie.” A clear glass lamp filled with paper flowers sits above the turntable in the corner, now humming Steely Dan. A remarkably small and cute black cat darts across the room and perches atop a piano by the front door. Sudie has had the piano for all her life. She wrote her first song on it at the age of four.

“It was a horrible song, although I still remember it,” she says.

She always wanted to be a singer, to perform. Her parents wanted her to be a pop star, but she never felt that was the right fit. As she entered her teenage years, she found an artist who showed her another path to success.

“Bjork was the artist that opened my mind to what it was to be creative on a successful level but not have to look a certain way or act a certain way or be what the general public wants you to be.”  

From there, Sudie continued to broaden her musical horizons. She joined musical theater and the jazz band at school. She started listening to Billie Holliday, and Ella Fitzgerald (still her all-time favorite), intertwined with indie bands like Metric and Beirut.

“And then I moved to Dubai,” she adds casually. “I went to high school there.”

Her time in Dubai still plays a part in her unique sound.

“I never realized that that part of my life was influencing me and the music that I was making. I realize now that I started producing that that was a huge influence.”

Sudie’s Dallas Adventure

Sudie came to Dallas to study Opera at Southern Methodist University, but she never intended to pursue a career in the field. During college, she had a short stint singing in a band. She tried writing songs for friends who made music, but it wasn’t working for her. Then she saw her friend and fellow Dallas musician Rat Rios writing and producing her own music.

“Being able to have somebody that I loved so much and watch them, a powerful woman figure, it made me really be like ‘F*** this, I don’t have to depend on anybody.’ So I started producing on my own and everything,” Sudie says.

She released her first EP, Sudie, in 2015, which she calls “pretty experimental and all over the place.” She followed up with Prism in 2016, gaining critical recognition. Now, she’s working on two more EPs to release before the year’s end.

The new music video is for a reimagined version of the song “Spill” from her first EP. Though she’s made a lot of videos, this is the first to have a full production crew on board.

“It was so amazing,” she says. “I was totally flabbergasted by the amount of involvement and excitement from everybody that was working on the video.”

Sudie has written, directed, or co-directed most of her previous music videos, but director Andrew Shepherd took the wheel on this one. 

“I wrote that song in 2010, maybe 2011…I wrote it as a poem in about, maybe less than ten minutes.”

“Spill” is about Sudie and her college-era boyfriend. Like her music, the singer is emotionally candid.

“The first person that you fall in love with, everything is so magnified… But also if you’re a creative person it’s always going to be that way,” she laughs. “I always knew that I wasn’t really fully happy with him… it’s about that, that constant back and forth you have when you’re really in deep with somebody but you know that they’re not good for you.”

It is one of three songs she’s remaking from Sudie that will come out this summer. With two years of growth since releasing her debut EP, she says the new renditions will be totally different.

Moving forward while looking back, Sudie has finally found her own sound. The remade songs will give you a taste of that, but she knows her first full album will bring it to fruition.

“I just want to sound like me,” she says. “Everything that I’ve been making so far is me, but different pieces of me. I want it to sound like a whole version of me. An omnipresent Sudie.”

Update, October 25, 2017: Watch Sudie’s music video for Spill II below. 

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