Dazzling Sax Diva Suzanne 

Grzanna: An Award-Winning Maven 

of Music 

DECEMBER 5, 2019 · MUSICIANS · 13 MINS READ 

Authored by: Cindy Mich 

A brilliant saxophonist, sultry jazz singer and Grammy Award voting member, Suzanne Grzanna is a world-class artist who has traveled the world. The recent release of her CD, Daybreak, and her single, Spring Waltz, are just the latest accomplishments in a career full of high points. I was lucky enough to grab a few moments with Suzanne to discuss some of memorable moments and how she rose to become such a shining star! 

In doing my research, I discovered that your parents are both professional musicians. Did you feel as if your life path was in some ways already planned or pre-destined due to this fact? 

My parents love music and always encouraged me to practice my instruments. My career was not planned, but my parents were always hopeful that I would follow in their footsteps. I fell in love with performing music and that is how my passion has grown. I had the knowledge and training from my parents, but I made my own decision to pursue music as my career. 

Currently, you are both a jazz singer and saxophone player. However, you also have experience with the clarinet and the piano. How well versed are you at playing these 

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instrumental pieces? Further, will there be time in the future to strengthen your skills on these two musical tools? 

I practice the piano all the time. In fact, I recorded a Sonatina my father composed on the piano. I will be releasing it next year. As far as the clarinet, it is very similar to the saxophone so it is easy for me to pick it up when I want to play it. As there is only so much time in the day, I keep my saxophone and voice as the top priority. 

It must have been intensely exciting to hear your own compositions used within independent films. Tell your readers how you had been offered this opportunity, and moreover, share your personal feelings about the significance music has within a theatrical production. 

Yes, it is so exciting to hear music I composed in films. It brings a deeper insight into the film and music. I have been working many years to submit my music to different films. It is a wonderful feeling to finally get my compositions placed in them. In the last few years, my music has been in the film A Different Direction (Colleen Ann Brah – Director), Wild Honey (Francis Stokes – Director), and this year I composed a song on the new film Seaper Powers (Released Dec 2019). 

Staying along the same lines with the big screen, I see that you have done work as an actress. Talk about what motivated you to try movies after music, and what do you feel has been the role that really mirrors the real Suzanne? 

I have always loved acting. Performing music and playing different characters are very similar. In music, you use sound, lyrics, and instrumentation to create emotions. In acting, you use your voice and emotions to become the character. I will be in the upcoming film Western Conviction (Colleen Ann Brah – Director). It is in pre-production right now. I can’t wait! 

You are the head honcho over at Diva Records, and have been the big boss there for 

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twenty-six years. Explain why you felt the need to start your own label, and what is your largest accomplishment to date regarding this treasure? 

Twenty-six years ago was the beginning of the Indie Labels. Not many artists had CD’s at this time. It was very expensive to record and release an album, but it was my dream to continue my passion for music and have control over my music. I have a Music Degree and a Business Administration Degree, so it seemed like the perfect fit to start my own business. I think my biggest accomplishment is creating music and growing my business for all of these years. 

Rumor has it that during your down time, you can be found kickboxing. Forgive me for saying it, but you seem so very soft and strongly feminine. One may not imagine you doing such a physical sport. How did you end up indulging in such an interesting hobby? 

Early in my career, I got my black belt in Tae Kwando. I do not practice it anymore, but kickboxing is a way I relate to Martial Arts. I have a lot of fun working out and it helps me focus and feel good. I would recommend kickboxing to anyone. 

You are the only interviewee in this issue who has been fortunate enough to end up on the Grammy Awards ballot. My question to you on this is: for you, is the achievement already accomplished by the mere nomination, or is the win what would be more noteworthy for you? 

Well, it is always nice to win, but the journey makes who you are. : ) 

To date, you have released six CD’s with Daybreak being the most recent. Which of these stands out the most in your mind, and for what reason? Can you elaborate a bit on how each one differs from the next? 

It is hard for me to pick just one of my albums, since they are all different parts of my life. My original song 

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Simply Sunday has won the most awards to date, so I will go with that album. 

I started my recording career with The Cat’s Meow album which is one of my favorite songs. I recorded half of the album in New York and half in Milwaukee. I worked with such amazing musicians such as Dave Hazeltine, Gerald Cannon, Randy Baugher, to name a few. Because of the success of the album, Christopher Landowski, filmed The Cat’s Meow video which aired on television. I had a lot of original songs of my father’s and mine written for this CD. It was so nice hearing my compositions coming to life with this album. I did a lot of touring during this time. 

I recorded Fly Me To The Moon CD because I wanted to have some standards that people knew in addition to my original music. 

My Simply Sunday album was inspired by a trip I took to Maui. I just love Hawaii!! I have been known to watch golf, so in between some of the shots, I came up with a few songs. Most of this album is original music of mine or my father. 

My Santa Baby and Christmas Night were albums I recorded for Christmas. I composed both of the title songs. I love Christmas and wanted to put my spirit into the season. 

The Spring Waltz single was recorded Live at a Pre-Grammy Event. Alex Otey played piano and my father composed the song. I was very happy with my performance of the song and wanted to share it with everyone. 

My other single Wedding Day is very popular for weddings. I composed the song and it is my view on marriage. 

Daybreak was inspired by my father’s original composition. He is such an amazing composer. I wanted to feature his wonderful song Daybreak and get it out to the public. My parents have worked so hard to take 

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care of their family and did not have the opportunities I was given. I like to give back to them and feature my father’s music. The rest of the songs are favorite jazz standards that many love. 

When we look at your backstory as far as schooling, you attended both Wisconsin Lutheran Collage and Carroll University. I see you have earned a Bachelors Degree in Music, so my one question is: has most of what you learned in college been of large benefit to your musical occupation, or was there as equal of an education attained by actual performance and pure creation? 

I would say college and life experiences both helped me. I learned a lot in school and had time to practice my instruments. Having a Music Degree and Business Administration Degree gave me an advantage for running my own business. There are so many aspects to being a musician in today’s world. But, at the same time, one learns from life experiences. In fact, I am still learning all of the new platforms that have transpired over the years. (YouTube, Spotify etc.) 

You and I are both from the same hometown – Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Numerous local print publications, along with venues, have told your tale and hosted you. You then went on to accumulate attention from Billboard Magazine and American Pride Magazine, as well as performing at The Hollywood Bowl, Roxy Theater and many more avenues. Is it true what they say in that your home holds your heart most? Have you built a place for yourself professionally and personally in multiple states? Also, is it even a struggle any more to schedule gigs, as it would seem you are well wanted!! 

You are very kind to say that. : ) Of course, I am proud to say that Milwaukee is my home. It is such an amazing city. A best kept secret to the world. There are so many amazing musicians in Milwaukee, and I am proud to be a part of our music scene. Los Angeles is my other home. I just love being there. New York would be my next choice. 

Japan, Paris and Russia are three countries that have taken to playing your tunes. Is your following internationally as strong as in the states? Is there translating involved? 

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My following is growing internationally. In fact, I have a few new projects in the works for those countries. I have not needed translating yet... 

If anyone reading this interview would like to attend one of your events in the near future, where would they find you? 

They should join my mailing list and name their city to find out when I will be in their area for a concert. Live your life and love it! : ) 
For further information on Suzanne, visit her website: http://saxdiva.com/

Article_by_CP.jpg” - CP Chris Peppas

— Jazz Unlimited News

“Ms. Grzanna is a highly respected songwriter and traditional Jazz performer who combines the flair of a vanished era and the explosive tempo of contemporary entertainment.” “A talent who bends the glory and nostalgia of the past with contemporary and fresh breeze of today’s genre...in other words, an artist who brings to the table, solid traditional musical heritage and innovative modern style. Suzanne Grzanna fits the bill. She is so accomplished at so many levels; she is a composer, a singer, a saxophonist, a writer, a producer, and a pioneer.””
““Noteworthy Women...just plain ambitious and talented.” ... Suzanne Grzanna displays both melodic saxophone playing and a knack for making standards her own on “Fly me to the Moon” CD. Suzanne Grzanna debunks myths about female jazz musicians.””” - Steven Graybow

— Billboard Magazine

Ms. Grzanna bridges between the glorious days of Broadway, Hollywood, New Orleans, and the steamy fever of contemporary music. She is powerful, yet emanates warmth and depth. She is overwhelmingly creative, yet loyal to the majesty and traditional values of the great music of the golden era. This woman is a national treasure.” - Maximillien de Lafayette

— Entertainment Greats From The 1800's To The Present: Cinema, Stage, Music, Divas

“Grzanna is a talented and attractive performer who has focused her talents in the jazz world. Grzanna has a very distinct sound, a very beautiful voice. She puts a lot of energy into her sax playing and puts on a very interesting set.””” - Bob Comden

— L.A. Jazz Scene Paper

““Suzanne Grzanna is a quadruple threat! This amazing woman has a killer jazz voice, can set the room on fire with her smokin’ sax, writes her own music, produced the album, and is drop dead gorgeous.” “She effortlessly cruises through the most difficult passages.” “Suzanne Grzanna can do it all, and she does it all exceptionally well on othis superbly-­‐crafted holiday CD.””” - Carol Swanson

— Christmas Reviews

The Magnificent Diva!”

— International Herald Daily

““She can soothe, soar or wail. Grzanna’s a talent who knows where she’s going and how to get there.””” - Gordan Spencer

— Milwaukee Magazine

One of the hottest divas in the business.”

— Showbiz Time Magazine