INTERVIEW: Suitcase Souls

Hey Suitcase Souls! So excited to be chatting with you! How did you come up with the duo name “Suitcase Souls”?

SS: The name of our band, “Suitcase Souls,” comes from the idea that people, all of us, are on a journey. We are sojourners through life just trying to make it to different destinations of peace and love along the way. Kyle came up with the band name years before the band actually started and long before he even knew Marci. He was sweeping the floor of a small café in Memphis getting ready to close when he was thinking about the relatively short time we spend in each season of life. Even when things seem permanent- the job we’ve always wanted, a great home in which to live–or even more painful lasting circumstances–we can always count on eventually putting all of our belongings, memories, and experiences back into the proverbial suitcase and traveling on to our next destination.

Can you tell us a little something about yourself?

SS: Yes, we are married! We get that question a lot, and our relationship is often a source of inspiration for our songwriting. We are passionate about helping our listeners believe that love is an adventure worth fighting for.

What inspired you to pursue music?

SS: We were both inspired to pursue music at a young age. Growing up in church we each had a safe space to sing and play instruments regularly, as well as supportive families who noticed our interest in music and placed us in voice lessons and guitar lessons. Marci grew up singing along in the car to Backstreet Boys, Rebecca St. James, and Britney Spears, and later pursued her music education further by studying classical singing as well modern songwriting and performance in college. Kyle grew up as a pastor’s kid, or “PK,” and learned a few chords on guitar from his dad at the age of 12. He was inspired by artists like Switchfoot, Relient K and Skillet, artists who managed to write meaningful lyrics full of their own convictions while reaching a mainstream audience. Ever since picking up a guitar he began writing songs, and later studied songwriting and vocal performance in college where he and Marci met, leading them to eventually form Suitcase Souls.

How would you describe your musical style? 

SS: We would describe our style as Americana/Folk meets modern Adult Contemporary/Pop. The storytelling styles of Folk and Americana music have allowed great artists of the past such as, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, and Fleetwood Mac to take stories of the people and elevate them to a mainstream, consumable format by recording them with pop instrumentation and production of their respective eras. Our aim is to use primarily acoustic instrumentation with pop production and songwriting to be the next great American husband-and-wife duo.

What artists do you look up to right now?

SS: Some artists that we look up to right now are Drew Holcomb & The Neighbors, JOHNNYSWIM, The Civil Wars, Colony House, Lauren Daigle, Brandi Carlisle, Kacey Musgraves, and Chris Stapleton. One thing that we admire about all these artists is a profound understanding of their own personal brand as well as a vision that transcends their music.

What would you say is your most braggable moment?

SS: One braggable moment we have is that we were recently contestants on American Idol season 3 on ABC!

What has been the greatest lesson you have learned from a mistake?

SS: One thing we learned from being on American Idol is that, often, artists only have one chance to make an impression on a brand new listener. Though we are proud of our performance, we feel we could’ve progressed further on the show if we had brought out the “power house” moment of our songs and our voices a little bit sooner. We are going to take this lesson into our future songwriting, recording, and performances knowing that each chance to bring our music to new ears is one we should cherish and never take for granted.

Why do you think social media is so important for artists today?

SS: We feel that since the emerging of streaming and the decline of music sales, the “New Music Industry” necessitates the adaptation of modern artists away from considering themselves merely musicians and towards the idea of considering themselves digital brands/content creators. We believe that our primary goal as artists is to create connections with our fans. This may include the creation of music recordings but it is far from limited to audio-based content. The reason our fans ever engage with our content is about them, not us. We exist to improve the lives, even just for a moment, of those who engage with our videos, our online community groups, and our music. Therefore, social media is absolutely essential to the modern music artist. Most people will not discover Suitcase Souls based on our music recordings. Rather, they will choose to listen to our music only after they have discovered us on some other platform such as IG, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, etc. so we make it a priority to publish content every day, even if it is often unrelated to our original music recordings.

How has this whole music career experience been?

SS: We have each been pursuing music careers individually and collectively for almost ten years. During that time, we have been in multiple bands, played in smokey bars and restaurants to half-listening, mostly-drunk audiences, written hundreds of songs, as well as had the time of our lives playing our music to cheering fans all over the world. Our music career, though it has spanned several years, feels like it’s just beginning. We feel that the knowledge we have gained from our previous experiences, especially our mistakes, has prepared us for the most profitable years of our music career ever. We now see that true connections made with a relatively small, engaged fan base, can lead to lifelong, loyal customers that pay our bills and fuel our future creative endeavors.

Do you have any advice for aspiring music artists?

SS: Take your time- don’t rush. Yes, write as much music as you can, practice your instrument, and perfect your vocals by singing at every opportunity that comes along. But when it comes to recording music, try to reign in your excitement long enough to get a finished, polished song ready before you ever publish it. You only have one shot at releasing your first single, and though your future releases will inevitably be more mature, you still have the opportunity to release music that you are proud of for years to come. Also, just keep going! You can do it. Your experiences stack on top of each other and nothing is wasted.

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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