Everybody's News - Cincinnati, Ohio
Home Grown April 5, 1996
Singing bikinigrams wasn't exactly the ideal form of vocal exposure Susan Didrichsen
planned. While attending Ohio University, the native Cincinnatian routinely
plugged herself into the Athens, Ohio open-mike circuit, spoiled by the utopia
of performing her own music. But upon relocating to New York after graduation,
Didrichsen learned to master certain necessary methods of financing a music
career, which progressed from bikinigrams to performing jazz standards at private
Didrichsen's payoff finally came in the form of her first independently-released
CD, Soulsex, a collection of steamy, R&B centered original rock songs full
of aching, sexually powerful messages. Didrichsen's delivery is a potent white
woman's wailing, like Joplin or Etheridge, a trait that she gratefully credits
t o her years spent doing cover songs.
"When I came to New York, I had not a clue what I was doing and I didn't
really want to do cover music because like a lot of people, I just wanted to
do my own music, I wanted to do original stuff. Then I figured out that the
way you make money in New York City is, you do cover material," she says
of her resignation. "So once I started doing cover music, I actually developed
my style a lot; my style changed. I did a lot of black Top 40. I did a lot of
soul music. And I started being influenced by people like Gladys Knight and
Tina Turner and it changed my voice. And the voice you hear on the album now
is really the result of having done a lot of soulful music."
Soulsex boasts a plump list of musicians - both friends and studio players
- which gives many of the tracks the feel of a religious revival meeting. She
repetitively refers to the "vision" of the album, a soulful style
that she says might not be particularly commercially appealing to current radio,
but one that gets her message across.
"The reason doing the music that I put on this album was so important
to me and the reason I called it Soulsex is because I really believe that sex
and spirituality go together. And I think it's one of the number one problems
in the world, that religion and politics try to divide those things....The very
last song on the album, 'Time To Be A Woman', is really all about that, where
I say, some people may say you're hot or cold, or black or white. This is the
way we tend to polarize women. It's kind of a different aspect of the virgin/whore
complex. You're either this or you're that. You're a good girl or you're a bad
girl. What about all the stuff in between? I can be really intelligent and a
good business person and a really good, moral person and I can also love sex.
And maybe even be drawn to the darker sides of sex, as long as I take responsibility
for it. I find that a lot of people really respond to women who are strong and
in command of their sexuality."