Berklee Today: Susan Tedeschi '91

Mark Small
September 23, 2000
Susan Tedeschi '91
Photo provided by the artist

Onstage and on recordings, Susan Tedeschi is an impassioned blues belter chronicling the vicissitudes of life in her own words and those of blues legends like Big Mama Thornton, Junior Wells, or Elmore James. In conversation, though, you could mistake her for the blonde-haired, blue-eyed girl next door. She is warm and good-humored and speaks with a voice that is surprisingly soft and high. After you hear her live show, it is apparent that her lithe voice is capable of a very wide range of expression. Hers is a multifaceted talent, and the complete package—soulful voice, nimble guitar work, and solid songwriting skills—is attracting an ever-expanding audience of plain folk as well as superstars.

Though some music journalists have compared her to Bonnie Raitt or Janis Joplin, Tedeschi is no knock-off. While she freely admits to loving the contributions of Joplin and Raitt, Tedeschi has drunk from the source and has sunk her roots deeply into blues and gospel soil. She speaks in detail about the music and lives of the blues masters and keeps a large stash of their CDs on her tour bus.

Read an interview with Susan Tedeschi '91 in Berklee Today.