“I still got stars in my eyes, I’m just looking at a different part of the sky.”
In “Sometimes Your Dreams Find You,” Suzie Brown sings about reimagining your life’s path, and leaning into the unexpected turns. It’s a vivid, hopeful song, driven by Brown’s stirring voice that has been compared to Patsy Cline and Patty Griffin.
“Sometimes you don’t know what’s going to make you happy, you just have to be open to change and open to adjusting your dreams,” says Brown about what inspired that song, the title track of her newest album, due May 12. “What you think you will want at a certain time isn’t necessarily what you end up wanting later.”
No one understands this more deeply than the Nashville-based singer-songwriter, who is also an Advanced Heart Failure/Heart Transplant cardiologist at Vanderbilt University Medical Center–a job that sees her treating patients in urgent circumstances for two weeks at a time before devoting the next two weeks to songwriting and performing.
It’s a perfect balance that she’s found after years of working hard for success in the medical field, only to discover a relentless pull towards music that has now yielded five albums, a succession of songwriting awards, and featured placement of her music at retailers like Starbucks and the Gap. It also brought an invitation to TEDMED in 2015, where she debuted “Sometimes Your Dreams Find You” and spoke about unearthing a vulnerability through music that makes her a better doctor. That talk has led Brown to sing and speak at conferences around the country to help physicians approach their work differently.
Montreal-born and Boston-raised, Brown wrote her first song while in a research fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania and launched her musical career in Philadelphia. In 2014 she moved to Nashville, where along with her work at Vanderbilt, she found a community of co-writers and collaborators that pushed her writing even further. She has since released Our Album Doesn’t Like You Either with her husband musician Scot Sax, and had two daughters, making her pursuit of balance and reflection all that much more important.
Sometimes Your Dreams Find You was born in that space of uncertain transition followed by confident calm.
“I was in a creative rut because I hadn’t been writing a lot while I was pregnant with my second baby and chasing around a toddler,” says Brown. “I was having trouble bringing myself to book co-writes because I was feeling so out of practice, and being in Nashville I felt a lot of pressure to be a superstar in every writing session. The more time went by, the more out of practice I felt and the more hesitant I got to write and it started a negative creative spiral.”