Suzanne Elizabeth Ungerleider, who writes and performs under the name Oh Susanna, is an American-Canadian alternative country singer-songwriter. Born in Northampton, Massachusetts but raised in Vancouver, British Columbia, she is currently based in Toronto.
Ungerleider chose to perform under the name Oh Susanna rather than her given name as a means of keeping her private and professional lives separate. She initially wanted to be a somewhat theatrical performer. "I had this notion, okay I'm going to try and wear these vintage clothes and I play this old Stella guitar, which is like this mail order guitar that blues guys used to play," said Ungerleider. She released her first independent recording, a seven-song EP, in 1997. At approximately this time, she was inspired to relocate to Toronto after attending Blue Rodeo's Stardust Picnic festival. In 1999, she released her full-length debut, Johnstown, and toured Canada and the United States with fellow musicians Veda Hille and Kinnie Starr, in what they dubbed the "Scrappy Bitches Tour".
She has since released four more albums, Sleepy Little Sailor (2001), Oh Susanna (2003), Short Stories (2007), and Soon the Birds (2011). Her recordings have featured guest musicians Luke Doucet, Justin Rutledge, Burke Carroll, Bazil Donovan and Jim Cuddy of Blue Rodeo, Ruth Moody of The Wailin' Jennys, and members of Weeping Tile.
Of the inspiration for her songs, Ungerleider has said "A lot of that stuff comes from other people who have told me things. Some of it's totally made up". She also says that her Western Canadian upbringing has inspired some of her lyrics.
In 2012, Ungerleider announced that she intended to obtain Canadian citizenship. She also announced plans to begin recording a new album entitled Namedropper. Those plans were sidetracked in 2013 when Suzie was diagnosed with breast cancer. However, she has undergone treatment for that, and released Namedropper on October 7, 2014.
Ungerleider lives near Toronto's High Park with husband/drummer Cam Giroux and their five-year-old son. Her father, Charles, is a professor at Vancouver's University of British Columbia.
Text from this biography licensed under creative commons license