Singer-songwriter Bruce Sudano recently released his new single/music video, “Two Bleeding Hearts,” with Valerie Simpson, a song about moving on from the pain of a lovers’ quarrel. The track is from his upcoming album, Talkin’ Ugly Truth, Tellin’ Pretty Lies, slated for release in September.
In a career spanning six decades, Sudano has made a name for himself with solo projects and bands such as Brooklyn Dreams and Alive N Kickin’. He’s also written songs for stars like Michael Jackson, Dolly Parton, Reba McEntire, and his late wife, disco superstar Donna Summer.
Originally from Brooklyn, at age 74, his songs still speak to all generations, especially sung in his timeless gravelly voice. Hall of Fame singer-songwriter Valerie Simpson was born on the other end of the Big Apple, in the Bronx. Showing early promise as a songwriter, her career took off when she met her late husband, Nickolas Ashford, and they formed Ashford & Simpson. While performing worldwide, the duo also penned tunes for artists like Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, and Marvin Gaye.
Together, Sudano and Simpson combine their insights from illustrious careers to create masterpieces of touching and sophisticated songs.
The music video for “Two Bleeding Hearts” features a classic and tasteful performance by the power duo. Sharing the spotlight, we encounter a pair performing together in an intimate space. Seemingly at one with each other and their instruments, this video is both expressive and poignant.
CelebMix spoke with Bruce Sudano to find out more about the inspiration for “Two Bleeding Hearts,” and how he got started in music.
What inspired your new single/music video, “Two Bleeding Hearts?”
It was inspired by personal experience. We all live with the subtle underlying tensions of life and when you least expect it, your nerves can fray, and you find yourself in the middle of a storm. When a simple conversation with someone you love transitions into a major disagreement, then anger and screaming, and ultimately separation to different sides of the house. Here, the two people are left with their own emotions, seething, trying to determine who will make the first move toward reconciliation and forgiveness.
Who directed the video and where was it shot?
The video was directed by the tastefully talented Becky Yee. It was shot in New York on the west side of Manhattan, at an intimate restaurant and music venue called the Sugar Bar.
Walk us through your mindset as you entered the studio to record the song.
My mindset was to create a sonic landscape that was uncomplicated and personal, reflecting both the love and tension the couple in question we’re experiencing, both the hurt and the love.
How did you get started in music? What’s the backstory there?
From an early age, I wanted to be a songwriter and a musician. When I became a teenager, I put a band together. We began by playing cover songs at dances, parties, and ultimately clubs. At the same time, I was writing original material in the hopes of getting a record deal or having someone record one of my songs. It’s an all-too-common story, but I was persistent and got lucky along the way.
Where are you from?
I was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York.
Did your hometown impact your sound?
Brooklyn is a melting pot of diversity – all kinds of people, from all walks of life and ethnicities. There is an earthy humanity, coupled with an urgency filtered through the sophistication of street smarts. It’s got an edge, but at the same time a strong sense of family and community.
All of this, in very subtle ways, contributed to the sound of my music, as well as my lyrical point of view.
Are there any recording techniques you like to use in the studio?
I’m really not much of a studio technician. I leave the technical side of things to the talented people I work with. My studio technique relies on my heart, my ears, and my soul. Am I communicating the emotion and intent of the song as it relates to the sound that’s being created? That’s always my question: can you feel it?
How do you keep your sound consistent on stage?
Because I usually tour solo these days or with another guitarist, I’m not really trying to sonically re-create the sound of the record.
But since my records are generally based around the song, my voice, and guitar, the energy that I bring to a live performance generally compensates for the additional instrumentation that’s on the record.
The same feeling and intention remain.
Which artists in your opinion are killing it right now?
I’m most intrigued by singer-songwriters so just to drop a couple of names, I like John Moorehead; another is William Prince; there’s a girl named Madison Cunningham that I think is pretty amazing. Obviously, on the pop side of things, there’s Ed Sheeran and Taylor Swift. I love Willie Nelson, and he continues to frequently put out strong new material.
What’s your definition of success?
Well, there’s financial success and then there’s personal creative success. I’ve had a long career and over the course of time, I’ve been lucky enough to be involved in some songs that became big hits and have rewarded me financially. On the other hand, I am still in the personal wrestling match of trying to improve and refine what I do as a songwriter, singer, and performer. It’s an ongoing and constant challenge that keeps me inspired and engaged. Somedays I feel like I’m winning, others not so much, but that’s the nature of the beast and it’s what keeps me going.
What can your fans expect over the next six months? New material? Music videos? Live gigs?
Well, I’m currently in the middle of a UK tour in support of The Zombies and I’m sure before the end of the year I’ll have some other US dates. My next album, which is called Talkin’ Ugly Truth, Tellin’ Pretty Lies, is almost finished and I’ve already released a couple of songs in advance of its release. The first one being ‘Make the World Go Away,’ and the current single, ‘Two Bleeding Hearts,’ with Valerie Simpson. Both songs have videos that are killing it on YouTube. A third single and video will be released over the summer in advance of the album which will drop in September.