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BEHIND THE SCENES: Interview with Susan Calloway

10 Oct 2010

Susan Calloway

The latest issue of the Distant Worlds newsletter is hitting in-boxes! Contained within is an interview with artist Susan Calloway, who performs the vocal track “Answers” for Final Fantasy XIV.

In the interview, Susan talks about how they recorded the track and how Nobuo Uematsu was able to be present at the session via Skype. You can read the full interview here or after the jump.

Our reporter in the field, Claudia Lasareff-Mironoff, asks the artists what it is like to perform video game symphony music live!

Susan Calloway. Recording artist and singer from Distant Worlds 1 & 2 and Final Fantasy XIV Soundtrack

CLAUDIA: You recently recorded a new soundtrack called Answers from FFXIV. Can you tell us about the preparation process before the actual session?

SUSAN: Most of the preparation was done by Arnie and his team. They recorded the soundtrack with the orchestra and of course Arnie had to create all the scores for the orchestra in advance, which is a ton of tedious work!! He checked keys with me and let me hear it before the session so I would know what to expect. But my vocal work happens right at the session when we record. You capture an honest performance this way, which is much more musical and more artistic.

CLAUDIA: How long did the session take?

SUSAN: We did it in one day . . with breaks of course and lots of water !

CLAUDIA: Arnie Roth was the producer on site, but I have heard the Nobuo Uematsu and his team were there live from Tokyo too. How did that work?

SUSAN: Nobuo and his team were “ at the session” via Skype. They were not actually there in person. We would record sections of the songs and than send them to him over in Japan via the internet so he could give us his opinion and to make sure we were capturing his vision for the vocal ☺

CLAUDIA: Were there any live musicians there too or were the tracks pre-recorded before you got there?

SUSAN: They were pre-recorded with a live orchestra

CLAUDIA: How different is it to perform with live musicians on stage than it is to make a recording in a studio?

SUSAN: They are two completely different things. In the studio, you can go back and try it again if you don’t like something you sang, which is great. When you perform live, you don’t get this option of course! It is great to record a song for the first time because you get the chance to capture it a certain way, which sets the bar for what fans will expect to hear when you perform live. So, you have to be thoughtful about your approach or any little nuances that you add because they will have to be repeated ! When I sing live I really try to focus on the lyrics and making the song come alive for the audience. It becomes a living, moving experience for me, Arnie, the orchestra, and the crowd. I feed off of all this energy which is easy to do because there is so much of it all around me. DW FF fans are some of the most loyal and enthusiastic fans I have ever seen. They make our job easy on that stage.

CLAUDIA: Did you enjoy the process?

SUSAN: Yes. I love to record and to perform live. Again, totally different things, but equally fun for me ☺ I am blessed to do something I love for my job.

CLAUDIA: Are you looking forward to singing this in Tokyo?

SUSAN: This will be my first time in Tokyo. I am so excited to go and perform there and to see such an amazing city. I am also looking forward to the sushi . It’s my favorite !

CLAUDIA: Do you have any new recordings coming out?

SUSAN: Yes! Many of the DW FF fans already know that in addition to lending my voice to this great video game music project, I am also a recording artist. I write all my own songs, play guitar, and piano. I have an enhanced CD coming out in the next month that will include my Susan Songs, music videos, and some interview videos too. We are very excited about it. You can find me on My Space, Facebook, and Twitter. I also have a website: We are excited that one of the songs from this CD has been nominated for a Hollywood Music & Media award, which is very exciting. Winners will be announced at this red carpet event on November 18, 2010. I also recently received an endorsment from Seinheiser and from MAC cosmetics, too. There are many other things in the works, which we are excited to announced soon, so keep checking my website or Facebook page for details ! Thank you so much for all your support. I am so blessed to share my voice and my music with DW FF fans and music fans alike ☺ Look forward to seeing you guys at a future show !!