Her perfectly curated covers may draw you in, but her award-winning originals will cement your faith in the real artistry coming out of the Central CA Coast. Never hiding behind over-synthesized production or trendy vocal styles, Susan Ritchie’s soulful and pure voice will feel like a good whiskey on a foggy day - comfortable, uplifting and just the answer the day needed.
Performing soul, blues, rock and folk, ringing with tones of Bonnie Raitt and Susan Tedeschi, Susan Ritchie consistently grows her audience with both her intimate solo acoustic performances, and the uptempo sets backed by her full band of seasoned musicians. An accomplished guitarist, Ritchie’s rhythm and finger-picking styles are at the center of her songwriting and performances. Ritchie connects with her listeners through heartfelt songwriting and everyday experiences that wink to the experiences we all share.
Early age & Influences
Ritchie started playing guitar at the age of eight. She proved to be a dedicated student and soon had a repertoire of folk songs to entertain family and guests. She studied classical guitar briefly, but the allure could not compete with the songwriters of the time who were a perpetual soundtrack in the Ritchie home.
Susan credits the finger-picking style of James Taylor as her first inspiration. Among her other early influences are Carole King, Carly Simon, Joni Mitchell, Crosby, Stills & Nash, Neil Young, Jackson Browne, Simon & Garfunkel, Elton John, Stevie Wonder, and virtually all of Motown.
Frustrated by having what her mother called a “sweet voice,” her musical world was forever changed by hearing Bonnie Raitt. It was an epiphany to hear Raitt’s sweet voice delivering a blues lyric with sass and attitude. Raitt’s voice was like a sweet and savory dish, and the young Susan Ritchie finally had a recipe to follow while developing her own musical palette.
Ritchie wrote her first song at the age of 11, and she hasn’t stopped since. After college she performed in coffee houses and clubs on the central coast, but she decided to dedicate herself to her most important gig – motherhood. As a single parent for most of her daughter’s childhood, she put the performance part of being a musician on the back burner. But, after meeting her husband of 14 years, Kevin Bratcher, a music fanatic and accomplished luthier, music started weaving back into Susan’s life in powerful ways.
In 2015 she undertook a 52-week songwriting project, writing a song every week for a year and posting each song on YouTube.
In 2016, Susan made an album of 11 of those songs she wrote in her 52-week writing project. Produced by Randy Rigby, the album was a song-writing sampler that the two hoped could be a basis for future co-writing and pitching opportunities. Tragically, Rigby died suddenly a few months later.
In 2021, Ritchie met studio engineer Rob Vermeulen of Robbo Music in Morro Bay, CA. Vermeulen produced Ritchie’s 2022 six-song EP release, How Many Miles?. The song Cloudy Day won the 2022 New Times Music Award for best R&B/blues song. Working with Rob was the impetus for the formation of the Susan Ritchie Band, which quickly rose in popularity on the central coast, playing premier venues and concert series. The band is currently in the studio working on eight new original songs to be released later in 2023, with an eye to performing on bigger stages in the broader western United States.
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