Suzen Juel and I lived in the same state for many years and never met. Instead, we met online just a few months after I left Minnesota, when I caught a link to one of her YouTube performances on Twitter. I was moved by Suzen’s raw vocals and powerful lyrics. I started downloading all of her music, which I listened to in and out of cars on my road trip. When my trip ended and I was writing my book in a Starbucks parking lot, I’d return to my room late at night, put on my headphones and listen to songs like In the Grass—which is really poetry set to music.
Writing Elephant Girl was a visual journey for me. In my head, I saw it as a film. . .and there was a soundtrack to that film that I just couldn’t imagine anyone else but Suzen Juel singing. I sent her an email and surprisingly she agreed to to put her talents to work for the EG story. I sent her some lyrical concepts. A week or so later, she sent me her first version of the song—I was blown away. She said no, that’s just a draft. She wanted to work on the song some more.
Click the link above and take a listen. When I hear it–and I’ve listened to it more than a dozen times so far this morning–I hear a past that haunts and a future of freedom. I hear Elephant Girl escaping her chains and heading toward green fields and sunlight.
Thank you, Suzen, for lending your soul and talent to the story of Elephant Girl.