Suki Waterhouse makes the Chicago Theatre the ‘Coolest Place in the World’

By Abra Richardson, Staff Reporter

Suki Waterhouse takes the stage before Father John Misty on Sept. 29 at the Chicago Theatre. Abra Richardson

As a teenager raised in the suburbs of London, Suki Waterhouse found a connection to female musicians like Aimee Mann, Anita Franco, and Lucinda Williams.

Waterhouse described her younger self as an angsty door-slammer, but also anxious, which drew her to the female songwriters that expressed honesty in every song.

I think I was about 16 or 17 [when] I had a really strong desire to find a tribe,” Waterhouse said. “I think I wanted to live the life of a musician, but it didn’t quite exist around me.”

Waterhouse said she would go to a local pub and talk about music with an older man, leading to him working on music with her.

“When I look back at it now, I was really looking in any kind of direction where I could find someone to sit down and play guitar with or listen to little ideas that I had and spend a lot of time with them, and it kind of progressed from there.”

Now, Waterhouse is currently on a North American tour opening for Father John Misty and performing at iconic venues like Red Rocks Amphitheater, Radio City Music Hall and Hollywood Forever Cemetery. Waterhouse stopped by Chicago on Sept. 29 to perform at the Chicago Theatre, 175 N. State St.

“It’s my first tour and I am incredibly lucky to get to be supporting [Misty],” Waterhouse said. “I’m trying to sink in as much as I can from watching him perform, from his work, he’s been doing it for 20 years, and I’ve just started, so I’m [taking in] as much as I can.”

Suki Waterhouse creates an ethereal aura throughout the theatre as she performs her song “Good Looking.” Abra Richardson

In 2016, Waterhouse worked hard on a few songs but ultimately focused on one song that she thought needed to be improved in the studio. It was the first song that had any sort of production, which became her first single, “Brutally.”

Since the release of “Brutally” in 2016, Waterhouse has risen to fame through modeling and acting, as well as business endeavors like co-owning her own fashion brand called Pop & Suki with Poppy Jamie. Even with all of these professions, she still managed to release music consistently throughout the years.

Waterhouse spoke about the transition from modeling in England to moving across the world to pursue her other passions.

“I think in England, everyone gets very boxed into what they are,” Waterhouse said. “It felt like [am I] going to be allowed to be anything other than a model and all this stuff? It can be quite intense in England.”

While in the U.S., Waterhouse found people who could help amplify her career and allow her to follow creative endeavors without judgement.

Earlier this year, Waterhouse, who now lives in London, released her debut album “I Can’t Let Go,” and explained the process of working on songs she holds close to her heart.

“The songs that I wrote on it take me from like a young girl and to a woman … I knew I needed to memorialize these intense moments of these last 10 years,” Waterhouse said.

Suki Waterhouse performs her song “Devil I Know” for the crowd. Abra Richardson

In order to find a producer to work with, Waterhouse took to her own musical inspirations and continuously listened to the song “Cat’s Eye Blue” by Hiss Golden Messenger, where she found Brad Cook’s work.

“[Cook and I] didn’t really discuss what it’s going to sound like,” Waterhouse said. “We were just talking about people that we listened to. … We just spoke [about] that and then went in together and had a couple of weeks there. Luckily, somehow [he] was the perfect person.”

Waterhouse expressed relief and excitement in having her album out after holding onto her songs for so long. She said her songs get a life of their own once released, for instance, “Good Looking” has more than 80 million streams on Spotify and went viral on TikTok.

Waterhouse said touring has been a learning experience and a way to grow her audience.

“It’s interesting supporting [Misty] because, I mean, I’ve been doing like 300-person capacity and now I’m [performing at] these big rooms. Also, the major amount of people aren’t there for [me]. So, I think it’s been really, really good for me to experience what it’s like not to have people that know you at all and to see what you can do with that energy basically.“

Waterhouse also recently announced a new EP called “Milk Teeth” which will be released on Nov. 4. Waterhouse described the EP, which includes the single “Coolest Place in the World,” as inspired by an instinct she had when she was younger and the parallels between what she was going through then versus now.

“[The songs] were my witnesses and my window into a freedom and a movement inside of myself,” Waterhouse said. “I just feel this like, sounds cheesy, but it’s huge gratitude for [the songs] and for everybody that worked with me when I was first starting to make music and decided that they’d be OK spending their time with someone that didn’t seem as like a musician.”

Fans can catch Waterhouse on tour with Father John Misty, as well as listen to her music on any music streaming platform. All of Waterhouse’s information is listed on her website.