Suki Waterhouse is no stranger to the spotlight. The British singer has been performing in some form since her teen years, whether as a model, an actor, or more recently, a singer.
“I was really attracted to the life of a musician before I even was telling anybody that I was actually writing,” Waterhouse tells Rolling Stone. It’s a lifestyle and industry she was exposed to while growing up outside of London — Waterhouse remembers regularly sneaking into town to catch a glimpse of rising stars like Amy Winehouse.
Waterhouse’s early experiences and careers culminate in her new EP, Milk Teeth. “From the first time I started putting out music [my sound has] definitely changed,” Waterhouse says. “For my album, I remember thinking that I wanted the sound … I kind of think about it in movie terms. What would Thelma and Louise be listening to if they were driving off the side of a cliff? The sound kind of came to me from thinking a lot about where I wanted people to listen to my music. The songs are always about having something to externalize and memorialize times in your life that don’t exist anymore.”
Coming off a year where Waterhouse opened for Father John Misty’s U.S. tour and saw her song “Good Looking” practically take over TikTok, she spoke with Rolling Stone about her recent success; a discussion that explored finding inspiration in powerhouse female artists who came before her, some of whom are featured within Audible’s trailblazing Words + Music series.
The 32-volume Audible Original is a cross-genre, cross-generation listening experience where musicians share personal stories, with exclusive performances woven in. And two of Waterhouse’s all-time favorite musicians – Sharon Van Etten and Alanis Morissette – are featured in the series.
“I absolutely adore Sharon Van Etten; she’s undoubtedly one of the artists that I’ve listened to over and over again,” Waterhouse says. “My favorite thing about Sharon Van Etten’s Words + Music was hearing about how Sharon has had to move through incredibly dark periods of her life and how those have pushed her forward. She’s very sensory, and I feel that in her music as well.”
With Morissette, Waterhouse remembers listening to her at a very young age, “like my pimples were singing Alanis Morissette,” she jokes. Morissette’s influence has stayed with her all these years, as evidenced by Waterhouse’s song “On Your Thumb,” which contains a direct homage to “Hand in My Pocket.” But more so than artistic inspiration, she says, Morissette has helped her better understand life, too.
“I hadn’t even had relationships yet, but I was suddenly understanding the crush I had on my best friend’s brother and the arguments that you’d have with friends at school, and all that kind of stuff; I could suddenly understand that so much clearer because of her music,” Waterhouse says. “She’s been a comfort in some way to me, just knowing that someone is out there in the world that’s like her. I just can’t wait to listen to [Alanis’ Words + Music] again; it was one of those things that I’m, like, hungry to go back and listen to it.”
Watch highlights from our conversation with Waterhouse above, and explore the full Words + Music on Audible.
* This was recorded before Suki turned 31 in January 2023