Photo of Suzanna Dee

Suzanna Dee

Yorkshire-based singer-songwriter and TV judge Suzanna Dee is passionate about promoting positive mental health. Sue says “I love helping people. My mum had a Mother Teresa heart and I’m following in her footsteps.

I want to help other artists to help themselves; to be a mentor and sounding board for them and to make a difference by boosting their self-esteem. My motto is “Dream big, do bigger!”

My mission has always been to help people and making music. From the age of eight, I knew I could sing and loved to help and make people laugh. I believe that we should all collaborate to help one another.”

Who have you helped/who have you helped already?

“I have worked with various charities. One of these is One Day, One Choir, a global charity which this year served over 120 choirs around the world singing on World Peace Day. Three years ago, with help from friends and family, I organised a choir at short notice. Over 50 people sang at Leeds first direct Arena to celebrate world peace.

I compere events for The Sunshine Fund in Glasgow, fundraising for this charity for children with disabilities and their families. I’m also an ambassador for the Schiehallion Appeal run by Glasgow Children’s Hospital Charity. Since returning to the music industry, a member of one of the patient’s family members contacted me to say that she had passed away, aged only 13 years old.

The words to my song ‘One in a Million’ are engraved on her gravestone as apparently the song meant a lot to her and her family. Ever since I’ve been fundraising for the appeal and visit patients on the Schiehallion wards every year.

I also volunteer time as a mentor and judge for Open Mic UK. It’s for people looking break into the music industry who need guidance, focus and confidence. I help them to build their mental health and address any issues which block them from being successful at their creative art. My nickname is ‘Mother of Music’.”

What’s worked?

“Volunteering as a mentor and Judge for Open Mic UK has actually brought lots of confidence to not only adults but to children too. Each year, we see new talent and you can see how they have progressed. Some have even gone on to enter the X-Factor and The Voice.

The One Day, One Choir has been established for five years and still going strong. This has brought many diverse people in many countries to come together to be at peace with one another, reflecting on what the word peace means to them.

The Schiehallion Appeal continues to do great work to help children with cancer on the wards. The money I’ve help to fundraise has made a small difference on the children and parents lives, along with the staff.”

What have you learnt? Any challenges?

“I’ve learned that giving back is the greatest gift of all. The main challenge has been to get people on board, especially when the word ‘charity’ is mentioned. It’s about getting across that when we play a role in changing people’s lives, that also changes how we view our own lives.”

What’s next?

“A team of us are organising a large music event called ‘Club 4 Life’ for Cancer Research UK. The event will aim to not only celebrate cancer survivors through music and entertainment but also those no longer with us. This will raise the brand profile of Cancer Research and build a network of other charities that are close to the team’s heart with a view to doing more music fundraisers.

I will also providing mentoring for a Leeds-based artist management company which represents artists from around the world, such as those who have come out of Open Mic UK, along with X-Factor, Britain’s Got Talent and The Voice UK.”

What advice, contacts or resources would help you?

“I’m looking for corporate sponsors for the Cancer Research music event. This could include suitable venue sponsorship (e.g. nightclub or hall with a PA system) which would help us to put the event on for free or at a discounted rate.

I’d love to connect with senior people in the music industry and to speak at Colleges and Universities to share my story, giving students a real insight to the music industry. And I’d also like to speak to those who have stories to tell about the charities I’ve mentioned above.”

Why we’re sharing these stories

An individual or organisation from each of our five categories will be recognised at our Igniting Inspiration recognition event in November, but we want to publish all relevant stories to spread awareness of all the positive work that goes on in the North!