With his flowing hair and walrus mustache, Del Suggs is easily recognizable on stages all over the country. His voice and his music are equally unique, and his songs are heard around the world. But it’s his live performance that really shines. Suggs is the epitome of a performer; his show is exciting, warm, funny, and meaningful without getting too deep.
The ASCAP award-winning songwriter, singer, and guitarist has cut a remarkable career path. During his thirty-plus year career, Suggs has produced and released five albums of his own songs. He’s also produced over a dozen releases for the independent label The Cascades Recording Company. He’s been named “The Very Best of The Best” in music by Campus Activities magazine. He has been inducted into the National Campus Entertainment Hall of Fame.
Del is recognized as one of the pioneers of a musical genre known as “Trop Rock” (tropical rock)– popularized by such artists as Jimmy Buffett and Kenny Chesney. Early in his career, Del coined the term “saltwater music” to describe his style. The recent book “Trop Rock Songs: Stories and Tales” by Andy Forsyth devotes a full chapter to Del and his music. His songs are frequently covered by other Trop Rock artists– in fact his song “Magic Chair” was the title track John Reno’s third album.
And just what is saltwater music? “That’s the most popular question I’m asked before I perform,” he said. “I say it’s a combination of acoustic rock, pop, blues, and folk music… with a sunburn! After people hear me play they understand what I mean. And although some of my music is about the coast, it’s really more of a feeling than a ‘subject’.”
A veteran of the “College Circuit,“ Del built his career playing at colleges and universities across the USA. In fact, if you went to college in the last thirty years, there is a good chance that you heard him play on your campus. Del is a perpetual finalist for national awards from the campus entertainment field, and has been voted “Best Solo Artist” by the school membership of Association for the Promotion of Campus Activities.
Suggs was the third inductee into the National Campus Entertainment Hall of Fame in 2001, and was actually the first performer inducted. He was a Finalist for “Best Music Act” in the Campus Activities magazine Readers’ Poll, and he was also a Finalist for “Coffeehouse Artist of the Year” from the National Association for Campus Activities.
Del has been a voting member of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (the Grammy Awards) since 1992, with the release of his first CD. In 1995, NARAS VP Nancy Shapiro asked Del to serve on the Florida Branch organizing committee along with Emilio Estefan, Tom Morris, Howard Alpert, Don Tweedy, and Nancy Mraz. Together they were able to create the Florida Branch of NARAS, and within three years membership had grown large enough to become the Florida Chapter. This Florida Chapter continues to serve as a major force in the music industry, and the musical culture of the US and the world.
Del Suggs is an original. His continued success performing and recording is a reflection of the timelessness of his music. He is one of those individuals who comes on stage as a stranger, and leaves it as a friend. That is a rare gift.