by Kenny Kerner

This month's profile is of a TAXI member that's tasted success ever so briefly only to have it snatched from her. Lucy Sustar began playing piano at an early age and really took a liking to music. The young artist attended a performing arts school back in Cincinnati, Ohio, and honed her talents. "I got a lot of experience in classics and writing and singing as well as in musical theater and dance at those schools," she recalled, "so I had pretty heavy training up until the twelfth grade."

As expected, Lucy's family encouraged her, but the artist was totally self-motivated. "I was doing very well at the performing arts school so there really wasn't much question about me doing well in music as a career. When I came to Los Angeles, I went to USC for a year and took music theory but couldn't figure out what the hell I would do with a music theory degree. So I dropped out of school after that one year and began playing in clubs and started really spending time on my writing."

Unlike most new artists, Sustar had tasted success with a contemporary Christian band called Bridges that was signed to a small subsidiary of PolyGram Records. But things didn't go as planned: "We were signed and wined and dined through PolyGram in the mid-Nineties. The plan was for our record to go through PolyGram's promotional machine. So we signed, got our press package together, received the finished CD in our hands and then, someone from PolyGram in Germany folded their small subsidiary label and the record never came out. We released it on a small Christian label called Fixit Records but that didn't really go anywhere. But we did tour Russia."

Name: Lucy Sustar
Residence: Los Angeles, CA
Occupation: Sound Mixer
Joined TAXI: 1997
Songs Forwarded: 40+
Deals: Two songs used in movies
Lucy chalked it all up to more of a learning experience than anything else. "It was our opportunity to see the business side of the Christian music scene. And it wasn't any different than any other business. We played at a lot of conventions and got to know lots of people. It was good."

The stark reality of the music business sent Lucy back to her songwriting. With the failure of the band and the label, everyone went his separate way. Lucy bought some recording equipment and began "picking up the pieces."

It was just about this time that Lucy saw an ad for TAXI in a Los Angeles music magazine and "just decided to take a chance." When she most needed a lift, TAXI was there for her: "The first batch of songs I sent in I think I got one or two forwards. But the screeners' response was so cool because they were saying things like 'we think this is strong and good but don't think there's a market for it now.' Their critiques really helped me go toward the right direction. TAXI was always supportive of me and that made me feel really good."

Thus far, TAXI was responsible for two deals that Lucy concluded for her songs to be used in films. "I wish I had gotten more response from the people my songs were forwarded to but I do feel that TAXI has really done its job for me."

Lucy Sustar is still an active member of TAXI and recommends it to others who want to get some industry doors opened: "If you're seriousóespecially in the field of pop music, you should become a member of TAXI. Obviously, the big record deal is kinda like winning the lottery, but there are a lot of other opportunities. I have a full-time job and the reality is that after a certain age, you don't have all that freedom. You actually have to go out and earn a living. You don't have the time to go out there and knock on doors. So I absolutely would not have been able to do this had I not been a member of TAXI."

And by the way: Lucy wanted you all to know that she co-wrote a song for an artist named Emily that is now in release on Universal Records. Lucy, we never doubted your talents for a second! Good goin'!


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"TAXI provided real access to a nearly inaccessible industry."
— John Mendoza,
TAXI Member

"My only regret is that I didn't join TAXI years ago — but it's never too late to make up for lost time."
— Richard Scotti,
TAXI Member