Singer-songwriter Susy Bellucci tells us of her artistic life dedicated to children’s music and she speaks about her not being a mother and of the pressures of society and family’s related to this.
SUSI: «My work is firstly a passion of mine, which I had since a I was pretty young.
Indeed, several years have gone by.
I work with music and the use of the voice.
Over the years, I wrote many songs and performed music of various kinds, because the challenge of the voice it’s always been my primary interest.
And nothing, I liked…exploring with the voice, many musical styles, with different vocal expressions.
And then, within this musical path, from a certain point onwards, the interest towards music for children became stronger and stronger.
Firstly, because children’s music is shamefully overlooked in Italy.
I believe especially in Italy, because it is considered somehow a less important music, to be performed with little money.
In short, I know, let’s say… delving deeper into this, I realized there is a musical literature classical, pop and of other genres which is very important, really.
In Italy, especially for the contemporary music, from a certain point onwards, nothing really important was produced, nothing of good quality for children’s music.
So, I ventured on this path and I have to say it’s been really gratifying, because I collaborated with very talented musician friends, it was really a pleasure to create these things, and also for the responce I got, both from my audience of users, which in this case are children, but also at educational level, at the… Well, on various levels.
Let’s say this was perhaps the most rewarding aspect: working for children.
Yes, I travel often up and down Italy; I live in Tuscany, but I have a preferential bond with Rome.
A kind of double track that takes me up and down, because since I started to be interested in music, entertainment and so on, I often come to Rome.
But also to other places, for example, I travel a lot also in Puglia where I have friends.
In short, Italy is definitely a journey of my own.
Mostly, but sometimes I also go abroad.
I started badly as a child, because a few years after my birth I got sick.
Being ill characterized all of my childhood, bedridden for the most part, or anyway stuck at home.
Away from all things children normally do: therefore outdoor spaces, being with friends, shared games.
None of this.
Isolated, stuck at home with this ugly disease, which led also to some dramatic moments.
Then, luckily I survived this illness even though I suffered the aftermath of the disease.
Starting from a very poor kidneys functionality.
So what happened?
Growing up, I was advised against having children, because it would have been dangerous both for me and for the baby.
I have to say that this wasn’t for me… this thing which I complied with, it was not a tragedy for me.
it was not too much of a constraint.
Probably, if I had the chance to have children without danger, more light-heartedly, who knows?
As it often happens, one has children.
But I couldn’t do it, and I didn’t feel this constraint like a drama in my life.
I did not feel it at all.
During my hospitalizations, I happened to come across many women
who lived this limitation as an existential drama.
An unacceptable drama so they have undergone… risk pregnancies, or… After all, now fortunately
these diseases are cured with the transplant, therefore also have a transplant to finally be able to have a child and so on.
Really as if their whole existence, the existence of a woman had no meaning in the absence of a child, if unable to procreate.
I didn’t feel this drama, I repeat, but I realized that also socially, not only on an individual but also on a social level, this thing is poorly judged.
A woman who does not procreate is a woman without meaning.
with no social use, who no motivation to live.
After all, this was told to me first of all by my father, instead of comforting me of this difficult path
he was the worst judge.
But also comparisons with friends who had children, etc., I was not spared pretty painful comments.
Fortunately, it didn’t affect me too badly, because deep inside I didn’t feel that this thing for me was a drama.
Well, I didn’t feel that.
Probably, as I said, If I didn’t have a kidney problem, I might have had a child.
I don’t know, I can’t say, but this problem, however, decisive.
Oddly enough then, as life naturally takes mysterious paths, led me to be an author\performer of children’s songs.
But totally in a way… I don’t mean random, as nothing is, but unpredictable.
So, partly because of the friendships and acquaintances that I’ve had with musicians younger than me who in the end became my elective children, and partly for my audience that over the years grew bigger and bigger…
I mean, my audience is made of children, they have become, too, potential children of mine.
Surely, they make me feel it because sometimes, in the city where I live, they stop me in the street and I understand that what I gave them is a kind of legacy.
What I inherited from my childhood was undoubtedly this attitude of mine towards fairytale and imaginary world, because, of course, my space, unable to be physical, it has become “imaginary.”
And so this always remained alive in me.
First of all, it was fundamental for my own survival.
A space that saved me.
I still remember of a doctor, who was the one that healed me, among other things, recommended to my mom to buy a beautiful edition, that had come out at that time, of the Grimm’s fairy tales.
And for me the Grimm’s fairy tales were really… My way out, the way of salvation.
There is a beautiful Grimms’ fairy tale called “The Water of Life”, and from there even if only at an imaginary, fantastic level, a child understands there is the water of life.
So a chance to get out, to to a “place beyond”, ”where anything is possible.
Naturally the consequence of this disease was that my poor kidneys could not endure a pregnancy.
I accepted this and never had any problems in this respect.
I have dedicated myself to so many things.
Instead, in my path I’ve met so many women who greatly suffered for this condition of not being able to procrate.
They had to procreate at all costs, as if a life with no children would me meaningless.
And so I saw people who gave birth risking their own lives.
Or people who, as soon as they had their kidney transplant, immediately had a child.
So, from what I saw, what I can say is that really for women, for many women, this is a top priority,
without which life is meaningless, or anyway, it’s truly unhappy.
This wasn’t the case for me.
Well, let’s just say that…judgments towards women with no children unfortunately, they are often…I mean, I had to realize there is really a very harsh judgment towards women who have no children.
And the first, terrifying judge, in this sense, was my father.
He was one of those men, almost from the nineteenth century, who weren’t very soft with women.
Then they had very precise ideas about what a woman should be.
He once told me precisely that for him a woman who had no children had no reason to exist.
Coming from a father, who never told me anything nicer, so… that didn’t surprise me, alas.
But slowly I realized of this reality which I had not thought of at all, that is, a woman who has no children.
is poorly judged by society.
I wondered why I was not aware of this, maybe because all in all this very feminine identity of a woman who procreates, breastfeeds, who really has a purpose, making it the reason of her life, it was never really my thing.
There have been other moments where I had to come to terms with this reality.
For example, I was thinking of that time, when a friend of mine who had a daughter and that, in my opinion, she educated very poorly.
Honestly, there is a problem sometime, a problem that happens often to those who have no children: which is to have friends and socialize with families and parents who…
Of course I do not judge a, I had no children, but they often have a way of dealing, educating these children which is pretty unbelievable.
I never dared to pass judgment, but sometimes it may have come naturally to express an opinion or give advice.
Well, mothers have always taken it badly, getting also unpleasant.
A friend of mine once, I don’t remember what we were talking about her daughter, I said something and she told me loud and clear: “You can’t talk, as you have no children.”
What can I say?
I didn’t take too personally, but I thought she hadn’t been very nice.
First of all knowing that at the time I was still in a phase when I could procreate and I didn’t because of my kidneys.
and not because I wasn’t able to do it.
So, I didn’t do it.
She knew I’d had this disease, so she could have avoided saying something like this.
But this approach does exist, you can judged and rejected.
Actually, I can’t understand, I can’t tell exactly if I would have had children.
Probably I would, but not for this need to procreate at all costs.
I belong to a generation that also believed in things, that of course then didn’t come true, but like, I don’t know… getting out of the family circle, creating communities, a different way to socialize.
It was very a utopia, unreal, but in short, in a more extended life plan not closely related to the family, children might have been a shared experience, and not closely related to this family identity
that becomes everyone’s project.
From this planning of the family, and therefore children, and then grandchildren as a reason for existence.
I realised that even my generation got stuck in this.
So much so that I find myself now to have friends I can never see because first they were mothers,
then they became grandmothers. and all the meaning of their existence, all the pleasure in their existence, they got it from these things.
I have to say that maybe because back then overpopulation was an issue, now instead in Italy the problem is birthrate decline, so… you don’t know anymore.
But I felt that I would have not complied with my duty if I had no children, that I could have harmed society.
And so I don’t know if even… if I would have had children, if I could I don’t know.
Of course if… it is something you can do lightly, probably you go ahead with it.
But what I keep thinking is that my idea of motherhood it would not have been an exclusive plan,
also because I’ve always felt very respectful towards the creature that one brings into the world, not feeling it as my own property.
You are a person I bring into the world.
without being asked to, therefore you are entitled to your freedom, to your life, you don’t have to burden yourself with my life plan.
Here it is, anyway I think I could have been true to this thing, this idea because I always had it.
I… in my marriage experiences I was married once which ended with a divorce, then a partner with whom\NI have been for many years, who is a very good musician.
So, in this sense we truly enjoyed using our abilities.
I didn’t miss having a child\Nin these relationships.
In my marriage, my ex-husband never asked me to have children, and he never had any even in his second life as a married man.
My current partner already had a daughter.
So… then we met that we were already a little agée, you could say.
So…in the end, in these fairly long relationships this never came up… neither this request, nor a lack of something.
And then, as I said, our lives have been so… directed towards others, both towards our passions and towards others, that it did not come up.
I don’t know if this is somehow will be a problem when we will be much older.
But again, my idea would never have been to have a children to make them… to have it as an old age walking stick.
That’s it, I don’t know.
Both myself and Julius, my partner, we have accumulated a lot of things at the level of… musical memories.
We have a house full of records, of scores, of DVDs, even…
He paints as well, so also paintings, a lot of stuff.
I have often wondered what will happen to these things, because we both know there are many precious things.
While I’m sure that our heirs, let’s say our blood relatives, they wouldn’t appreciate… I also thought, and I’d like to do that but it’s not that simple, to leave my home and all its content
by establishing a foundation for music for children.
Because again, I find it outrageous how this topic is treated.
First and foremost, the way music is treated in general, because in Italy, which is a country renowned around the world… If you ask someone from a small US town, they won’t even know where Italy is, but if you talk about Puccini, by Verdi or Michelangelo… Italy is the Land of Art and Music, which are unfortunately…
Especially music, that is a formative subject, which in all countries is considered as such, except in Italy… I’ve found myself sometimes with British, American, German people
where everyone learns at school to read a score, to play an instrument, and therefore immediately they have this Esperanto on hand because wherever they go, can communicate with the people who speak another language, but that language is common to all.
There is no such thing in Italy, no one can read; maybe they’ll sing “O sole mio”, but no one knows what a note is.
And then the fact that it is not considered a formative subject it’s really outrageous, really.
So all the more so, I would have liked the idea to create a Foundation for a school, maybe from the earliest childhood, a music school.
What’s stopping me? There are so many bureaucratic problems, I mean, each and every time that I tried to do something about it, not strictly related to an inheritance, to create a Foundation,
it all gets so complicated, that one finally gives up.
Whatever will be will be. It’s a shame though, because these things will end up in some junk sale
sold for a couple of euros, nobody will know how to use these instruments which are instead precious and important for those who know them.»