Mon | Jul 13, 2020

Grange remembers Suzanne Couch

Published:Wednesday | July 11, 2018 | 12:00 AMShereita Grizzle/Gleaner Writer
Suzanne Couch performing on the Heineken Small Stage of the 2011 Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival, with members of Black Zebra Band.
Suzanne Couch (left) and daughter Sarah Couch, watch as their bill is being burt during a Restaurant Week execution in 2015.

Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport Olivia Grange has expressed sorrow at the passing of well-known Jamaican singer, pianist, composer and producer Suzanne Couch, who was equally known locally as an experienced caterer.

In a release sent to The Gleaner, Grange reminisced about Couch's life, pointing out that Couch joined the band 'Native' as a keyboard player with her husband Peter and lyricist Brian Jobson in 1980. The pair began writing songs together as their careers in music progressed, and they co-wrote the song Fortunes of Love, which appeared on the soundtrack of Stephanie Black's famous documentary on Jamaica's economic problems, Life and Debt.

"Suzanne became a featured singer on several Jamaican record releases, including Steely & Clevie's version of the Carly Simon song Why, Monty Alexander's album Many Rivers to Cross, and singles with Maxi Priest, Toots Hibbert, Mutabaruka, among others," Grange remembered. "I was happy when Suzanne's debut album - Lifeline - appeared in 2001. Its excellence was praised in Jamaica and across the world, with some reviews recommending it for the Reggae Grammy award. She continued singing, composing and playing the piano, with special solo performances at RedBones CafÈ and, most recently, at a special benefit concert featuring Joss Stone at Strawberry Hill Hotel just a few weeks before her death."

That concert was where Couch made public the fact that she was suffering from breast cancer.

"Suzanne Couch was more than a great Jamaican musician, songwriter and singer. She was a great Jamaican woman," Grange went on in the statement. "I shall miss her, but Jamaica will be forever enriched by the music she left for us to enjoy. I send my condolences to Peter and their daughter Sarah. Rest well, Suzanne Couch."

It was announced on Monday that Couch had succumbed to stage four breast cancer in Mexico. Her death came as a shock to many.