Bruce Sudano Debuts 'Forbidden Fruit,' Inspired By Life After the Passing of His Wife Donna Summer
Now that he's helped bring Summer: The Donna Summer Musical about his late wife to Broadway, Bruce Sudano is back to, as the song says, where he once belonged.
A singer-songwriter at heart, Sudano has been woodshedding, with about a half dozen songs in motion for a new album or EP -- including the stark, folky "Forbidden Fruit," whose video premieres below. "(Summer) kinda took me out of my own headspace for a minute," Sudano tells Billboard. "I always gauge myself on, 'Am I writing?' and I'm never really fully happy unless I'm actually writing. So I'm trying to get my soul centered again so I can figure out what I need to say."
Sudano considers "Forbidden Fruit," which he began writing in New York while working on the musical, to be "the first revelation into" his next era as a songwriter, and the song is something that cuts close to the bone after Summer's death in 2012 from lung cancer.
"It's basically a song about temptation," explains Sudano, who's joined on the track, and in the video, by New York singer Dina Regine (Jesse Malin, Bruce Springsteen, Hollis Brown). "Being a guy who was married for 30-plus years and then finding himself back out in the world of single people and being out playing in clubs and being on the road and all that, it was kind of a reawakening, to me, of another realm that I hadn't been included in for a while. And I think temptation in itself isn't a bad thing. We're all subject to it. It's how you respond to the temptation, and that's what the song is about."
The black-and-white video, meanwhile, features Sudano and Regine musing over that concept as they sing the song to each other, and the camera, over a couple glasses of wine. "We shot it in a way that was very real and very honest and just simply telling the story and showing our facial expressions to convey the point," Sudano says. "There's an edit of the video where I reach over and grab Dina's hand at the end of the song; It was my instinct to do it at the time, but afterwards it was the wrong message, so we backed out of that."
Sudano isn't sure yet about the timetable for more new songs, or an album or EP. "I'm just excited to get out playing some shows and writing some new songs and making a new record -- that's where my head and heart is now," he notes. But Sudano is happy to have Summer on the boards on Broadway, with nominations from the Tony Awards and the Drama League Awards. "It was an all-encompassing journey getting it there," he says, "but it certainly is very satisfying for me to see Donna's name up on the marquee and see audiences every night up and applauding and dancing in the aisles. All of that is great...and now it's time to focus on my artistic world again."