Solitaire Miles ’85 is a talented artist, singer, and musician also known as Susie Blue, her musician name. It has not always been easy for her, but she has persevered through life and fondly credits the Mercyhurst Prep environment and teachers for always encouraging her and teaching her how to never give up. After graduating from MPS she went on to Gannon, but after two years suffered from Epilepsy and Lupus, which took her away from school for a while. She chose to move to Chicago in hopes of finding some new treatment options so she could continue to get better. While there, she was able to obtain her music degree from De Paul University after studying opera. She has been utilizing her talents for amazing things ever since.
Most recently her artistic talents were featured on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert as part of their “Fan Art Friday” segment. A couple months ago her drawing of Stephen Colbert was chosen as that week’s feature. She is actually a professional illustrator, creating artwork and book covers for companies like Time Life Books, Random House, and Harlequin. She took classes for a year at the Art Institute of Chicago but said that her background from the classes she took at MPS really helped.
Not only is she a talented artist and professional illustrator, but she is musically talented as well. She is the lead singer of the Grammy-nominated band, Susie Blue & the Lonesome Fellas. She started the group in 2014, and they have been performing in clubs and theatres around Chicago ever since. Their music is a Western Swing style that Solitaire describes as an offshoot of Big Band Swing from the early 1940’s. She said, “It’s basically like singing swing/jazz with a twang.” Their first album was released in 2015 and the next will be released in the spring of 2020. Prior to this group, Solitaire worked in Chicago and New York City for over twenty years as a jazz singer, but she was ready for a change and wanted to set herself aside from all the other jazz singers out there.
The talent is ample when it comes to Solitaire, but it is wonderful to hear how MPS helped her get to where she is today. “I don’t think I could have learned the ambition to create and succeed had I not been a student at MPS. In addition to training us to create art and music, the school also trained us to want to succeed in life, and they taught us discipline and perseverance.”