Susannah McCorkle was born in Berkeley, Calif., on Jan. 4, 1946 — mistakenly says January 1st — to an anthropologist who took teaching positions at colleges around the country and his wife. You can see her perform here

Read more: C434 Jazz Singer Susannah McCorkle & fear of the unknown

She enrolled at the University of California at Berkeley in 1964 majoring in Italian literature and read in 5 languages when her professorial father, Tom committed suicide following a mental breakdown. He had been ill a long time, suffering from bipolar disorder (formerly maniac depression, as McCorkle herself was later diagnosed) and felt obligated to drop out of school and get a job to support her family. She was definitely overwhelmed — her mother Margery’s sister was also a schizophrenic and she had two younger sister & a mother who made many demands . The therapist said that she was not going to save anyone.

“You’re living in a burning building,” she later recalled him saying. “Get out.”

Susannah’s 1970’s therapist told her

And she did but alas she kept going back and so did not fully heed his warnings. At first, under the pseudonym Susan Savage she began writing career — winning prizes and contributing to the O Henry short-story anthology. Her non-fiction included profiles of Ethel Waters, Bessie Smith and Irving Berlin, published in the prestigious American Heritage magazine.

the holiday muse

As Italian-literature major, McCorkle picked up work dubbing films and translating books for the European market. She expected to become Europeanized, but instead like a lost lorn child discovered her American root via all the movies music, and jazz that were sweeping the continent. When she heard (Asteroid Siva 15.48 Libra is conjunct Neptune 8.37 Libra) American jazz singer Billie Holiday’s (1915 – 1959) “I’ve got the right to sing the blues,” her career choice changed.

”That one record completely revised my thinking and made me want to become a professional singer.”

susannah mccorkle on her jazz career

Changing her focus she left Italy & went to London. She joined a a jazz band led by the trumpeter John Chilton (1932 – 2016). That did not last as Chilton found his vocalist in Liverpoolian George Melly (1926-2006) and Susannah moved on. She met Keith Ingham, himself having dropped out of reading Ancient Chinese literature at Oxford to become a jazz pianist & the two became a romantic and musical duo.

Using her literature background, she focused on stories and phrasing much like Peggy Lee (b. 1920-2002) had, still success was elusive. Jazz singing was losing out to rock and roll and refusing to change her style was detrimental to success. She would not acknowledge that all the jazz impresarios were either dead or much older, and by the time she began her career they were established, like fellow San Franciscan, Tony Bennett (b. 1926).

Ingham (1942 – ) and McCorkle married and then divorced. He saw the writing on the wall and went to swing and dixieland music; she returned to New York and remained resolute. Gigs got fewer and fewer, another marriage and another divorce and with it the loss an extended family pushing her back to her unstable one (Niobe 12 (lost children) conjunct Isis 12 (the Egyptian mother symbol) in mothering Cancer vs. Vesta (sterility in service of the goddess) at 13 Capricorn).

Her younger sister, Katy, was diagnosed with schizophrenia (Mercury + South Node in the 3rd), and the fear of a possible genetic link closed in. Her depression (Mercury to Saturn inconjunct – negative thinking) grew. Eventually in the early morning house of May 19. 2001 she jumped out of a window and committed suicide. It was her first attempt and was quite successful.

Natal Chart.

The straight arrows are highlighting the inconjuncts in her chart that point to the underlying worries — Mercury inconjunct Mars + Saturn, her fears of her father’s illness that she felt was supported in her own life by her sister’s onset. The strong preponderances in the northern and the southern hemispheres were not offset by the weak Eastern, but actually encouraged as Jupiter was conjunct Neptune telling her tell will out.

Despite that, there is nothing in work or money but her fanciful Neptune heard the siren’s song and felt she too could be a singer, not realizing it was not profitable — but just another creative outlet (Asc + Neptune trine Moon).