“(Americans) say baby teeth, but in England, we call them milk teeth,” Suki Waterhouse said in an interview with The Daily Californian. “These songs were like my little baby teeth, and these songs changed the course of my life so much.”
While Waterhouse first made her name as a model, she has slowly dipped her feet into the world of music since 2016. Though standalone singles such as “Good Looking” and “Johanna” received critical acclaim, Waterhouse didn’t take the final plunge until 2022 with the release of her debut album I Can’t Let Go — a glittering, nostalgic portrait of lost love and passing time.
With a record and tour with Father John Misty behind her, it seems as though Waterhouse has nowhere to move but forward. But, with the release of her new EP Milk Teeth on Nov. 4, the multi-hyphenate looks back to the past: She returns to the songs that started it all, compiling them into a single record.
“I was struggling in myself at the time to get over the monster that was in my head that I wasn’t allowed to do, or I wasn’t allowed to grow or change, or it wouldn’t be accepted,” Waterhouse said. “So these songs were like my little victories.”
While Waterhouse was making I Can’t Let Go, she thought it best to leave behind her old work and start fresh with tracks such as “Devil I Know” and “Melrose Meltdown.” But as her 2018 single “Good Looking” made its rounds on TikTok, she felt drawn back to the past, and she decided to go back and resurface these formative tracks.
“Just as my record was coming out, ‘Good Looking’ had this whole new breath of life from the internet,” Waterhouse said. “The internet is so chaotic, but in this beautiful way … It was like a wave from the past.”
Especially exciting to Waterhouse is the release of Milk Teeth on vinyl. She keeps her own record collection in her home, and she finds herself returning to the same albums over and over — among them Aimee Mann’s Mental Illness and Karen O’s Crush Songs.
“Vinyl to me is the greatest, because it’s the records that I’ve had on vinyl that live in every single place that I’ve ever lived,” Waterhouse said. “Vinyls are like the little things I’ve collected from the wild that always stay in my home.”
Waterhouse spent the past summer touring with Father John Misty, performing at famed venues such as Radio City Music Hall and Red Rocks Amphitheatre. From sleeping on the floor to exploding toilets, she loved the unglamorous grit of living on the road. In a few weeks, she plans to embark on a headlining tour of her own: The Coolest Place in the World Tour.
“I feel really infected with the bug of wanting to be back on stage,” Waterhouse said. “The whole tour is still swirling around in my head. As soon as I got home, it gave me a ton of energy to start writing for the new record.”
With the release of her new single “Nostalgia,” Waterhouse has already signaled the start of a new era. The music video, directed by frequent collaborator Emilie Richard-Froozan, embraces the melodramatic. Waterhouse wears a lace corset and rides a horse through the sea, and by the end, she lays in a floral-strewn grave of her own making.
“It was very much like Tom Hardy and ‘Wuthering Heights,’ ” Waterhouse said. “(Richard-Froozan and I) were both like nostalgia is essentially so dramatic and kind of cheesy. We kind of wanted to go really ridiculous and over the top in the video.”
Besides touring, Waterhouse is set to star as Karen Sirko in the miniseries adaptation of “Daisy Jones and the Six.” Yet, songwriting remains an essential outlet for self-expression and growth, and she is already looking ahead toward her next album.
“(Releasing music) moves energy through you. It’s like moving sediment through you,” Waterhouse said. “It doesn’t change situations or certain things that happened to you, but it moves particles around, and I really think it has such a potency. . . . From (I Can’t Let Go), it’s like I’m not the same person anymore in a way.”
With the successful release of I Can’t Let Go, Waterhouse has finally lost all her baby teeth, but that doesn’t quite mean she’s quite ready to let go of the past. As she dives head first into her music, she holds onto a certain fondness for the place from which she came, allowing it to shape and move her journey forward.