Susan Cagle

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For more than four years, singer-songwriter Susan Cagle has been making a name for herself throughout New York City's subway system—surprising commuters with her impromptu performances. But, life wasn't always so sweet for this soulful singer.

Growing up, Susan says she was raised in a very restrictive religious cult. "We had to do everything that they told us to do," she says. "We were only allowed to read the Bible or other religious publications that were written by the organization."

After years of feeling like a prisoner in her own life, Susan says she escaped that world and started on a path of her own. "It was like, 'Oh my gosh, I've got these feelings inside me I've always felt, a hunger for knowledge, for the world,' and I was told it was wrong," she says. "Once I started reading, it was like, 'Wow, I need to get out of this.'"

Susan moved to New York City, where she took her love of singing to the streets. "Basically, the subway allowed me to connect with people. In the subways I wasn't alone," she says. "I realized, looking around at all the people rushing by me, that everybody has their own story. … It made me realize that, wow, I don't have to use my background as an excuse to not do anything with my life."