Written by Diamond La’Tia
Sunshine has the power to make us feel really good – it’s almost healing as it touches our skin and warms our hearts. Similarly, the music of the incomparable Avery*Sunshine has the power to radiate through our soul. “I am a self-proclaimed therapist! I want to start the conversation that will lead to individual healing and in turn will affect our collective healing. Let’s get people talking about their experiences so that we can learn from them, grow from them and more importantly, move on from them.” (quote from her bio)
Born Denise Nicole White in Chester, Pennsylvania, this gallant and galvanizing Gemini has carved out her own place in the music world by providing soulful and spirit-filled words that anyone can relate to. This “carved out” place in the music world has been noted by the industry with accolades such as iTunes Best of 2010, SoulTracks’ Reader’s Choice Best New Artist, Jet magazine’s Top 5 Rising Indie Artists, and Creative Loafing’s Album of the Year.
“My parents listened to all kinds of music. My mother would take me to plays and orchestras.”
While most eight year-old girls were playing hopscotch, jump rope, or with their dolls, Avery*Sunshine was playing classical music on a piano. Her mother also exposed her to a wide variety of art which further piqued the interest and curiosity of this young ray of sunshine. “My mother took me to go see Mama I Want To Sing! I felt the magic in my soul. I had to know what that was”, says Avery*Sunshine. Mama I Want To Sing!, a 1983 musical based on the life and times of African-American singer Doris Troy, an American R&B singer and songwriter, known to her many fans as “Mama Soul”, truly impacted her.
The constant exposure to uplifting and inspiring music left Avery*Sunshine wanting to explore and her decision to study music at Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia. During her college career she, of course, chose music as her major. Now we can all guess what the soon-to-be-artist did being a typical college student – she changed her major more than once and ended up with a degree in philosophy. Big stretch! Throughout her career, Avery*Sunshine has also written her own music. What makes her so powerful, as an artist, are her lyrical choices which powerfully penetrates the spirit while also uplifting, cleansing, and rejuvenating individuals all at once. To keep her music modern, she continually works with selective producers that add the touches that makes her words dance.
She was invited back as a performer at the 2nd annual ATL Soul Life Music Fest which she says is a “big opportunity” for her and her music. Avery*Sunshine will join other returning artists – Grammy-nominated duo Kindred the Family Soul, Grammy and NAACP Image Award nominated Anthony David, and Grammy Nominated & Billboard charting Eric Roberson. Other musical peers who will join her include three-time Grammy Award winning songstress, Lalah Hathaway, the talented and critically acclaimed Rahsaan Patterson whose Love In Stereo album just made SoulTracks’ “50 Greatest Soul Music Album Covers”, and Goapele who Rolling Stone magazine says “can kick it in the streets as in the lounge.” Hailed as the largest annual Soul Music Festival in the SE region and sponsored by McDonalds, in 2015, fans traveled from all over the U.S for this first-of-its-kind experience. Avery*Sunshine remains excited about being a part of the line-up responsible for last year’s inaugural festival being sold out with a record setting attendance of 5,300 on the first night and over 5,100 on the second.
The singer-songwriter-pianist will bring her “unique mix of R&B, jazz, soul, hip-hop and gospel melodies – dubbed “jazzgosoul” by a friend (which) has led to collaborations with Anthony Hamilton, (and) famed pianist David Foster…” (Creative Loafing Atlanta) to the festival stage for the second year in a row. Currently working on her third album, Sunshine may surprise attendees with something that she’s currently working on.
Her yet to be named third album includes three songs that she has already started performing at events. “Jump” was inspired by one of David Bowie’s songs. Other songs from her upcoming album include “Prayer Room” which is about going into a warfare when you feel the enemy is attacking you the most, and “Dime” which makes individuals feel sexy all over!
Constantly touring, Avery*Sunshine’s positive energy and headstrong personality is unbelievably refreshing for the soul. She has clearly, at 41, worked very hard for her success!
“You have to work when you don’t want to. You have to surround yourself with like-minded people.”
One of Avery*Sunshine’s message is loud and clear. “Practice makes perfect! Nothing is impossible to do.” Readers and music lovers can definitely use the lessons that she has taught and continues through teach through her music. Her honestly humbling spirit can take individuals on a journey that your soul with thank you for! Her truly genuine and kind personality could be heard through the interview. Everyone could use a little bit more Sunshine in their life! To find out more about Avery*Sunshine, please visit www.AverySunshine.com
The ATL Soul Life Music Fest’s lineup features Lalah Hathaway, The Robert Glasper Experiment, Syleena Johnson, Eric Roberson, and Anthony David on Saturday, May 28th. Kindred the Family Soul, Angie Stone, Avery*Sunshine, Rahsaan Patterson, and Goapele will close out the two-day fest on Sunday, May 29th at Wolf Creek Amphitheater. To buy tickets, please visit Ticket Alternative.
Photos courtesy of Avery*Sunshine