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#BEfeatured: Avery Sunshine “Spread a Little Sunshine”

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Avery Sunshine was born 9 miles south of Philly, in Chester, PA, so you know she’s got some real soul. Like many of us, she has her parents to thank for her music fixation. At house-party jams, they’d drop the needle on records from Jimmy Smith & Nina Simone to Miles Davis. Those memories from as young as 5 years old remain lodged in Avery’s brain. “I rememBEr playing “As The BEat Goes On” in the morning BEfore school and smelling the Thomas English Muffins that my mom was toasting for me.” From there, Avery added more achievement badges to her uniform-from playing piano at age 7 to songwriting at  a very early age. By the time she was 13, Avery had earned a gig as choir director at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church. Dreams of BEing a corporate lawyer turned into faded pictures when she realized music was tugging harder post-college (she was a piano major at Spelman College).

Since then, she’s BEen putting in work, and the accolades have continued to pour in. In 2010, Avery won BEst New Artist at the Reader’s Choice Awards. The following year, JET Magazine named her one of their 5 rising Indie Artists. BE got the chance to talk with Avery about her new album “The Sunroom”,  where she got the name Avery Sunshine from, and one of her biggest career highlights.

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Who is Avery Sunshine?  Avery Sunshine was kind of unexpected. I’m a mom and a musician. I love real hard. I love MUSIC, all kinds of music and this Avery Sunshine person was born from all that. It was at first experimental and the music is a representation of everything I’ve ever heard. My parents played music all the time when I was coming up and they always had these house parties. My girlfriend coined the type of music we do as  “JazzGoSoul” (Jazz, Gospel and Soul).

Where does the name Avery Sunshine come from? I read a funny story but tell our readers where you got it from. *Laughs. It was right at the last minute and me and my partner Dana were talking and he says all the touches are BEing made to finish the music , but they wanna know who you wanted to BE?, what is gonna BE your name?, and I just blurted out “Avery Sunshine”. I assume it comes from my love of the movie characters Suge Avery (Color Purple) and Sunshine (Harlem Nights). But it actually stuck with me and I thought about changing it but as I worked and was reminded of what my purpose was, I realized how the Sunshine name actually worked good as my name.

Now you attended Spelman College. Can you tell us about your HBCU experience? Was it what you thought it would BE? I don’t know if its what i thought it would BE but it was everything I NEEDED it to be. I so thankful to Bill Cosby for exposing not just me but so many other African Americans to go to college and get that higher education. The Cosby Show dang near was the television ad for college. I mean everyone wanted to attend Hillman. Spike Lee as well with School Daze just showing us blacks in college and having that experience and sharing it with the world. 

avery5What has BEen the highlight of your career so far? If any? BEing invited to do the Essence Festival! I mean it was such a great moment, I could actually cry right now thinking back about it. My entire family was there with me. I have had other moments of gratification and highlights in my career, but Essence sticks out as probably my greatest highlight I would say. It was a magical experience I tell you, there are a few Youtube clips available I’ve BEen told.

Talk to us about the new album “The Sunroom”. Yes the new project is called the “The Sunroom” and will BE released in May. After the first record did so well a lot of doors for me. So with this new album I got the chance to meet and work with people like Jazzy Jeff and artist Anita Wilson. I’ve got R.  Kelly’s band playing on a record called ” Call My Name” That is playing in Chicago right now on the radio. Chicago is a place where I’ve gotten alot of love and support so far. I’ve got stuff with Musiq Soulchild !! He is amazing and his energy is great. The name  “The Sunroom” comes from just that, What I mean is you know you have that place in your house that is your sanctuary. Where you can sing, nap, relax, go crazy that’s your “Sunroom”. Its that place you go to that’s your own. With this new album as far as sound, your gonna get some old school, some gospel, just stuff we wanted to express, we didn’t follow a formula. It sometimes is easy to think you need to follow a formula to BE successful or repeat that certain level of success but you don’t need it. Just your passion and your what your putting into your craft is your formula.

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Twitter: @AverySunshine

Facebook: @iamaverysunshine

Website: www.averysunshine.com

About the author

cmarshall has written 67 articles for BE Entertained Magazine

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