*Labor Day marked the end of a fruitful summer for Avery*Sunshine. She spent the summer performing from Chicago to Scotland, sharing stages with the likes of B.B. King and Ledisi, yet somehow managed to release a new EP, Summer. Wait. Who is Avery*Sunshine? Avery*Sunshine is the product of a Chester, Pennsylvania and Soul Music, the artist responsible for “All in My Head” and critically acclaimed self-titled album. She’s more than a singer/songwriter/pianist, she’s a mother, daughter, friend, and therapist, aside from being so much more.
Chester, PA is a tough town; it’s a place that brings out the character in those that call it home, a place that many people scratch and claw to get away from. However, for Avery*Sunshine, it us the place that loved her, loved her family and their home. She grew up in the house that seemingly never turned the music off and hosted the community for fellowship over the likes of Marvin Gaye, Aretha Franklin, Luther Vandross and countless others. Music was a second language in her home, so it was natural for the youngster to be drawn to performance, first on a piano bench where she received her first gigs at churches around town and before landing behind the microphone in high school with the Wilmington-Chester Mass Choir and then at Atlanta’s historic Spelman College.
Urged on by friend and collaborator Dana Johnson after DaisyRew group mate Maia Johnson was called to Broadway, Avery*Sunshine became a solo artist, but on a mission to provide listeners with something real to listen to, something closer to the life we’re living. She says, “Folks are losing jobs, folks are losing houses and relationships are jacked up”, these are reason enough to give people something tangible to hear, and something that reaches their soul, something like the music she was surrounded by as a child. Her influences are evident throughout her music; “Bags Packed” off of the Summer EP is a throwback to the Motown Sound, but is still fresh for your cookout. Songs like “The Ugly Part of Me” and “Today” from the Avery Sunshine album sound like they taken from your Facebook status updates they’re so relatable to your life and mine.
She pours herself into the music and her live show is filled with all of that and more, “I dance, I tell jokes, we gonna have church, we gonna talk about love, we’ll have a therapy session, I’ll be the doctor and then we’ll flip it and I’ll tell them all of my problems,” she informs me when I ask what the Avery*Sunshine live experience is like.
Her stage name is befitting of who she is, she seemingly talks through a smile and brightens the atmosphere she occupies, an important trait in these dark days we’re living in. She’s currently doing spot shows across the U.S., including two nights ten minutes from my home in Philly before heading to Switzerland for a run through the country. In the interim, follow her on Twitter @averysunshine, visit www.averysunshine.com, download her music on iTunes and listen to “Bags Packed” below…thank me later!
This review/article was written by Plainfield, NJ native Al-Lateef Farmer. Contact him via: [email protected].