"I write music when I can't breathe," explains 25-year-old ethereal temptress SUNNY. "I hear choirs and operas in my head."
Such divine inspirations manifest themselves in a big way for the diminutive singer, soundtracking her quick climb from a relative nobody to a well-connected, remarkably piped vocal powerhouse on the Orlando scene.
In only six months, SUNNY has taken her winsome vision from unlikely idea to studio song craft and live improvisational transcendence, self-releasing a debut CD -- the electronically inclined "Overflow" -- and joining forces with local multi-instrumentalists Anthony Cole and Eugene Snowden for some splashes of momentary late-night, sweat-drenched beauty. Additionally, she spent several years as entertainment coordinator for The Club at Firestone, choreographing opening sets for techno luminaries Rabbit in the Moon and John Digweed.
The singer/songwriter route was never that far from SUNNY's original path, though. She's been working toward this her whole life, with so much yet to come.
From a young age, SUNNY learned the value of musical expression, mastering the violin and dance first, and applying the disciplines as necessary to court her creative muse as an adult. Coming from a family of practicing musicians, that muse would be fairly attainable. After talking her parents into springing for some recording gear, SUNNY holed herself up in her new home studio to exorcise, and ultimately make aural sense of, the pleasures and pains associated with growing up. "It's 10 years of therapy," she says of the exhaustive process.
The resulting "Overflow" travels a stream of consciousness, from dreamy, whispered personal reflections to powerful projection and airy sexuality, then back again, conceptually framing a young woman in search of her prime. And if you think you've heard it all before, think again. Unlike so many of the sparse Lilith indulgences of recent years, SUNNY's vision is ambitiously filtered through sweeping soundscapes of deep analog subversion and repetitive ambient insinuation.
The aftermath of "Overflow" has been special, indeed, with numerous power players in the community coming to SUNNY's aid. Most notable has been the influence of Snowden, who frequently invites her to guest growl on The Joint Chiefs' steamy soul revues.
The experiences have profoundly affected SUNNY's vocal explorations, directing her away from minimalist electronica and into the deeper hearts of soul. Her schizophrenic live persona alternates between bluesy forays with Cole and bassist Matt Lapham, and a more true-to-record acoustic/ electronic display.
"I'm not a recording singer, I'm a performance vocalist -- there's a difference in the power of the voice," she says.
Her next record, due this summer, is set to reflect some of those differences, while incorporating live instrumentation and more complex arrangements. But don't expect any campaigns for music-industry success: SUNNY contends that mixing music with the business of it would only ruin the experience; she's happy just as she is.