It’s a cold, blistery day in the NYC but I don’t mind, cause I’ve got Sunshine on my mind. Avery Sunshine, that is. Still floating on the cloud she left me on Monday afternoon when she stopped by the VH1 offices to do an impromptu performance and spread the word about her upcoming performance at the Highline Ballroom, I brace my umbrella against the brutal wind as it blows my weave every which-a-way, humming the hook to “I Got Sunshine” – the fourth single off of Avery’s self-titled debut album, determined to make it in one piece to the Highline for a chat with
Avery and some more of her soulful brew of “feel good” music with a message anyone can relate to – it’s all going to be OK.
The Highline provided the perfect setting for the night, a dim room punctuated with candle-lit tables and booths ideal for sitting down for a spell and taking in some Avery Sunshine. She was front and center with her keyboard and a three-piece band, ushering the crowd into an hour-long experience that was equal parts storytelling, comedy, taking it to church and taking it over the top with her powerhouse vocals. The audience immediately perked up with her opening cover of The Temptations’ “My Girl” and her hold on the crowd effortlessly intensified throughout her set.
Sunshine’s niche is her ability to shock and awe – she jars you with an unexpected comment like, “Ya’ll having a good time with me? I would take my shoes off, but I only polished the first three toes… I don’t want to offend,” followed right on up with a soul-stirring moment that evokes shouts from the crowd like “You better sing!” with such her rendition of the Clark Sisters’ “You Brought The Sunshine.” Her performance of “Everything I Got Is Yours” off of her upcoming album and “All In My Head” off her current project gave folks two undeniable reasons to get her latest release if they hadn’t already, and to make a mental note to cop the new album once it comes out. Sunshine’s honesty (she told the crowd she only has one record out so she has to play other songs that she likes) is only unmatched by her warmth and an inner light that radiates to all in her presence. I call it “The Avery Effect” and I got a chance to experience it firsthand when I sat down with the Chester, Pennsylvania native before the show to discuss her upcoming sophomore release, her definition of success, and what she learned from Tyler Perry.