By Kelly Harris, BrassyBrown.com Founder/Editor
My two-year-old often sings along with the music I play in the car. Often I peer through my rearview mirror to see Naomi singing:
“I see a brighter day in you…
I got sunshine on my mind…”
The lyrics are from the opening song of Avery Sunshine’s concert in New Orleans at the House of Blues. “I’ve got Sunshine” is one of my favorite songs. It’s one of a handful of songs that I feel are appropriate for a two-year-old black girl to sing along to without me cringing.
Think of your favorite auntie or go-to-girlfriend—and you’ve got Avery Sunshine. Her infectious smile, flirty eyelashes and copper natural hair accent her rich gospel/blues/soul vocals. She sings and talks to you in a way that makes you feel like she transformed the concert into the a cookout or basement party. Her show is a comfortable truth-telling experience that often has you waving your “sang gurrl” hand.
At times she lets the crowd sing, other moments she’s a choir director(instead of three-part harmony on one song, the crowd was separated into Michael Jackson, Luther Vandross and Aretha Franklin sections. All the time she is singing passionately.
Some singers want you to know (and want to show) they can sing. Avery is not a gimmicky singer. She sings with conviction from the inside and that’s what makes her music convincing. Although she can sing big, she resists over running/grunting a lyric. She masterfully gives each song the vocals needed in the moment.
When was the last time you heard well-crafted lyrics sung by a capable vocalist?
Avery Sunshine sings while seated at the keyboard, but it doesn’t create distance between the singer and audience (as it can sometimes feel with other artists). Instead she tests your grown folks-music knowledge by blending classics by such artists as: Anita Baker and Lenny Williams into her show. On her hit, Call My Name, she drops Destiny’s Child’s Say My Name into the song just to let you know, she’s hip to the game.
When I’m writing about concerts, I like to move around the venue and get a feel of the audience and experience the show from different angles. Starting from the balcony then to the floor and finally in the back of the venue near the bar, I found no dead energy. Everyone I saw was mesmerized—locked in.
On a night where there was a long list of event choices (including Katt Williams), fans showed up. She mentioned this was her first real time in New Orleans (although she had been an Essence Fest Super Lounger artist in the past) and often paused to thank the audience for their support.
Good music is always in demand and Avery Sunshine delivered a hell of a show with an encore that included gospel selections that would drive anyone to an altar.
Like my daughter, Naomi, you’ll be singing and feeling like sunshine too.