Avery Sunshine: Music That Brightens Your Day (And Soul)

Soul singer Avery Sunshine has been quietly heating up the music scene with beautiful vocals and melodies that have everybody bobbing their heads and saying “Yasssss girl!” The singer and pianist has been heating up the Billboard R&B charts for the last seven years with her radio smashes “Sweet Afternoon,” “Ugly Part of Me” and “Call My Name,” which scorched its way to No. 1 (for a combined six weeks) on the Adult R&B Airplay charts.

Sunshine was born Denise Nicole White in the Chester, Pennsylvania, area. She did not grow up with center-stage ambitions. She was happy as a supporting player. She began taking classical piano lessons at the age of 8 years old and her Aunt Tootsie was her earliest musical influence. While many children resisted attending church, she looked forward to seeing her Aunt play the keys at the Spencer A.M.E. Church. “She would play the piano and this other lady, Miss Gloria, would play the organ,” she told Black Enterprise. “They would sing duets and they’d get the choir going. It felt like they were running the service. There was something very powerful about these two ladies both conducting the service with their instruments.”

When Aunt Tootsie wasn’t available, she’d often have Sunshine play in her place. Soon, she was playing at churches around Chester and earning $175 a service by the age of 13. She later joined the Grammy® Award nominated Wilmington Chester Mass Choir before heading off to Spelman College. There, she and classmate Maia Nkenge Wilson formed the duo, DaisyRew. They sang at both churches and clubs.

“I have no idea what I’d be doing if I wasn’t doing music,” Sunshine confessed to Ebony. “This is all I’ve ever done, all I ever wanted to do. Doors just always opened musically.”

“When I was 13, I started playing the piano in church and had no idea it would prepare me for the stage. My music is heavily influenced by gospel. At home, my parents played music from artists like Maze and Frankie Beverly and the Doobie Brothers. Then with my piano teachers, I worked on Rachmaninoff, Bach and Beethoven. My music is a combination of all that.”

“Talent comes first and the rest is persistence and hard work. You have to work when everybody else is sleeping. Believe when nobody else believes. If somebody told me 15 years ago that…