After a five year hiatus, Sunshine Anderson is back with the release of her second album, Sunshine At Midnight.
With her 2001 hit single “Heard It All Before,” she is
determined to prove that she is far from a one hit wonder. Battling a
stint of depression, Anderson returned to her roots to mentally cleanse
and prepare for a challenging project.
Recording with Matthew Knowles’ label, Music World Music, Anderson had more creative freedom. She wrote the majority of the music on Sunshine At Midnight, while Raphael Saadiq wrote one track, “Wear The Crown.”
Sunshine talks life, offers words of wisdom, and clears up any misconceptions.
HipHopRnBSoul.com: How did you get out of the depression that followed being dropped by your label and watching your audience dwindle?
Sunshine Anderson: Well, first, I wasn’t dropped. I asked for a release and the release was granted. After my Soulife deal, I signed a record to Atlantic with one song left to record on my album. With one song left to record on the album, Atlantic went into the merger with Warner Bros. They came out of the merger saying that it was going to be a year before they put my album out. They had other obligations and I didn’t want to wait. I asked for a release and the release was granted and they let me walk with my album. So I wasn’t dropped. When I left Atlantic, after selling almost 800,000 copies and going gold, I was just a little surprised to find out that there was nobody waving the red flag for an artist that was guaranteed to sell records. It was hard, of course it was hard. It was very depressing, you know, some days harder than others, but I had to make a decision as to whether I was going to lay down and die or whether I was going to fight to stay alive. I chose to stay alive and I worked very hard and here I am now.
HRS: What do you like the most about being signed to Matthew Knowles’ new label?
SA: Just that because I come from a very family-oriented structure, being in the music world is like being at home. I’m comfortable. Matthew is just like my father, you know, so it’s cool.
HRS: How was the process of signing with a new label different this time? What things were you looking for?
SA: You're just looking for someone who believes in you. You are looking for someone who knows what good music is, who believes in you enough to take you on and to do what’s necessary to put out a good record. Matthew and the Music World camp have proven time after time what they are capable of. So, it’s cool.
HRS: What are your thoughts on the Atlanta music scene?
SA: It’s great. It’s great. Atlanta is the new Hollywood of the South. It’s the new New York. It’s the new D.C., Chocolate City, you know, everyone is here. It’s great. The city, the state embraces our singers, embraces all of our artists and that’s why it’s great being here. Plus, I’m only three hours away from home.
HRS: You have been quoted as saying there is “something missing in the R&B world.” How do you plan on filling that void? Or do you?
SA: Well, I just think, that R&B is missing period. It’s slowly but surely starting to come back around with Mary J. Blige, and break-throughs Keyshia Cole, even Corinne Bailey Rae. It’s slowly but surely coming back around. R&B is missing and has been missing and it’s not infused with hip-hop, you know, it’s been non-existent. There used to be a time when even the hip-hop artists would come to R&B artists to at least sing hooks. Now you got Jim Jones and 50 Cent singing they own hooks. I think it’s just the sound of the times, something that is just going to have to take full circle like everything else does. All we can do is just continue to sing our hearts out and remind everyone that we are here. This music, all this music rooted from soul music, you know, so you can’t forget about us.
HRS: Talk about the making of Sunshine At Midnight.
SA: We got Mike City on the album, of course, Raphael Saadiq on the album, a little Dr. Dre feel. We got some new production: Matt Maddox, Lonnie Jackson, and the Knots. Sunshine definitely stepped her writing game up on this album, so we got some good writing. We got Tart Jackson, Yummy Venum, even Tina Campbell from Mary, Mary doing some writing. We got Laylah Hathaway on this album, again, doing some background vocals. We’re fortunate to have her. I think we have a solid project.
HRS: What are the songs that speak to you the most on the album?
SA: That would have to be “Wear the Crown” by Raphael Saadiq, produced by Raphael Saadiq. And “Forces of Nature” produced by Lonnie Jackson. Only because the recording was a little different than I had ever experienced. It was great to find out that Raphael Saadiq was a fan of Sunshine, you know. Just great people to work with.
HRS: How about shooting the new video? Were there any cool stories from the set?
SA: I mean, you know, we just had a ball. It was a great day! Everyone was there, it was just a great day!
HRS: Are you still cool with Macy Gray?
SA: Don’t really have a relationship with Macy. Haven’t heard from her. I would love to hear from her. I would love to talk to her. I would love to hang out with her. People just kind of go their separate ways over the years.
HRS: Who are some of the artists who have influenced you?
SA: I grew-up with the greats of course. The Chaka Khan’s, Donny Hathaways, Roberta Flacks, The Whisperers. Those are my favorites.
HRS: Who do you look forward to working with in the future?
SA: I’m interested in working with people that want to do good music. I am interested in working with people who like the kind of music that I like. I want to work with people who are down to work with Sunshine. That’s who I want to work with, I want to work with people that really want to work with me.
HRS: Do you have any words of advice to all of the artists who visit our site?
SA: Just know your craft. Arm yourself with the knowledge that’s out there. There are books, there’s research, there’s the internet, there’s even classes that you can take. Arm yourself with the knowledge that’s out there about what you’re trying to do. Just like you to college for nursing. There’s knowledge out there that can really speak to you. What are you trying to do, if you don’t know where you’re going, how do you really know what you want? How do you know what you want, if you don’t know where you’re going? Just sit down, and don’t just say ‘I want to be a singer’ and ‘oh, I can sing.’ Why do you want to be a singer? What do you know about this lifestyle?
HRS: Any last words for your fans out there?
SA: I just hope that they remember the good music we made last time a few years ago, and I am inviting them to go on this journey with me again.
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