With a name like Sunshine Anderson, she’s gotta bring the heat when it comes to vocals. The North Carolina-bred songstress claims that her rich and soulful sound is a staple of the South. With a round-the-way chick demeanor wrapped in subtle sex appeal, Ms. Anderson leans across a conference table and spills her hopes about her new album, Sunshine at Midnight, as well as her theories about love, lyrics, and fantasy lunches.
When you came out with your debut single, “Heard It All Before,”Â a lot of people were like, “Whoa! She’s cynical.”Â What do you think the first impression of this single, “Something I Wanna Give You,”Â is going to be?
The same thing. Expect pure, honest, raw vocals. What you see is what you get—I wouldn’t change anything. The sisters know they can look to someone that’s gon’ ride for them.
What is it about your music shows that you grew up in the South?
What helped me in the beginning was the fact that the fans were used to listening to the sweet vocals of Mariah Carey, Janet Jackson, and Aaliyah. I came in kicking the doors down with my power singing. I think it worked because it reminded you of the old days; it reminded you of the Gladys Knights and the Aretha Franklins. I think Southern music has just that—it’s rich and powerful. That down home Southern feel just comes out. It’s gritty and grimy and it’s the struggle. Same thing with Anthony Hamilton. I hear the pain and struggle in his voice. I hope people get that from me.
Out of the new R&B female artists, who do you think will really stick?
I like Keyshia Cole. She reminds me of the early Sunshine. I think there’s room for everyone but with Keyshia, it’s honest and raw when it comes out. It’s from the heart and it’s all emotion. I think she’ll stick.
If you could have lunch with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be?
That would have to be Phyllis Hyman. I would just like to talk to her or Donny Hathaway and find out what was so bad… I had a very close girlfriend who attempted suicide and I never understood why anyone would do that. But I’ve been through a really hard time these past five years and I understand. I could never do that, but I understand what could be going on in your life to make you say, “I don’t need this anymore.”Â It bothers me when I think about Donny Hathaway and Phyllis Hyman, with the success that they had—they couldn’t see how we saw them. But if I could have just one hour with one of those people, just to find out how they really felt and why. If I could just tell them: “If I could change your mind about committing suicide, and if I could tell you how much I loved you then and how I still do.”Â I hope and pray that would change their mind.
Who would you like to collaborate with in the future?
I have always thought a Sunshine/Jaheim record would be great because I think our voices compliment each other. I love Carl Thomas too.
You sing a lot about love and relationships. What is one piece of advice you can offer to young women about love, something that you wish you knew at that age?
Just be true to yourself. Don’t do anything that’s out of your character and don’t let anyone pressure you into doing something that you’re not comfortable with. Hold your mind first. God speaks to you. Don’t let anyone talk you into anything.