Avery Sunshine | Album Review

With a successful and thriving career already under her belt – that has seen Avery Sunshine perform with the likes of Michael Buble, Rachelle Ferrell and Karen Clark-Sheard – this multi-faceted songstress now unveils her debut album as a solo artist. A highly skilled keys player and vocalist, she has also lent her voice to the movie soundtrack for The Fighting Temptations, and was the choral director for the Tony Award winning production of Dreamgirls.

This self-titled album demonstrates Avery’s blend of jazz, soul, gospel and R&B, which tips its hat to her rich pedigree in gospel through her vocal arrangement and delivery, as well as giving more than a wink to her peers with its use of clever and frank lyrics and tight modern production (even when it’s emulating an old school sound). It truly enters the ear like honey and you can see why people draw comparisons with the likes of Jill Scott.

Sunshine rarely steps out of the box, as such, but there is no rule that says you have to. Neither does she employ any gimmicks or faddy sounds; Avery’s style relies on good old-fashioned quality. She writes well-crafted lyrics, uses luscious stylised chord progressions and refined arrangements that go together to create a body of work that is classy, honest, earthy, mature and produced to a well-polished sparkle by Avery’s Grammy winning partner, Dana Johnson.

Some tracks that are worthy of particular note for me are “All In My Head”, a mid-tempo jam where Avery’s voice goes through sounding tender, vulnerable, sophisticated and powerful. The bass driven groove here reminds me a little of D’Angelo’s “Feel Like Makin’ Love” cover on Voodoo.

When it comes to her voice, her stylish phrasing sounds effortless – and with some beautiful runs and great note choice, Avery shows us that she has truly got it. Also noteworthy are “Pinin” and “Blessin’ Me”.

We thank Avery for what she calls “her therapy” and look forward to seeing her alongside Anthony David at London’s Jazz Café on November 4th.

–Matt Hamilton

Avery Sunshine’s debut album is out now via Dome Records.


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