She was nominated for Best New Female Vocalist at the 2013 Academy Of Country Music Awards. She recently played the Opry for her 40th time! Her latest CD is titled "Provoked". We are talking about Sunny Sweeney. Sunny recently spoke with us about her life on and off the stage.
Q - Sunny, at one point you moved from Texas to New York City. Why did you choose New York City to live?
A - I moved there just because I had two friends that were living there and they needed another room mate and I wanted to take a break from college. So, I just said okay, I'll go! Nothing else to do. (laughs)
Q - You have a degree in public relations. Did you ever work in P.R.?
A - No, I did not. I had one job after college but mostly I just waited tables. It was what I wanted to do. Then when I started doing music it became evident it was helping me with my career too. I do use my degree.
Q - Did you envision working for a record company?
A - I didn't really know what I wanted to do. I just wanted to do something in entertainment P.R. like a publicist or be a journalist. I wanted to do something. I didn't know what. And then, I knew I wanted to work in the entertainment industry. When I started in music I said I guess this is what I was supposed to do. (laughs)
Q - After college, you played local shows in Austin. Were you ever in a band prior to that?
A - No. I didn't even get a guitar until two weeks before I had my first gig.
Q - What kind of material were you singing in the band?
A - I just did covers at first. I wrote three or four songs that were original songs but mostly I just did covers.
Q - Did you put the band together or did you join an existing band?
A - No. I just used pick-up players.
Q - How long were you playing bars in Austin?
A - I'm still doing that. Initially, from 2004 to 2006, that was pretty much what I did. I had gigs outside of Austin too, but most of 'em were just local gigs. Then I started playing out of town and got a more steady band. It was always using hired musicians. It was never like a band, a "band." I would always use the same guitar player or the same drummer and then it got really steady. I've had a couple different generations of bands.
Q - Are you now on the road as a support act or as a headliner?
A - Both. I did Dallas last weekend and headlined. The next night I opened for Alabama in Kentucky at the State Fair. I do both kind of things.
Q - How did this "Provoked" CD get made?
A - It was released through my label and I raised part of the money through Pledge Music.
Q - What is Pledge Music? Is it similar to KickStarter?
A - Yeah. It's the same thing, but it's just for music. That's all they do is music.
Q - Your own label is called what?
A - Well, it's released through Thirty Tigers. My own label is in conjunction with Thirty Tigers. It's called Aunt Daddy.
Q - You were on two record labels before this, Republic Nashville and Big Machine Records. Having your own label, what can you do that they couldn't do?
A - The difference is resources basically, financial resources, but the decision making is a lot quicker. I have a bigger hand in making the decisions with my own label. I loved what it was before, but this is just kind of a different avenue. So it's been really cool and I love my record and I'm proud of it.
Q - With your own label, you then have to go out and find promotion and distribution people.
A - That's what Thirty Tigers is. I'm doing everything with them. They have all that.
Q - You say, "My fans are everything to me." If your fans opinions don't matter to you, I would assume that you wouldn't be in this business. So, which came first, Sunny Sweeney or the fans of Sunny Sweeney?
A - What do you mean?
Q - Well, would there be fans if you did not step on stage first?
A - Well, I mean I did the gigs and I made fans, but I mean my fans are more important. Their opinions are very important to me.
Q - You also say, "I know my fans and I know what they want from me." Frank Sinatra once said the only thing you owe the public is a good performance. What are you talking about?
A - Well, my fans are very opinionated and they'll tell me if they like songs or not. Four of the songs on the CD are songs my fans have asked for, for years. They are very direct, why are you not recording this song? Because my fans are the ones that payed on Pledge Music to put forth some of the money for my new record I felt like it's something I owed them, to put the songs on the CD that they've been requesting.