MuzicNotez: First off, it’s an honor to be doing this interview with you, thanks for taking the time to sit down with us.
Your artist name is AV Super Sunshine, when did you adopt that name, and what does it mean to you?
AV Super Sunshine: I was given the name by Grammy nominated songwriter, James House, when I was invited to Nashville in the summer of 2013 to record a group of songs at Ben Folds’ studio. One of the songs we recorded was “Super Sunshine Girl” and my initials are AV. James hit on the name AV Super Sunshine.
The AV Super Sunshine name fits both my music and my personality perfectly. It’s real personal. I’m a survivor of long-term, severe abuse. A few years ago I was diagnosed with PTSD, depression and anxiety disorder. I’ve used songwriting as a way to cope. Super Sunshine is my way of looking for the good in the world, no matter what. And maybe even the hope that my songs will help others with similar circumstances or illness do the same.
MuzicNotez: What motivated you to start creating music? What age did you begin?
AV Super Sunshine: I wrote my first song at the age of four. It’s a funny story which ends with me getting my mouth washed out with soap! The song was titled “Wiggly Bum Bum” which was also the hook and described the neighbor lady’s behind. I taught it to her two oldest boys and you can imagine what happened next.
I guess I’ve always had songs going on inside my head. When my illness became overwhelming the songs got real loud and with a strong message. Writing music helps me manage the anxiety disorder, finding calm by getting them out of my head and perfected. Also, in a simple way, writing and performing gives me a sense of purpose, especially if the life experiences I write about help others.
MuzicNotez: Who were your musical influences, idols, or bands growing up that have helped mold you into the musician you are today? Or helped mold the music that you create?
AV Super Sunshine: Here’s the short list in alphabetical order: Beck, David Bowie, Kurt Cobain, Alice Cooper, Lady Gaga, Jimi Hendrix, Frank Zappa. I know – I’m eclectic!
MuzicNotez: What’s the ultimate goal you want your music to achieve, or for you to achieve in your career as a musician? Any particular message you wish to send?
AV Super Sunshine: I’ve been working very hard to be a positive influence to others. Maybe all the bad stuff that happened to me would somehow make better sense, if my songs could help people grow or heal.
As far as my career, that’s up to the fans. I have a film coming out next year titled “Alien Abduction” based on one of my songs from my next release, Candyland. The Alien Abduction song is Act I of a 12 Act rock concept CD which I wrote while I quit anti-depressants cold turkey. If the fans like the film then there’s a chance I could make Candyland into a full Hollywood production, like the Who’s “Tommy.”
MuzicNotez: Your single ‘Baby Goodbye’ has done very well, what was the motivation behind this song
AV Super Sunshine: When I became well enough, I started playing my songs for an audience at a local weekly open mic, just to see if they worked. One night, I was having a bad night and I couldn’t get myself settled enough inside to go to that open mic. I wrote “Baby Goodbye” to that part of myself that couldn’t get off the couch. I’m singing to that guy and everyone with a similar challenge. In the hook I’m saying it’s okay if you can’t make it off the couch today, we’ll try again tomorrow. Healing takes patience.
MuzicNotez: What is your writing process like?
AV Super Sunshine: I’m very selective in what I write about. It has to be something that I have first-hand knowledge of because I have to sing it. The fans will know if I don’t own it. It also has to have meaning for the fans. It needs to resonate with them. I’m fortunate and the melodies come pretty easily. So, the story and the lyrics is where I concentrate my most effort. I will re-write song lyrics over and over looking for even subtle improvements.
MuzicNotez: You’re from Wisconsin (same as us!), what’s the music scene like for you here?
AV Super Sunshine: Wisconsin has plenty of talented artists, musicians and bands playing original music. I got to know a large share of the songwriters here when I was the host of the Fox Valley’s largest weekly open mic. Most would agree that Wisconsin can be a difficult state to launch a music career from.
With that said, while getting local love is a slow process, Wisconsin does reward quality and when you get fans here, they are very loyal. The best in the country. I’ve been proving myself in other areas of the country and I will continue to try my best to win their hearts.
MuzicNotez: What’s the greatest concert you’ve ever been to or performed?
AV Super Sunshine: The open mic which I hosted (New Moon Cafe, Oshkosh) was regularly supported by the local Oshkosh Association for Retarded Citizens (ARC). They would bring in a group each week and take the first row of tables. Some of my best performers were from the ARC and included Norm, Terry and the infamous Rascal Bob.
These cats had real heart and would bring a “you are my sunshine” that would melt your heart. On Rascal Bob’s birthday I introduced him as “Disco” Bob which made him roar with laughter and sing Melissa Manchester’s “Don’t Cry Out Loud” Acapella. The capacity crowd then sang him “Happy Birthday” after which Rascal belted out the traditional return refrain so loud I thought a speaker blew.
MuzicNotez: What else are you working on? What can we expect to see and hear from you in the future?
AV Super Sunshine: I recently teamed with KES Distribution and National Marketing, based in Chicago, IL, who’ve been helping me take my music to the next level. Together with my label, Victor House Records, we have been launching a series of music projects. In October we released a Kurt Cobain tribute EP titled “Just Like Kurt,” which includes the “Just Like Kurt” and “Alien Abduction” singles. It’s been doing very well at CMJ radio.
We also have a new CD releasing this month to AAA rock radio. The title track “Baby Goodbye” was released as a single in July to CMJ radio and it charted #7 on Billboard’s Hot Single Sales chart the week of October 17th. We’ve had a lot of excitement generated about this record and promotional copies are on their way to stations right now.
My “Candyland” CD is scheduled to release in early 2016. The AV Super Sunshine “Alien Abduction” film will be released with the CD and will begin making the rounds of film festivals. A tour is currently being booked to promote both the “Just Like Kurt” CD and “Alien Abduction” Film.
MuzicNotez: Anything else you wish to say about yourself or your music? Any message for your fans?
AV Super Sunshine: I’m a newcomer, so I’m still learning everything involved with how to be an artist. I appreciate the support and love that has gotten me this far. Above everything else, I’ve been trying very hard to learn who my fans are and how I can add value to their lives. I love connecting with them in a real and personal way.
As a true independent, making high quality music, video and film in professional recording/film studios with real musicians/actors is both expensive and time consuming. It is even more time consuming and expensive to get heard or seen. Your media support and the support of the fans has been inspiring. I feel grateful every day. And I will continue to try my hardest to work hard for your love and respect.
Thanks for taking the time to be interviewed by us at MuzicNotez. We will inform you once this interview is posted online! Stay tuned.