One-On-One With Sunny Daye
Singer-songwriter Sunny Daye talks about consistency, identity, and breaking the mold.
*Sunny uses pronouns they/them, the article is written to honor and respect their preference.*
Born in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Sunny has had the personality of a star since they were born! Eventually moving to the Dallas area of Texas, it comes as no surprise that this high-energy being would grow up to decide to pursue a career in music.
Singing in choir since the age of 4, Sunny comes from a full family of vocalists, and has always expressed an interest in music. “I’m super inspired by Anita Baker, she was actually my first crush growing up!”, Sunny begins. “You know how on Saturday, the music is on and you’re helping the family clean up? I used to take my grandparents’ record, the ‘Giving you the best that I Got’ record, and I would just walk around with the case and just stare at it.”, Sunny confesses shyly.
With a long list of talents like knowing how to work on a car, being a plant parent to over 40 plants, athleticism in volleyball, basketball, and soccer, to even knowing how to work a bow and arrow (yes, they're, an archer), Sunny thanks their grandparents for making them so well-rounded and an overall good person.
“They have always been a really really good support system. They’re just really wonderful people.”
When it comes to musical inspirations, Sunny credits artists like Toni Braxton and Missy Elliott.
“Missy is literally like the all-around creative to me. The inflections of her voice when she’s rapping, the creative direction of her music videos, she’s literally like the perfect type of artist to me.”
As a film major with a minor in photography design, Sunny further developed their creative talents at Howard University while working as a part-time photographer. It was at this point, however, where their interests shifted to a different area of art, that would eventually land them the opportunity to earn cash in major cities like NYC and Atlanta.
“One day I was shooting a gender reveal and while I was changing my memory card, it had actually BROKE inside of my camera! So I couldn't take any pictures and I was just like, f*ck it, I gotta pick up another hobby to fix this camera. So I ended up moving to ATL and I was working as a receptionist at a tattoo shop.”
“On the slow days I would convince the artists that worked there to give me a tattoo, but on this particular day, they were like, you know what? Why don't you give yourself a tattoo? (laughs) so yeah, I was apprenticing under 5 artists and I began tattooing. I earned enough money to fix my camera, but I just wanted to tattoo.”
“And so that’s what I’m doing right now. And the crazy thing too is that I see the same thing is happening with my music. My music is taking off and doing what it needs to do, I see myself phasing out of being a tattoo artist. I love being an artist, and I love drawing, and I love creating art that lasts forever. However, my fucking back hurts so I’ma go ahead and put down the tattoo gun and pick up the mic (laughs)”
Learning about themselves and the things that fulfilled them was no easy task for Sunny, and while they admit that they are still learning parts of themselves, they believe that if you truly trust your guide and spirit, you will never be steered wrong.
“It took me a while to get here. I did not fully realize that I was a binary individual until I started talking more about gender. I had friends that I met from Twitter during the pandemic, I started getting more non-binary friends, and I kind of just started asking them questions you know, and trying to see what it is.”
“I hate labels. Just because, like, yea I understand that they were put in place to help people understand things, but a lot of labels have really really hard boundaries of what the definition of that thing is, and I don’t ever want to fit into one solid definition. I realized as you get older you grow and you change, and sexuality is fluid, and love is abundant, and you really, you’re just… growing. I’m just trying new things and I really have value in figuring out what I like and what I don’t like.”
“I just feel like there needs to be so much more room for people to grow, and explore themselves, and realize that like we’re all in the middle somewhere.”
Elaborating more about their spiritual beliefs, Sunny explains further how their identity feels more ‘God-like’ than either man or woman.
“I believe with the way that spirit works, the divine spirit, or the divine wonder, the divine creator, or creators, who put us on this planet, or put us on the celestial plane to live doesn’t have any ONE gender. I feel like they exist as the all-being, (laughs), I don’t know what to call it, but I feel like to be a creator of such a magnificent species you have to have both sides. Cis men and cis women are both one part of the same, and I feel like I’m just more connected to that one part. I don’t feel any closer to being a woman. I don’t feel any closer to being a man. I am floating right in the middle. I just am. I’m a God. You feel me? (laughs).”
When it comes to writing and connecting deeper with music, Sunny said the lockdown during quarantine is what helped them write, create, and become better with networking. They admit to having been going through a breakup at the time, and they were grateful for the chance to just sit down and limit distractions. Learning new ways to network for (tattoo) clients, Sunny took to social media and eventually began doing tattoos in DC, North Carolina, NYC, and Atlanta when the travel ban lifted. Promoting their art more on social media also led to them growing a listeners fan base for their music.
They talk about how even though they spent most of their time during quarantine writing about their ex, once they began working again, the trajectory of their upcoming EP changed completely.
“One thing I’m not about to do is applaud poor behavior. You fucked up, I’m not about to immortalize you. It was gonna be really cakey, you know, because I’m that n*gga, if I like you, I wanna put you in a song- but I’m not about to immortalize poor character. So I just changed everything, the name of it the date it’s dropping, and I’m glad I did that because the vibe of it now is so much better.”
“Right now I’m thinking of calling it ‘Patron Of The Sun’ and I want to drop it on October 16th, but I’m a Gemini so who knows if that’s gonna be the name of it (laughs) but for right now that’s the title. I’m literally the sun, and in the humblest way possible, everyone needs to revolve around me (laughs).”
With the anticipation of their EP, Sunny has goals of creating a presence that allows more black queer individuals to be in the forefront.
“My whole team is black and queer. My manager is black, non-binary queer, I have a black chef, my producer is black and queer, my engineer is black and queer, my stylist, loving, black and queer. I feel like it’s just really easy to do that. There are so many people in the industry that are just so so amazing. And we need to be at the forefront, we need to be at the forefront! I feel like, after a while, people will be thinking that the industry is really saturated. And that’s not what it is at all. I feel like people are just looking at the same kind of person.”
Sunny has goals to eventually get back into film and credits Teyana Taylor for the inspiration. They want to also use their platform to highlight queer brands through collaborations and partnerships. With a lot to accomplish and the energy to do so, there’s no doubt that Sunny will check off every item on their list of goals.