Sunny Ozell is gearing up for the release of her debut solo album at the end of the month, ready to surprise the world with her talents and vocal ability.
We got the opportunity to chat to Sunny before the release about what we should expect from her music going forward, the creative process she goes through when creating new material and even her marriage with Patrick Stewart in a new and exclusive interview. Read on to find out what she had to say.
For those who may not yet have heard your sound, how best would you describe yourself as an artist?
I've always thought of myself as a singer, even when I was a child. There is no gap between the thought of what I want to sing, and the sound that I then produce, so I'd say that my sound is about as natural as it gets.
When did you realise that music was a career path you wanted to go down?
Very early, when I was about 11 or 12 years old.
What is it about the world of music that you love?
Obviously, aside from music itself, I actually really love the people. There's a kind of intimacy that can happen between musicians, and if they're people you enjoy and respect as humans, that intimacy is a real privilege.
Where do you draw inspiration and influence from for your work?
The way that I sing at this point in my life is the distillation of years of hard work and struggle and ups and downs, and I'm so grateful to still be doing it that I suppose I draw inspiration from the gratitude itself.
Talk us through the creative process behind your upcoming debut album 'Take It With Me'.
Over the years, I've been trying to develop a repertoire that really spoke to the kind of music that move me personally - what I'd call soul music that doesn't need to be limited in any way to the traditional definition of that genre (i.e. Motown or Stax records, for instance).
To me, soul music is anything that is made from the heart, and therefore moves the listener; it's not overly self-aware, and leaves room for the listener to make their own conclusions. I feel that 'Take It With Me' achieves that; it's a collection of beautifully made songs that are delivered honestly and without artifice, and that will hopefully move someone who hears it.
How important is it for you to have creative control over your material?
It's absolutely everything. If I can't connect emotionally with the music I'm making, there's no point making it in the first place.
If you could work with anybody going forward on new music, who would you choose and why?
I'd love to work with producers like Jon Brion or T Bone Burnett who both in their time have made countless records that I adore, and whose maturity as artists allow their work to breathe and exist outside of genres or time.
How difficult would you say it is to make a name for yourself in this career?
Oh boy, that's a tough question to answer. It's no secret that the music business is a shadow of its former self - the glory days are decidedly over. That said, I think music fans are still open to being surprised by authentically made music and I hope there's something on 'Take It With Me' that will delight new listeners.
You're used to living life in the spotlight with your marriage to Patrick Stewart, do you ever get used to it?
I don't actually! When something very splashy comes around, like the Emmys or the BAFTAs, I'm still bowled over that a gal from Reno, Nevada is on the arm of a gent like Patrick Stewart. And frankly, I hope it's always that way for me.
Is it difficult to maintain a relationship when you're under such a glare?
The whole 'celebrity' thinig only intrudes on our lives when we're trying to have a relatively normal dinner out. People with their darn phones and their Instagram accounts are relentless, and it's profoundly obnoxious at times. Besides that, we're a very normal, loving couple, and we have a great time together.
Do you think you're going to surprise people with this new album?
Patrick and I have had mutual friends for years that are only just now hearing my work, and if they've been surprised (and they have) then I reckon others will be as well. I consider it a kind of advantage: "Hey! Patrick Stewart's wife can actually SING!"
Finally what should we expect to see from you in the coming weeks and months?
Some really rocking live shows, a great music video and a new record as soon as I can get back in the studio!
Sunny Ozell's debut album 'Take It With Me' is to be released on July 31.
Tagged in Patrick Stewart