Born Denise White and raised in Chester, Pennsylvania (on the outskirts of Philadelphia), she had an upbringing filled with music, especially church gospel music. She started learning to play piano from the age of seven and attended Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia where she studied piano, graduating with a degree in philosophy.
Appointed Minister of Music at St. Paul AME Church in Atlanta, it was there that she met guitarist Dana Johnson and they have recorded and toured together ever since.
Their debut album AverySunshine was released in 2010 on their own label, Bigshine. This featured the popular track Ugly Part of Me that was also released as a single. Many of their compositions were improvised during car journeys together on tour, where they recorded her singing whilst driving, with Dana sat in the passenger seat accompanying her on the guitar.
Avery*Sunshine has featured on both Later…with Jools Holland and has led a choir on Songs of Praise. In 2011 she performed two sold-out shows at the Union Chapel in London, resulting in the 2012 live album Live at Union Chapel which features live tracks plus remixes of I Got Sunshine and Ugly Part of Me.
In 2012 she signed to Shanachie Records, America’s largest independent record label and released the album The Sun Room, which includes the single Call My Name and the popular, radio-friendly tracks Time to Shine and See You When I Get There.
In June 2014 she briefly toured the UK and appeared at The Old Market in Hove. Echoes have said of her, “That voice is extraordinary, matched in size only by her personality and her sense of fun. She’s capable of real subtlety when the moment calls for it as well as ladling on the gospel power when demanded"
Followers of her on Twitter and Facebook will know about her honest and often amusing videos, usually filmed in her car during the school run, talking to her two teenage children about life, politics and music.
SJM: You have a very positive attitude and your live performances are always full of joy. How do you do it?
Avery*Sunshine: “I absolutely LOVE performing! I'm grateful to do what I love for a living. I hope and pray that people always see that.”
Who have been your main inspirations and what have you learnt from them?
“My children have been and continue to be my main inspiration. They've taught me to be ‘present’ and honest.”
You’ve got a new album coming out…soon. Tell us about Twenty Sixty Four.
"Twenty Sixty Four is a collection of songs that share some of my life experiences. I wish I could say there was some super deep concept, but it's simply a bit of my life set to a few notes and some funky beats.”
What plans do you have for the future?
“We intend to continue making music that we like. Hopefully, in the near future, there will be some stage and screen opportunities coming our way. There is so much we’d like to do. We are just so grateful for all the wonderful things that have happened for us so far and we are excited for what the future holds.”
Avery*Sunshine appears at The Love Supreme Festival on Sunday 3rd July (Main Stage, 1:30pm) and at Ropetackle Arts Centre in Shoreham (8pm, tickets £15).