Interveiw/Premeire: Sunny Reyne

Our hearts melted when we heard Sunny Reyne‘s second single, ‘Carefully’. She quietly released ‘Used To This’, her debut track, back in 2020; it’s an intimate and intriguing song that introduced her enormous talent to the world. Today, we’re sharing another gem from the Melbourne vocalist and musician in the form of ‘Insanity’.

From Sunny’s upcoming ‘Right Now’ EP, ‘Insanity’ is a refrained number that illustrates the importance of having a support system to cope with times of anxiety.

Supporting a subtle and very mellow neo-soul-pop tinged sound. That is all glued together by her rhythmic vocal phrasing and layering, punchy verses and pre-choruses contrasting with a stripped-back chorus. It’s the kind of catchy tune that could propel her to mainstream recognition.

It’s hard not to fall head over heels in love with Reyne’s earthy neo-soul style.

“Insanity is about finding your person to lean on in a time of anxiety. In this song, I wanted to focus mostly on vocal layering and the idea of vocals as the main provider of groove, rather than solely relying on instrumentation.”

Below we chat to Reyne about the EP’s release, her songwriting process, influences and more.

The release of your debut EP, ‘Right Now’, is just around the corner; how are you feeling about it? Also, what’s the significance of the title?

I’m feeling excited! This is my first proper release into the world, so the trajectory has been really exciting to watch. Finally releasing music you’ve been working on for a long time is a very rewarding process. The title Right Now is my play on the theme of striving to exist more presently as a person and more presently in a single moment, a theme that also runs throughout all the songs.

How did you begin singing and making music?

I’ve been singing for as long as I can remember. I grew up with a lot of old soul, alt-rock and jazz around the house, with my first proper delve into singing being jazz standards through my love of Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday. I didn’t start properly writing music until after I finished high school. Writing music was a big thing in my university studies which really pushed my love for it. There’s something very freeing and cathartic about performing purely original music that really drives me to continue writing and creating new music.

Your music is characterised by thoughtful lyricism, which we love. Is there a conscious effort to use your music to spark conversation, or does it just come naturally?

I don’t always necessarily go into writing a song with a strong idea in mind, but I do find once I’ve found a common theme or idea that I want to lean into amongst my lyrics then it starts to flow fairly easily for me. In saying that, writing and making music is definitely my way of communicating things that I otherwise struggle expressing or articulating so it’s rewarding for me to use music as a means to get a message across.

Do you have a specific songwriting process?

Generally, my process begins by starting with a simple chord progression that sparks a melodic idea that I can play around with. I then tend to end up with a million different voice memos until I find what I’m looking for. It’s always a fairly simple idea to begin with and I then see what I can do to make it more interesting – whether that’s with a distinctive riff, or some vocal harmonies, or taking the melody in a more unpredictable direction. It’s then about bringing it to whoever I’m working with and seeing how we can flesh it out and make it more interesting from there.

Your music has a distinct neo-soul sound, but it also incorporates elements of alt-pop; if you had to narrow it down to five, who would be your biggest influences?

My biggest influences at the moment and the artists who really inspired the writing of this EP are Lianne La Havas, Cleo Sol, Noya Rao, Jordan Rakei and Charlotte Day Wilson – besides the latter it definitely gives away my love for all things UK jazz and soul.

How does Lewis Moody’s production enhance your songs? Also, how did the collaboration come about?

Lewis is able to take an idea of mine and transform it into something really exciting and interesting almost instantly. He’s playing a lot of the keys and synth parts on these songs, so also having access to his skills there and all those different sonic ideas during the production process really enhanced everything too.

We connected in 2021 after he reached out to see if we wanted to work on some music together and we found a really instant working and writing connection. He made it down to Melbourne only briefly to work on this EP so since we live in different countries it was predominantly made over Zoom so it’s been really fun watching how that has transformed the direction the music has taken as well.

From Jazz FM to Music Is My Sanctuary, everyone has been singing your praises following your singles. How did you receive all this acclaim?

I have a great team at Bridge The Gap that’s been so supportive and helpful in pushing the music out to some great people, but I’d like to think that I’m touching on an interesting sound that is less about heavy production or instrumentation and more about the vocals and stripped-back approach that manages to engage people.

How has Melbourne shaped your sound?

The music scene here is really strong – there are some amazing artists out here. I’m constantly inspired by the music that is being made here and the different genres and styles that are produced. It’s a small but mighty scene where everyone connects with each other and gigs are happening constantly, so the energy and also the hard work and hustle that each artist puts into their craft has definitely influenced my sound and drive to make music.

Lastly, who should we look out for from the Melbourne scene?

Some of my favourite singers in Melbourne at the moment are Feign Jima, Tiana Khasi and Rita Satch.

CF Smith

Permeating your ears with good music.

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