Sunny Sweeney is not one to mince words. In fact, the words she uses on her fourth studio album, Trophy—released today (March 10)—will no doubt pierce your heart, but at the same time make you roll with laughter.
Trophy is not for the faint of heart. The 10-track soul-baring record will give you a glimpse into Sunny’s life. With the collaboration of songwriters like Lori McKenna, Jay Clementi and Caitlyn Smith, Sunny was able to bring her own personal experiences—divorce, child baring, love and a friend’s suicide—to life in her latest effort.
“I guess it’s just like more grown up, not grown up, but more mature songs,” Sunny tells Nash Country Daily. “All of my songs have been about real life, but this one has been more about actual things that I’ve been going through in my life. I write about stuff I know. I’ve have had some really horrible dramatic crap in my life and I’m always like, ‘Am I the only person that this happens to?’ I know that I’m not, but I don’t talk about that stuff with my friends. I don’t know if they maybe have gone through other things like that too. I’m always like, ‘Huh?’ The way that I cope with it is sarcasm and humor. It kind of all goes together. I think when you can actually write about stuff that’s emotional, for me it’s just like writing in a journal. Then you kind of go, ‘Oh, God here goes. I’m putting it on a record.’ I hope that people like it.”
Sunny’s sarcasm and humor are evident on tracks like “Better Bad Idea” and “Trophy.” But there are no shortage of devastatingly heartbreaking songs like “Unsaid,” “I Feel Like Hank Williams Tonight,” “Pass the Pain” and “Bottle By My Bed,” the latter of which Sunny wrote about the inability to have a child.
“I’ve wanted to write it for three or four—well it’s been written for two years,” Sunny said of “Bottle By My Bed.” “I probably wanted to write it for two years before that. I mentioned it to a couple of different people. Nobody bit. One day I was writing with Lori McKenna and I was like, ‘I don’t know if you’ll like this or not.’ She goes, ‘Yes, I like that.’ I was thinking to myself, ‘She doesn’t know what it’s like to want a kid. She has five kids.’ Then as it turned out, she’s the person I should have written it with because she knows the love of a child, which is all I want. It ended up being perfect. That’s also one of my favorite songs on the record. I didn’t ever think I’d record it. I didn’t even think I’d sing it. I wrote it and went back to my hotel that night and played it on my phone. I was like, ‘Man, that felt good. Okay, next.’
“Then the next week I thought, ‘Maybe I’ll try to sing it at a songwriters night because this seems like a pretty cool song.’ But I was also like, ‘Maybe you shouldn’t sing it. You don’t know what you’re going to be getting into.’ People are really opinionated,” she adds. “I don’t really care. I’m opinionated too, but I would never go up to somebody and be like, ‘Why would you write that song?’ Some people say that. Other people are like, ‘Can I tell you my story? I’ve had nine miscarriages.’ Then I’m thinking, ‘Damn. I don’t have anything on you.’ I hope it helps people.”
Listening to a Sunny Sweeney album, two sides of the singer reveal themselves. Is she the tough chick with the sarcastic wit or the sensitive soul that could break your heart with the swipe of her pen?
“I’m the biggest weenie,” said Sunny. “There’s a lot of parts of me that I feel like I have really thick skin. Being in this business, you have to have thick skin. For 15 years, that’s been kind of my job is to just have thick skin. I booked myself for year and had guys down in Texas booking agents like, ‘What are we going to do with a girl onstage?’ Same thing you’re going to do with a guy. Let me have my guitar. We’ll sing some songs. That kind of makes you have thick skin, but then also I’m really sensitive too. I get my feelings hurt pretty easily.”
With four albums under her belt, the Texas native is currently touring the country in support of her new album on the appropriately named Trophy Tour.
“It’s been going so good too, we’re really happy,” Sunny reveals. “We been very fortunate to have really great awesome shows.”
Trophy Track Listing
1. “Pass The Pain” – (Jay Clementi/Monty Holmes/Sunny Sweeney)
2. “Better Bad Idea” – (Buddy Owens/Galen Griffin/Sunny Sweeney)
3. “Nothing Wrong With Texas” – (Lori McKenna/Sunny Sweeney)
4. “Pills” – (Brennen Leigh/Noel McKay)
5. “Bottle By My Bed” – (Lori McKenna/Sunny Sweeney)
6. “Why People Change” – (Heather Morgan/Sunny Sweeney)
7. “I Feel Like Hank Williams Tonight” – (Chris Wall)
8. “Grow Old With Me” – (Lori McKenna/Sunny Sweeney)
9. “Trophy” – (Lori McKenna/Sunny Sweeney)
10.”Unsaid” – (Caitlyn Smith/Sunny Sweeney)
Photo courtesy All Eyes Media