Following on from our piece earlier this month about Canadian artist Sunny Mac, we had the chance to ask the singer songwriter and producer Six Quick Questions in order to find out a bit more about what makes him tick.
EP: What’s the Sunny Mac story?
SM: I’ve been writing poetry since I was 14, and have always found it to be therapeutic in nature. A couple years before that I fell in love with music as an art, and every day since then a large chunk of my routines involve either the listening to and contemplation of music, or having it on in the background for whatever other activity I’m currently doing. Poetry became a natural form of self-expression for me which I found I could never release through any other medium, namely everyday conversations. This eventually led to songwriting, naturally inspired by the music I listen to every day. Granted, I feel as though I’ve created my own lane that is quite diverse and unique in sound, I have musical influences both sonically and lyrically that are clear to both myself and my fans.
My first project, ‘Celestial Swing’, is composed of a collection of some of the first poems I ever wrote, delving deep into themes of hope, depression, perspective, love, and finding our place in the universe. The entire process of creating the album, especially during recording sessions, felt like a natural extension of the therapeutic nature I found in writing. The catharsis of it allowed for me to release a lot of pent-up frustration and doubt I had deep within me, and one year later I am truly a more serene person.
EP: You’re very busy all the time – very driven. To what do you attribute your drive and determination?
SM: I appreciate that, thank you. To be completely honest it’s a quality I’ve only managed to develop within the past couple years. In high school I always put in the minimal amount of effort necessary to complete any given project, which I only realized years later was primarily due to my lack of interest in the majority of my classes. It wasn’t until I transformed my passive poetry hobby into my main source of enjoyment that I realized just how dedicated and driven I can be when I’m motivated by joy. Eventually an entrepreneurial spirit naturally developed within me, where I found myself working tirelessly night and day to lay a foundation on top of which I have the power to build anything so desire. It really is the freedom of autonomy that keeps me so driven — I know deep down that I would never find the happiness working for someone else on something I don’t have a genuine passion for.
EP: You work closely with Peace & Luck. How did you come across them? And what made you choose Right To Play as a charity?
SM: A good friend of mine is one of the co-founders of Peace & Luck, and we were both inspired by each other’s independent spirit. No matter what I end up making of myself over the course of my life, I want to be able to help people with the resources and connections I develop over time, and working with PAL has given me a great opportunity to take a dive into that world. Right To Play was an easy choice of charity for me, having been founded in my hometown of Toronto with a superfluous reputation for displaying honour and integrity in their operations. I believe children as the perpetual backbone of the future deserve to grow up happy and carefree regardless of their culture or family’s financial status, and Right To Play demonstrates this sentiment all around the world helping children to become joyous, productive members of society.
EP: What advice do you have for anyone wanting to get into music?
SM: It’s the same advice I would give to anyone wanting to get into anything: be passionate. That’s not to say that I think you should attempt to force passion on yourself if it doesn’t already exist within you, but rather choose in the first place to pursue that which you already love. I can tell you firsthand that passion breeds dedication, dedication breeds perseverance, and from there you should feel like you can accomplish anything in that field so long as you continue to have a love for it. Know beforehand that whatever journey you choose to embark on will be, or rather should be, the hardest thing you’ve ever done in your life. If it isn’t then I believe you’re doing yourself a disservice. Aim for the stars, and push through any and all adversity you will inevitably face, and you’ll know in the end that no matter what you made the most of your life by pursuing your dream.
EP: Tell us about your upcoming album, ‘Rabbit Whole’. How did you come up with the name?
SM: My upcoming album came to me as a direct parallel to the way I have been feeling in mind and spirit following my first project. With its literal release, and my metaphorical release of negative energy, I’ve been able to truly hone in on the positive mindset that I’ve been working so hard toward developing. I’m a much more calm, understanding person than I used to be, and so with this new project I am trying to convey a sense of tranquility and fun while still delivering the lyrical density I pride myself on.
The album’s title came to me one morning after I had watched ‘The Matrix’ the night before. At that time I already had the concept for the album fleshed out, but I was having some difficulty coming up with an apt name. The term rabbit hole originated from ‘Alice in Wonderland’, and in ‘The Matrix’ is used as a metaphor to describe the multi-layered dizzying conspiracy that unravels as the real world once you take the red pill. This concept of the real world as cloaked in lies and deception has always fascinated me, and I’ve always had (for better or worse) conspiratorial mindsets that drive me to overanalyze my surroundings and life as a whole. The theme behind this project is of someone who knowingly finds themself within an elaborate hole, and whether or not they have the necessary courage to become the fox that eats the rabbit whole in order find their way back to reality.
EP: What question do you wish someone would ask you in an interview but nobody ever does?
SM: Are you okay? It’s a question that’s more applicable to conversation between close friends, but it’s an important one that we all must try to develop a habit of using for betterment of society. Mental illness thankfully in recent decades has begun to move past the stigma that once enveloped it, and in a time when crises of self-worth and depression are so rampant within our youth addicted to their embellished virtual lives, more than ever we must work together as a species to take care of one another. The simple sentiment “are you okay?” has the power to make a big difference in the lives of those who don’t have the strength to seek help when they need it.
Lisa has been writing for over 20 years, starting as the entertainment editor on her university newspaper. Since then she's written for Popwrapped, Maximum Pop, Celebmix, and ListenOnRepeat.
Lisa loves all good music, with particular fondness for Jedward and David Bowie. She's interviewed Edward Grimes (Jedward), Kevin Godley, Trevor Horn, Paul Young, Peter Cox (Go West), Brendan B Brown (Wheatus), Bruce Foxton (The Jam), among many many more. Lisa is also available for freelance writing - please email firstname.lastname@example.org