[Interview] Sunny Sweeney

She longs to juggle career with family

Sunny Sweeney’s time has arrived.

The Texas singer-songwriter has built a loyal fan base one word of mouth at a time over the past 15 years with three fine albums and thousands of one-night gigs. She has gone from “You should know about Sunny Sweeney” to “Circle March 10 on the calendar because that’s when Sunny Sweeney’s new record is released.”

As she hits the road to promote “Trophy,” Sweeney is aware of the increased buzz. She appreciates the attention, but says the new record is not groundbreaking, just a natural progression.

“I always have written songs from where I am in life currently,” she says. “That said, I do feel like this may be the most adult record that I’ve made, the most adult kind of subject matter.”

Much of the anticipation has centered on “Bottle By My Bed,” a song co-written with Grammy Award winner Lori McKenna (Tim McGraw’s “Humble & Kind” and Little Big Town’s “Girl Crush”). It tells the story of Sweeney’s desire to have a child in heart-aching detail. The irony that McKenna is the mother of five isn’t lost on the singer, even though it didn’t dawn on her at the time.

“I co-write a lot of my songs and I asked four or five of my people if they liked the idea,” Sweeney says. “I got the impression that certain people didn’t want to do that. (Songwriting) is so subjective anyway, you don’t have to like it, but I like my idea, I stand by my idea so I’ll continue to pursue my idea.

“I almost didn’t ask Lori … because she has five kids and doesn’t know what it’s like to long for a child. I only had the title and the first line (‘All my friends are raisin’ babies and I’m still raisin’ cane’), so when I mentioned it, she said, ‘Yeah, yeah, let’s write that.’ As soon as it was done, I thought why did I not think of her first? She knows the love of a child more than anybody I know.”

Sweeney knows that God often laughs at the best-laid plans, so she concentrates on what she can control while maintaining a wish list on the side.

“I’ve gotten something I’ve wanted (a successful career), but I worked my (butt) off for it. If I feel like it’s something I truly want, I’ll figure out a way to make it happen, whatever it takes,” she says. “I would love to have critical success and sales success. That’s why you make records, for your fans to buy music and come to shows. And I want a child.

“People imagine this life we live, roses and champagne and fancy limos. And I’m like, ‘Uh, I shower at truck stops.’ That’s why I wear hats on stage a lot because you roll in at 6 for soundcheck at 6:15 when your show’s at 7. You just make it work. It’s a good thing that I’ve always flown by the seat of my pants, I’m an expert at that.”

Here’s hoping that it’s Sweeney’s time to become a mother. She will work her butt off to become at expert at that. And imagine how beautiful those new songs would be.

Sunny Sweeney performs “Bottle by My Bed”.


This story originally appeared in The Enquirer in March 2017.


Each week, Bob Hust and Bill Thompson feature the best songs – old and new – from artists they have loved for many years and others they have just discovered. The best songs transport people to a time and place. That’s the foundation of BS&B.

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