Sunny Ozell – 20 Questions

Sunny Ozell is a songstress who originally is from Reno, Nevada but moved to New York in 2004 where she performed in clubs for a while before meeting her husband. She has released her debut album ‘Take It With Me’ which hears her own take on some familiar and unfamiliar songs. She sat down and took part in another of Pete’s (customised) 20 Questions. Here are her responses: 

  • What was it like growing up in Reno, Nevada?

Lovely and wholesome. I spent a lot of time outdoors, in all four seasons.

  • Can you tell me about your time with the Reno Opera Company please?

At the time I was working with them, I was the only child member of the adult chorus. Twenty years ago, the Reno Opera Company was actually a very robust and well-supported organization, and I had the good fortune to be exposed to some serious professionalism.

  • Randy Jackson or Randy Newman?

Who is Randy Jackson?

  • Tell me about ‘Git Gone’ please

Aaron Lee Tasjan joined our band and I instantly fell in love with his work. I asked him to send on some tunes that he thought might have a home on the record we were getting ready to make, and when I heard the little demo of “Git Gone” I knew it was a killer.

  • Can you dance? Do you dance? How do your family rate your dancing?

I can dance a bit of samba and salsa, mainly because I love the music. But I don’t think I’m terribly good at it, and I think my family would agree.

  •  Who is in your current touring lineup?

Well, that depends on the country. Here in the UK, my musical director and drummer Ethan Eubanks joins me from the states, and then we round things out with a phenomenal line-up of UK players: Rob Gentry on keys, Greig Robinson on bass, and John McCallum on guitar.

  • What did you learn from performing in New York clubs?

Honestly, the first time I had my own show in NYC, I felt like I’d “arrived”. I don’t think I’ll ever get over the thrill of being able to call myself a “New York musician”. For the last decade, I’ve been surrounded by the best of the best, and there’s nothing better than trying to keep up with the best.

  • How did you come across David Mead and his song ‘Only in the Movies’?

Ethan Eubanks brought it to the project. He’s an old colleague of David’s and he’d always felt that tune didn’t get the exposure it deserved.

  • The radio is playing…what song would you cross the room to turn UP and what song would you cross the room to turn OFF?

I’ll turn up most things really, as my tastes are really wide. To be specific though, any 80’s power ballad will have me yelling along. I’ll turn OFF anything musical theatre related.

  • Does your husband Sir Patrick Stewart have a favourite track off your new album ‘Take It With Me’? If so, which song is his favourite and why?

He loves the title track, but can’t listen to it without getting choked up. As he’s a huge Randy Newman fan, he also loves “Louisiana 1927”.

  • Do you have any favoured stage instruments and/or microphones?

I’ve had the privilege over the years to record on some incredible mics. Neumanns are a fave.

  • Name a TV series where the theme music was better than the actual shows and do you know who created or recorded it?

I’m afraid I don’t watch much TV!

  • Best rock’n’roll swagger recording NOT by the Rolling Stones

“Hold On, I’m Comin’ “ by Sam and Dave

  • Your take on Howard Jones’s ‘No One Is To Blame’ is a very interesting version. What made you want to strip back such an electronic eighties song?

Because it had really good bones, good structure.

  • An acoustic gem? What song/tune and who by? What’s the appeal?

Anything at all by Gillian Welch. She’s about as honest as it gets.

  • Two tickets suddenly arrive for a live performance, they are for someone you have always wanted to see…….which act or artist? And which numbers will be hoping to hear?

Bob Marley. “Thank you Lord”

  • Did you enjoy school? Whether you did or not, which song reminds you of schooldays (artist/title/source album)?

I did enjoy school, but I can’t say there’s only one song that makes me think of the twenty plus years I spent getting an education…that’s too broad a timeframe I’m afraid.

  • Name a recording (an album maybe) that really ‘grew’ on you and has ended up as essential listening ? What is it about this recording that you value?

Beck’s album “Sea Change”. It overwhelmed me at first, but now I hear all the emotional maturity and pain and growth that it must have taken him to record it.

  • Is there anything you once wore on stage that now makes you laugh?

Too many to list. Lots of skin tight polyester.

  • Name an actor or actress who made a listenable song recording – and what’s the appeal?

I can’t say I’m award of any but I’m sure they exist…?

Pete Sargeant

Sunny Ozell’s debut album ‘Take It With Me’ is released on Friday 31st July on Man In the Moon Records. For more information visit: 

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