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"taking high chances
in this divine dance
in this divine dance"
– “God” from bleuphoria
The passage above plays in a loop in my head as I wait for Rahsaan Patterson (Rah to his friends) to arrive at Casbah, the Moroccan-themed café where we’re meeting to talk about bleuphoria, his latest CD. That potent snatch of lyrics sums up both the high-wire aesthetics of the new disc and Rahsaan’s approach to his entire career (itself a gift within the gift of life): taking high chances in this divine dance. bleuphoria, whose sonic tapestry ranges from the retro club funk of “Ghost” (featuring the divine Jody Watley) to the avant-Broadway spiritual “Mountain Top” (featuring the great Táta Vega), has been my soundtrack for weeks, pushing me out of the realm of on-the-grind journalist into that of unadulterated fan. It’s one of those gifts that true artists routinely bestow on the faithful, justifying our love, reminding us anew why we’ve taken them into our hearts and ceded real estate in our spirits to them. With bleuphoria, coming almost four years after 2007’s cult favorite Wines & Spirits and three years after his acclaimed 2008 Christmas album The Ultimate Gift (played year-round by the devoted), fans are getting synthesis and evolution of all that’s come before—leftfield experimentation, centerfield grooves and soulful meditations on inner and outer space.
Longtime fans have watched Rah grow from the skinny, wide-eyed boy with the big eyes and bigger voice on the classic children’s show “Kids Incorporated” to one of the most influential yet underrated soul men on the planet. (His career is riddled with paradox and irony.) We’ve watched him sport blonde-streaked hair and cutting edge fashions while strolling through European-set music videos, and then hung on to his every note in clubs and concert halls around the globe as he, shorn of hair and clad in the simplest of gear, bled out in song—joy, pain, longing, despair, ecstasy. We’ve kept track of the Who’s Who of talented folks he’s written and produced for and with (from pop diva Brandy to fellow under-sung MVP Van Hunt), with whom he’s collaborated (Ledisi, Lalah Hathaway) and of the icons who have sung his praises (the awesome Chaka Khan) and ushered him into the hall of the greats.
Single ticket prices range from $24 to $29 adv
Who is AVERY*Sunshine? “I am a self-proclaimed therapist! I want to start the conversation that will lead to individual healing and in turn will affect our collective healing. Let’s get people talking about their experiences so that we can learn from them, grow from them and more importantly, move on from them. ”
AVERY*Sunshine is a native of Chester, PA where she nurtured a natural talent by singing in church and leading and directing choirs. A former member of the renowned Wilmington/Chester Mass Choir, she honed her vocal instrument and sharpened her ability to play piano in her hometown, then headed south to Atlanta, GA where she attended Spelman College. Though far from home, she was never far from her one true love – music. She embodies it. She lives to express through it. But AVERY’s talent couldn’t be contained within the walls and stained glass of the church for very long. Making her mark on the Atlanta-soul music scene, she and her Spelman sister, Broadway talent Maia Wilson, teamed up to form the singing duo DaisyRew; and later AVERY lent her voice to the soundtrack for Paramount Pictures’ THE FIGHTING TEMPTATIONS. In 2005, she was hired as lead keyboardist for Tyler Perry’s stage play MEET THE BROWNS, and last year she was sought out by vocal great Jennifer Holiday to be choral director for the theatrical production of DREAMGIRLS during the National Black Arts Festival in Atlanta. AVERY*Sunshine recently made history with daily performances at the Democratic National Convention in Denver, CO and four private events during the 2009 Inauguration of President Barack Obama.
With vocals and lyrics that are thick and strong yet jazzy-smooth, coined ‘jazzgosoul’ by a personal friend, it’s easily recognized that AVERY*Sunshine has been singing all her life. However her sound and her music is perfected in collaboration with her musical partner Dana Johnson, a classically trained guitarist, gifted lyricist, producer and the man behind the tracks. What started in church at a young age has been refined by experience as she stands ready to proclaim her own story with her first CD project. “In the album I sing about my life – being a divorced mother of two, aging, being mean to the person I love. I sing about the possibility of being a single woman – indefinitely; as well as the feeling of being in love with my man before I even meet him. I also sing about the promise of God; the promise that He will never leave me or forsake me. The idea of never being left alone somehow makes things easier to deal with. Burdens seem lighter.”
Intent on shining by sharing her song with the world, AVERY wants you too to give yourself permission to “Get Your Shine On!” Whatever it may be. Are you getting your shine on? Are you using the gifts that God has given you? Are you walking in your calling? Let’s get started.
“There is not one fast-forward moment on the self-titled album- Avery’s warm tones Seduce”- Heart and Soul
“Warm Hugs from someone who’s pouring out her heart! An affectionate release with 12 enthralling and uplifting songs”- GA Music Magazine
“Light, Smooth and Contagious”- BET.com
“The eclectic soul singer/pianist delivers this smooth toe-tapper from her refreshingly original eponymous debut”- USA Today
“Musical Brilliance”- Digiwaxx
"There is something edibly scrumptious about the music of Avery*Sunshine. Her lovingly seasoned debut album serves as an inviting introduction to the Urban Alternative Contemporary market". Soultracks
“A radiant brand of soul delivered from the gut with a joyful smile. The comparisons to Jill Scott are inevitable if obvious, but you've got to have a shared reference point when you tell your friends about her album that's a bit of church with a smidge of doo-wop and quiet storm jazz” - Washington Post
“If you're already up on Miss Sunshine, then you know that her voice is a cure for the common R&B singer” - Soul Bounce
"Her songs are smart explorations of the heart with a refreshing dash of soulful humor, all bolstered by fluid production"- Jet Magazine- Jan 2011 issue
"When it comes to her voice, her stylish phrasing sounds effortless – and with some beautiful runs and great note choice, Avery shows us that she has truly got it". Soul Culture