On her hit single, "Heard It All Before," newcomer Sunshine Anderson comes out with all the confidence and sass of someone who knows exactly what she wants and won't take anything less.
Turns out the character in the song is a lot like Anderson herself, a Charlotte, North Carolina-born singer with a degree in criminal justice and a top-20 R&B single.
"In the back of my mind I was going to sing, I was always going to be a star," Anderson said, even though her parents told her to get a day job in case music didn't work out. So far, so good, though "Heard It All Before" is at #11 on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks chart (it's at #50 on the magazine's Hot 100). Anderson's debut album, Your Woman, is due April 17.
Anderson got her break when a friend of Soulife Records CEO Chris Dawley heard her humming in the college cafeteria at North Carolina Central University in Durham, North Carolina. After Dawley signed her, he introduced Anderson to her current manager soul diva Macy Gray.
"Macy saw some good things in me, she saw that I had a lot of potential ... she saw what I was dealing with and what was to come and took it upon herself to say, 'Hey, this is what I like to do,' " Anderson said. "I looked at it like it was a blessing, because ... Macy has been in the business for a while. She knows what she is doing."
So does Anderson.
"I am exactly what my name says," she said. "I'm a very outgoing person, I like to laugh, I don't hold anything back [and] I say what's on my mind."
Unlike some other new artists, Anderson had plenty of creative control over her music and her image, she said. "I can't conceive of anyone telling me, 'We're going to talk about this, and we are going to do your hair this way, and you are going to wear these kinds of clothes,' " Anderson said. "That is just totally absurd to me."
Anderson said that even though the scenario in "Heard It All Before," in which a woman kicks a cheating lover out the door, isn't something she's experienced, she can't help but get caught up in the emotion when she sings it.
"In the second verse it talks about feeling angry and grimy," she said, "because he brought this woman to my house, and when I perform it the look comes over my face of, 'What did you think you were doing?' "
Your Woman is the first release for Soulife, but Anderson said she doesn't feel any pressure from the label or from Gray. "If anything, I pressure myself," she said, adding that she's already got her sights set on the top of the chart.
"If you're on the chart at all, somebody is listening," Anderson said. "But to go to #1 ... says that everybody is listening to me."