Honest. That’s the first word that comes to mind after hearing Sunny Sweeney’s latest release and fourth studio album, “Trophy.” Sweeney writes unapologetically, with a no-holds-barred approach. Her songs are equal parts endearing and relatable, steeped in country roots. We caught up with the singer-songwriter while she was on the road and talked “Trophy,” writing with other badass women in music, finding like minds, and staying true to yourself.
“Heartbreaker’s Hall of Fame” came out a decade ago. How has your creative process evolved since then? What is something that you will always remain true to creatively?
It was actually over a decade because I put it out in 2006. I recorded it in 2005, and Big Machine picked it up and re-released it 2007, so it was actually 12 years ago, which is crazy.
I don’t know how to do more than one thing, which is sing and write country songs. I’ve written other songs before that aren’t as country, but I guess it’s just where I go in mind, so I stay true to the fact that I love that type of music, and it’s what lights my fire, and it always has and always will. When I started making music, it made it a lot easier to write country music because that’s what I knew.
You have an incredibly honest way of writing – whether it’s the more fun-loving songs, or the heartbreak songs. They’re just very genuine.
I’ve never really minced words. It may not be the most eloquent way to say things, the way that I say things, but there’s not any question – because I say what I mean, and I mean what I say, and I always have. I feel like that benefits you in the long run because you don’t have to bullshit around and be like, “Oh, no, I didn’t mean that,” but I kind of said it like I meant it the first time.
“Bottle by My Bed” was not the song I was expecting when I hit “play” on that specific song.
That’s what I love doing. I love picking out a title and having it be something different than you thought it was going to be.
It captures a certain reality in song, too, that maybe a lot of women don’t talk about, but many struggle with. Are you ever hesitant to get that personal?
No, I didn’t – I just thought when we wrote it that it was going to be one of those songs that sat in my iTunes voice memo library and never see the light of day. I sang it at a songwriters’ night one night, and it got a different reaction than I was thinking and I thought, “Hmm.” Then when we started picking out songs for the record, I thought, “Well, I’ll at least let my producer hear this,” and he was like, “Well that one is definitely going on the record.” I never thought it would see the light of day, and I didn’t do anything – I didn’t think anything specific when I wrote it other than, “Whew, it felt good to get that one off my chest.”
I know you said “Bottle by My Bed” got a response from men that you maybe weren’t expecting.
Oh, yea. You have to realize that obviously having a kid takes two people. It’s not like you can just miraculously end up pregnant. There’s two people involved. If it ends up not working out, then there’s two people that were bummed about it. My husband got really upset, but he never talked about it until it was brought up. There have been lots of men who responded way differently than I thought. One guy wrote on Twitter the other day and said, “I don’t even want kids, they suck, but this really is the saddest song I’ve ever heard.” His sister, I think, was going through IVF, and he was like, “I think kids are terrible, but I want my sister to have one because that’s what she wants.” I guess it just affects people differently.
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