It’s no secret that great art comes from the margins. From those who are either pushed to create from inner forces, or who create to show they deserve to be recognized. Los Angeles-based street singer, guitarist, and roots music revolutionary Sunny War has always been an outsider, always felt the drive to define her place in the world through music and songwriting.
As a young black girl growing up in Nashville, she searched for her own roots, looking first to the blues she heard from her mother’s boyfriend, and learning from a local guitarist. Moving to Los Angeles in her teens, she searched for herself in the LA punk scene, playing house shows with FIDLAR, and shoplifting DVDs from big box stores to trade at Amoeba Records for 80s punk albums. But here too she found herself on the outside, working to bridge her foundation in country blues and American roots guitar traditions with the punk scene she called home. She first made her name with this work, bringing a wickedly virtuosic touch on the fingerstyle guitar that sprang from her own self-discoveries on the instrument. But her restless spirit, a byproduct of growing up semi-nomadic with a single mother, led her to Venice Beach, California, where she’s been grinding the pavement for some years now, making a name for her prodigious guitar work and incisive songwriting, which touches on everything from police violence to alcoholism to love found and lost.
"Inviting yet melancholy siren songs made up of hard-earned blues, confessional folk and an emotional realism usually reserved for punk and hip-hop.” - Rolling Stone
“[Sunny War’s songs] evoke a wondrous, breathless beauty and are filled with hypnotic, acoustic calm. Her songs are exemplified by her tender voice, her unique style of guitar playing and her ability to touch the listener's heart with her lyrics.” - NPR
"Contradictions run deep in Sunny War’s music. The delicate fingerpicking, lush strings, and hushed singing belie an album full of pain and conflict. It’s an album where the most defiant moments tend to be the quietest, demanding you listen close.” - AfroPunk
"To call War a striking talent would be a drastic understatement. Her dazzling, mutant finger-picking style, born of the blues and claw hammer banjo, conjures a luscious blur of rolling rhythm and rich riff flurries bristling atop every note struck.” - LA Weekly
"Her songs share the story of life on the fringes, and her own unconventional life path is part of what sets them apart from those of other artists.” - She Shreds Magazine
“An absolute triumph of folk-punk.” - Noisey
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