Emi Sunshine has gotten a lot of attention from the national media. However, you wouldn’t know it when you talk to her: The ukulele prodigy sounds like a typical 10-year-old.
Of course, typical 10-year-olds don’t headline shows at places like Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace. That’s exactly what she’ll be doing at 9 p.m., this Saturday, July 25.
Emi Sunshine is an Americana performer from East Tennessee. The singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist performs what has been called “old-time” music, with inspirations from the Louvin Brothers, Tom Petty, Johnny Cash, the Carter Family and many others.
But when she’s off stage, she likes video games, her pets, and her collection of colorful clothing.
During a recent phone interview, she explained how she became interested in playing the ukulele.
“No one really made me take it up,” she said. “It’s just when I was really little, I really liked the sound of the instrument and how people play it. One year, my mom got me a ukulele, and … I got an interest in playing it after a little while. That’s how it started.”
I asked her what she likes to listen to, and how her music tastes differ from those of her friends.
“I really like Johnny Cash, June Carter Cash, Buddy Miller, Emmylou Harris and people like that,” she said. “It’s a lot different than what other people listen to, but I appreciate it.”
Emi Sunshine has an album to her credit called Black Sunday ’35. Its Americana tunes and ballads may just bring a tear to your eye. There are even some hints of gospel on the album.
Touring can be overwhelming for even the most well-adjusted adults. However, Emi said she enjoys it, and makes use of the downtime.
“When I’m out on tour, I get to go to places where I’ve never been before. Most people don’t get to do all that,” she said. “There’s nothing I really don’t like about it; everything is great, and I can’t think of anything I don’t really like about it. I always find something to do on my tour bus. I like to color; I like to draw; I like Play-Doh, yo-yos and all kinds of stuff.”
As far as stage fright goes, Emi Sunshine said she’s beyond it.
“I never really get nervous,” she said. “I just go out there and play it. I’ve never really been nervous about anything, except for the Ryman Auditorium.”
The Ryman Auditorium was once the Grand Ole Opry House.
“It’s such an amazing place, and it’s such an honor to play there,” she said. “Everybody was really nice to me. Plus you sing with everyone else standing in a circle.”
Emi Sunshine will perform with the Shadow Mountain Band at 9 p.m., Saturday, July 25, at Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, 53688 Pioneertown Road, in Pioneertown. Tickets are $10 to $12. For tickets or more information, call 760-365-5956, or visit www.pappyandharriets.com.