Having been into music from a very young age, Sunni Colón was always “fascinated by the sounds and melodies” he heard growing up. “The emotions and innate feelings that music captures have always excited me,” says the multi-hyphenate artist, whose name has been in ascendance ever since his debut EP received praise from Solange’s Saint Heron. So much so that Sunni would go on to collaborate with Kaytranada and the late Mac Miller, as well as make music for film and TV series’ including Netflix’s Dear White People, HBO’s Insecure and Ballers.
With such an impressive CV, it makes sense that Sunni has been described as LA’s best-kept secret and had his luscious vocal-style compared to Frank Ocean by The New York Times. “To receive any type of praise or high regard from anyone is rapturous and humbling,” he says. But, rather than being daunted by all the hype that was circling around him, it actually spurred Sunni on to be the best artist he could be. “I use all feedback as fuel,” he says. “Fuel for inspiration. Fuel to become better.”
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Sunni didn’t let the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic phase him. “Staying physically and mentally active was important for me,” he remembers, saying that he had to set specific tasks in order to remain focused. It also gave him time to make new music, which is something that he says “helped get me through it with a positive mindset”. This approach also resulted in a concept for his new project, JuJu & The Flowerbug. “It all began with a culmination of ideas,” Sunni recalls. “I was experimenting with different tempos, structures and styles of music to continue expanding my palette.”
Recorded with the intention of allowing his creativity to flow with an “infinite stream of consciousness”, he says this project was driven by the idea of “living unconfined by parameters”. Arguably impacted by the uncertainty of adjusting to pandemic life, he says it was about “living in the present moment. Seeing and feeling life for what it really is – or, at least, striving to reach that.” To get to that point, Sunni opened up and wore his heart on his sleeve when it came to writing songs for the project. “Creation stems from vulnerability,” he says. “That openness we unlock reveals purity and sets the tone for honesty.”
Sunni Colón describes the sunny escapism of JuJu & The Flowerbug as “an augmented version of me; I’m a student, so I’m forever evolving and going to get better. I study, breathe, and live music,” he says, describing his current LA-living mindset as “feeling good and lighter in all”. When talking about the new project, he uses the phrase: “the earth is a spaceship and heaven is space”. Expanding on this idea, he says “I can probably write a book on that statement easier but a highly condensed explanation is that it’s centred around the tenet of reaching your highest form – the higher power, basically.” And, although he says “it’s just a theory”, Sunni feels “connected to the idea” – whether it’s true or not.
As an extension of that concept, he says the project “named itself”, saying that “life is auspicious – a supernatural life of love it is”. Sunni also feels that the project can be listened to at any time – irrespective of how someone is feeling before they press play. “Happy, sad. Gloomy, sunny. Confused, enlightened. It doesn’t matter, because I created it under all of these tones – that’s what makes the project universal.”
Rather than wanting to elicit a specific emotion when someone listens to the collection, Sunni says “I just want people to feel. I don’t want to dictate what to feel. I just want people to feel something.” The cover art, which is a self-portrait of a bare-chested Sunni immersed among green leaves, carries a real back-to-nature feel to it – and it’s something that he says was purposefully conveyed. “It’s a vivid representation of the amount of self-realisations I have learned to live and how we are all learning to love the eternal self. Sunni Colón sees the cover as a symbol of “the seed of the fruit we are”. Similarly to the songs that make up JuJu & The Flowerbug, it represents “a sense of purity and vulnerability”.
Sunni Colón’s JuJu & The Flowerbug is out now, press play below.