Melbourne songstress Sunny Reyne is a beacon of light and a vessel of raw musical heat on her debut album ‘I’ve Been Sleeping Too Long,’ a smoldering seduction drenched with soul and smooth, stirring jazz.
for fans of Lianne La Havas, Hiatus Kaiyote, Moses Sumney
Stream: “Find a Way” – Sunny Reyne
True to her name, Sunny Reyne is a beacon of light and a vessel of raw musical heat.
The Australian singer/songwriter is exposed and empowered on her debut album, coming to life through breathtaking music drenched with soul and smooth, stirring jazz. A smoldering seduction of the ears and the heart, I’ve Been Sleeping Too Long aches with warm passion and intimate emotion as Reyne pours herself out in song, crafting a radiant, immersive dreamworld into which we may all rest, relax, and find our peace.
Peaceful, I wake too bright to tempt
My eyes from seeing sunrise
Sorrow headed too deep within
Painful way of storing
Find the third eye, cover it up
Hold it in towards you
Don’t give up
Heavy reading, throw it away
Focus on the moment going nowhere
Discover no other
Find a way to hold on
Find a way to hold it in
– “Find a Way,” Sunny Reyne
Released November 9, 2023 via Bridge the Gap Records, I’ve Been Sleeping Too Long is an utterly enchanting reverie: A spellbinding collection of wondrous, well-zested songs whose spice comes to bear in dramatic, fiery instrumental work and hot-on-the-mic vocal performances that invariably send shivers down the spine. It’s a truly stunning, up-close-and-personal introduction to Melbourne’s Sunny Reyne, who has been on a slow and steady upward trajectory ever since her debut single released in – of all times – April 2020.
“This album was recorded in Melbourne back in June 2021, where I spent a really beautiful week in the studio with some friends and we tracked and recorded the whole thing. It was in between all the crazy lockdowns, so it felt like an oasis away from what was happening around us. It was produced by UK-based musician and producer Lewis Moody, who I also worked with on my 2022 EP Right Now,” Reyne tells Atwood Magazine.
2022’s Right Now EP is, in retrospect, a fitting predecessor to the full-length I’ve Been Sleeping Too Long, with Reyne’s golden vocals taking front and center within brooding, jazzy atmospheres. Her new LP is an elevation of this artistry – one where Reyne as a vocalist exists in harmony with every instrument, and each moment has its place in building a colorful, cathartic experience for all.
“I didn’t actually really have a vision to begin with,” she reflects. “I knew I’d wanted to create a full-length album and I had some songs that I’d slowly been working on over time that felt right to combine into the one project. The songs hadn’t been written with anything too specific in mind to start with, but slight adjustments were made to the production and lyricism when we decided to create this body of work to tie in with a more synonymous sound and idea. Lewis’ vision with the project was crucial in pushing it to the next steps, as he was able to come into the project with fresh ears and lead us into the bigger picture.”
Bury the voices that lead your thoughts
Cover that hole, it talks and talks
Raise the flag, no need to hide
Remove your hands, release your eyes
I can no longer tell what
I’m heading for
How am I to leave this place
Troubled mind, I can’t find
What I’ve been searching for
It used to be more clear
– “Safe,” Sunny Reyne
Reyne candidly describes her record as sleepy, soulful, and lush.
“I feel like this album really captures the blend of neo-soul and alt-jazz genres that I have a deep love for,” she smiles. “It was always the priority to emphasize a fairly raw and pure approach to my vocals, not going too deeply into overworked production and instrumentation and hoping the songs can speak for themselves a little. I took a lot of inspiration from artists like Sade and Lianne La Havas, who have a big focus on a strong, soulful vocal sound, so we wanted to emphasise that as much as we could with this record.”
The album title speaks as much to the record’s vibe, as it does the themes within its individual songs.
“The title originally came from a part from the fourth song off the album, ‘Left Alone,’ as an ad-lib bit I was playing around with for some of the backing vocal call and response bits in the chorus,” Reyne explains. “I’ve also always liked long album titles that don’t make a whole lot of sense without context. When this specific line came about, the phrasing of it stuck with me a lot and stood out as a strong title that brought all the songs together.”
“It loosely ties together themes of sleepiness, themes of pressure on oneself and the background that most of these songs were written within the early and late hours of the day, when time feels quiet and peaceful. I’ve had a lot of comments on the meaning behind the album title, which I’ve always enjoyed. Naming an album can be a daunting part of the album process, so I wanted it to be a little ambiguous in the hopes it could spark conversation and intrigue.”
Cold morning, dark sky
I don’t recognise what you describe
Hear the running feet
Moving to some unknown beat
Cold morning, dark sky
Don’t lose your appetite
It’s been light now for too long
The urge to stay asleep is strong
Breathe in, draw in, hold in
Doesn’t this feel right to you?
Doesn’t this feel nice?
Doesn’t this feel like it ought to?
Doesn’t this feel hard too?
– “Cold Morning,” Sunny Reyne
While I’ve Been Sleeping Too Long is best listened to in full from start to finish, highlights are aplenty on the journey from the scene-setting opener “Safe” (itself a rousing eruption sure to turn heads) to the ethereal finale “Used to This (Reimagined),” a revision of the artist’s 2020 debut single.
From the gilded blue notes, feverish drums, and stacked harmonies of “Cold Morning” to the churning bass line and hypnotic vocal performance of “Find a Way,” the sweet, gentle tones and confessional lyricism of “Left Alone,” and beyond, Reyne sprinkles magic moments into all of her songs – all but guaranteeing listeners come back to her record for a second, third, and fourth time.
“‘Cold Morning’ is one of my favourite songs off the record,” Reyne says. “I remember it being one of the songs that felt really great within the moment of recording too. We recorded all the songs live with the band, and this was a song where we used the first vocal take I recorded, because it fell into place really quickly and captured the mood almost instantly. I think it’s the song that most captures the crossing of genres that I love and strived to emulate in this record too, helped along by the broken-beat approach to the drum groove and the glistening, chordal passage of the piano part.”
As a lyricist, Reyne cites lyrics from the album’s smoky third track, “Burnt.”
“The song was written about the passing of my grandfather and the impossibility that comes with grappling with grief and death over someone you love. Maybe because it came from such a particularly personal space, the lyrics fell together a lot more fluidly than others I’ve written before. I felt a stronger connection to the lyricism with that song especially and felt that I could go a little deeper into the story and meaning behind it.”
The birth of a new day
I look to the sky
Little did we know
That this pain bore its roots so high
A sleep so generous
Hiding the news
What more could you take?
What is the world really even for?
Fighting for a life
History can’t bear
Too soon to say goodbye
It’s not fair
You fled from the war
Death at your door
The truth is soon unlearned
You’ve been burnt
For those looking for a modern, alternative jazz vocalist with a flare for soul, gorgeous tones, and seductive grooves, look no further than Sunny Reyne.
“I think the best part of releasing music is that there are no limitations to how someone listening might relate to or perceive the music, which can be a really fun and interesting part of the release process,” Reyne shares. “It can be really nice to hear how someone has connected with the music in their own way and it’s really rewarding knowing that people find something different with the music than what you might expect.”
“For me, since it was the first big project for me to release, I was trying to take as much time as I could to enjoy each step of its process and respect the fact that it’s important to release expectations and allow it to naturally do its thing.”
Prepare for dropped jaws, spinning heads, and a body full of chills: Experience the full record via our below stream, and peek inside Sunny Reyne’s I’ve Been Sleeping Too Long with Atwood Magazine as she goes track-by-track through the music and lyrics of her debut album!
‘I’ve Been Sleeping Too Long’ – Sunny Reyne
:: Inside I’ve Been Sleeping Too Long ::
“Safe” is about the moments where you doubt and belittle yourself, when you feel the urge to give up on something, but then ultimately finding and allowing the strength to put yourself back on track and believe in where you are. It features the playing of Melbourne saxophonist Josh Kelly of the band 30/70.
“Cold Morning” is a song about the comfort of lying in bed with someone in the early hours of a winter morning, when nothing else matters and time ceases to exist and the sense of comfort and safety that comes from within that space. My favourite part of this song is the cripsness of the broken-beat groove played by Felix Bloxsom that introduces more RnB-inspired layers to the album.
“Burnt” is a song that I wrote when I was coming to terms with the terminal cancer diagnosis of my grandfather and how hard I grappled with the concept of death and grief. It touches on themes of my grandpa’s earlier life living through war and how even after the horror of that time, it was something as intangible as cancer that ultimately got him in the end. The song was first recorded with a band, but we decided to strip it back and go for a more produced, sparse sound to emulate the themes surrounding it.
“Left Alone” is about waking from a nightmare and having that moment of needing comfort and safety from someone to bring you back to reality. The lyricism highlights the joy in waking next to someone when a dream has rocked your concept of time and space and knowing that it’s all going to be ok. I pulled a lot of inspiration from the stylings of Emily King and Cleo Sol here – leaning more into a pop-focused style and delving deeper into vocal harmonies and vocal layers to provide depth to the song.
“Overthrown” is my ode to the constant difficulties of being a woman within a society where you can be criticised for simultaneously speaking up and not being loud enough, whilst feeling the constant sense that we must adapt to our surroundings and society’s ideals to fit into what is around us. In this song, I wanted to highlight the confusion and anxiety that can still be caused from being misunderstood and disregarded as a woman.
Find a Way
“Find a Way” was written very late at night and in one sitting as a form of meditative practice. It’s based around a short verse/chorus structure, but we decided to go more heavily into the production to give it some more strength and focus. The lyrics speak of hopefulness and enlightenment and the repetitive bass line was a way of giving it an almost hypnotic element that leans into the meditative nature of the lyrics. It is centred around the theme of letting go of anger and frustration, not getting too caught up in moments of anxiety and trusting your own mind and heart.
Please Let Me Inside (Interlude)
I’ve always loved interludes on albums and the mood they can capture. I think it adds a really personal element that gives life to an album as it breaks up the structured and highly detailed element that listening can sometimes be. This song was a super short demo I found in my voice memos when I was writing ideas for the album. It never formed into a song, but I really liked how it fit into the flow of the album and added an extra layer of intrigue with its sparsity and rawness.
What You Say You Are
This song was written about a falling out between myself and a close friend. I would witness this friend constantly shift themselves to fit within their different surroundings and social settings and then disregard myself and other important people within their life, causing resentment and pain in those close to them. I think a lot of us have been in a position where we’ve had to make the decision to pull away from people we love to protect ourselves, and it can be a really painful way to lose a strong relationship in your life.
I wrote “Sand” a long time ago, when it had started as an instrumental piece for a uni project I was writing for. It’s a very simple song in its structure and it went through many different variations before it landed at this one. I love the juxtaposition of the bass line against the twinkly keys parts. I wrote it as a way to grapple with the concept of climate change and the terrifying ways that the world was letting us know it was in trouble. The opening line “swim through the sand” is making a point of the harsh reality of an everchanging climate and the notions of drought.
Used To This (Reimagined)
I decided to reimagine the very first song I put out as a single as a way to give it more integrity and more strength. The original is very sparse and simple, but we delved deeper into this version as a way to build upon the existing layers. It’s a song about struggling to comprehend those shocking and unexpected moments in life that seem to come out of nowhere and completely uproot what it is that is normal.
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© Kadi Jatta
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