Born in London 1980, Sunny moved to Manchester at the age of three and grew up with the sounds of grunge and rock from both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. Writing always came naturally and initially he pursued an ad career, becoming Creative Director of his own company in Singapore after a decade in the industry. While there, he auditioned and became the lead vocalist of rock cover band, Seattle Sound. After one gig, he started writing his own material with the band and creating Sunny Deo and the Ninth Order. After producing his first album in Singapore, he returned to his native England in the winter of 2015 to record his debut solo album.
What instrument did you play while growing up?
Let’s start by saying I can’t read music to save my life. Which is why I didn’t continue playing the piano at around six years old. Nothing made sense. I managed to struggle my way through primary school playing the cornet in the school band for four years, but quickly dropped it after moving on to high school. I was actually more interested in singing even back in primary school but was kicked out of the choir for talking between songs. Only years later in college did I pick up my friend’s guitar, and suddenly everything make sense. I started creating melody after melody not knowing what note was what. But I still thought I could never be a musician because I couldn’t read music. However, after discovering that The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Van Halen, Slash and Eric Clapton couldn’t read music either, I felt a whole lot better.
What made you start writing?
I was writing from an early age. Around 12 or 13, I think, from poetry to songs. That always came very naturally. And in general, whatever inspires me, just as it does for any writer. From love and pain, to joy and hope. Funnily though, I was never inspired by reading. I can’t sit still for too long. Too fidgety to sit and read. I remember once in school, the coursework assignment was to write an 8,000-word analysis of a book of our choice. Petrified, I created my own story. Somehow I got an A- and my English teacher asked me to bring in the book, as he really liked the sound of it. I was like “sure thing” but kept ‘forgetting’ to bring it into school. Good thing there was no Google back then for him to conduct a quick check.
If there was one musician you could meet (dead or alive) who would it be and why?
It’d have to be Tracy Chapman. That voice, the honesty and purity within every breath just saves me every time. And the meaning of her music is on another level. I was actually listening to Fast Car at my friend’s place in university in 2002, and that inspired me to pick up his guitar and play her tunes. I think she’s stopped touring now, but hopefully one day, somehow, I’ll have the privilege of shaking her hand and thanking her.
To one day be sat in a bar, listening to a band covering one of my songs. I don’t think there can be a better feeling.