Ron Sunshine Biography
“Ron Sunshine is a star!” writes Kerry Burke of Citysearch.com, referring to the lead singer, songwriter, and harmonica player, and bandleader. Born and raised in Denver, Colorado, Ron moved to New York City in 1981 to attend Columbia University where he earned a degree in English and American History, studying under such notable poets and authors as Kenneth Koch, Amiri Baraka, Albert Murray. One of his classmates there was Barack Obama!
Since taking up music full time in 1990, he has performed and/or recorded with artists such as Dr. John, the P-Funk Horns,Wilson Pickett,Tower of Power, Charles Brown, Pinetop Perkins, David Johansen, Gary US Bonds, Medeski, Martin & Wood,AWB, and Johnny Copeland, as well as many top local bands like Blues Traveler,The Holmes Brothers, and Joan Osborne. He fell in love with music as a child, influenced by his four older sisters, who were an award-winning a capella harmony group, by his trumpet-playing father, and by weekly visits with his babysitter to a soul-stirring full gospel pentecostal church.
In 1994 Ron released his first CD, “Pick it Up,” (a funky, bluesy record featuring Dr. John and the P-Funk Horns with 12 original songs), followed by “Soul Drug” in 1998 (jazz-inflected funky originals), “Straight Up” later that year (jump blues and swing), and “Candy” in 2001 (jazz standards). “Deluxe” came out in 2003, and featured the hit “Coffee & Reefer.”
Ron’s long-awaited 6th full-length album, “Bring It Home,” will be released in late 2015 on the New York boutique label Rondette Jazz, run by Ian Hendrickson-Smith (Sharon Jones, the Roots), and Adam Scone. The new record will feature 7 new Sunshine originals, a few choice covers, a large dose of amplified blues harmonica, and Ron’s ace 5-piece horn section on every cut.
From 1991 to 1998 Ron led two bands, the bluesy, funky Smoking Section, who were stalwarts on the club scene of the ’90s thatincluded Dan Lynch’s, Mondo Cane,Tramps, Louisiana Bar & Grill; and jazzy, jumping Full Swing, veterans of the Supper Club,Windows on the World, and the like.
Nowadays, one band handles both repertoires, and more besides. Ron has also been heard performing on a regular basis with his big band at the fabled Rainbow Room atop Rockefeller Center, as well a long- running residency at Swing 46 in Midtown Manhattan. Often playing over 200 shows per year, Ron Sunshine and his band have traveled the world, playing concerts, festivals and nightclubs, featured along the way on CNN, BET, NBC, Fox, BBC, and other international television, as well as numerous nationally released compilation CDs, books, films, hundreds of radio stations in the US and abroad, as well as in nationally televised advertisements. Popular with dancers as well as listeners, Ron Sunshine and his band continue to dazzle audiences from NewYork to Los Angeles, from Paris to Stockholm, from Bermuda to Red Bank. They also provide music for all kinds of special events, from corporate extravaganzas to intimate private soirees.
Ron has recently been involved with the new HBO series, “Vinyl,” both as a musician and as an on-set consultant. The series, executive produced by Martin Scorcese, Mick Jagger and Terence Winter, will debut in 2016.
Ron now lives just outside of NYC with his wife, model Feather Frazier, their two daughters, and Oscar the dog.