“You are my sunshine, my only sunshine / You make me happy when skies are gray / You'll never know dear, how much I love you / Please don't take my sunshine away”
These words, from an American standby of disputed authorship, are ones we’ve all heard. I can remember my mother singing them to me, and singing them in a classroom during my younger years. Many artists have intoned them — my personal favorite is a gravelly but gratified version Johnny Cash recorded near the end of his life.
They’re words you’ve heard so often they mostly don’t register.
On “My Sunshine,” TiffanyJ doesn’t sing the ubiquitous chorus until the end, a nod to the inspiration for her own ode to that person that makes life joyous. Backed by simple, echoing electric piano, and showcasing her radiant tone and impressive dynamic range, she restates and re-emphasizes the powerful feeling crystallized by an old metaphor.
“You fuel me / Give energy / Do what filters can’t do,” she sings in the second verse, playing with science and social media as she cleverly modernizes a perennial idea.
This video — recorded in front of Laurie Brownell McIntosh's "Hanging Pages" installation at the North Main branch of the Richland Library — is part of the "1 or 2" socially distanced performance series. Our aim is to keep Columbians connected with local artists during the COVID-19 pandemic, and allow those artists to get paid for their work when such opportunities are scant. Free Times remains grateful to our partners in this endeavor — One Columbia, Richland Library and SceneSC — for helping us keep it going.
To check out more "1 or 2" videos, all of which are freely accessible without an online subscription, head to free-times.com/1or2. JORDAN LAWRENCE
(SHOT AND EDITED BY DAVID STRINGER)