Growing up with Sunny

Imagine a 12 year-old coming into your choir class belting out a solo performance of “What I did for Love”. I’m sure I wasn’t the only 7th grader who was stunned. Who was this individual, and how did we get so lucky to have her in our Reno, NV classroom?

This individual was Sunny Michelson – professionally known as Sunny Ozell or Madame Ozell. She was a strong alto, she stood just a few feet away from me, and I wished I had her powerful voice.

Sunny stayed in choir through middle school but turned to orchestra in high school to hone her violin skills. Outside of school, she continued with private voice lessons.

Sunny (far left) in The Boyfriend, 1995, Re-Wa-Ne Yearbook

I’m not sure what guidance our junior high music teacher, Barbara Legocki, could offer her aside from sharing a love of music. Sunny seemed to surpass most of us. And, while pursuing her private vocal lessons and her performance with the Reno Philharmonic Orchestra, she found time to perform her junior year in our high school musical, “The Boyfriend“, under drama teacher, Sabrina Cellucci. I knew she could sing, but the question I had to ask was whether she could act. I found out later, the multi-talented Sunny created her monologue in the girls’ bathroom just moments earlier! And, she was cast as the lead, Miss Polly Brown. I was the props mistress for that production, and I enjoyed hearing her sing with all the others during every rehearsal and every performance. She truly was a star.

After stellar academic years, both professionally and academically, Sunny moved on to college in Colorado where she sang as part of a band called Chupacabra (I’m not sure if the band still exists). The one time they came to Reno at the same time I was there, I discovered Sunny had already moved to New York.

It was an exciting time for her. She made friends as a server during the day and amazed audiences with her voice at night.

In 2016, Sunny released her first album, Take It with Me. One of my favorite tracks on this album is “Kill Zone“. It’s a bit morbid, but I like the melody and the words. A close second is “Git Gone” as it came out as a single right around my divorce!

Her second album, Overnight Lows, released in 2020, contained all originals. I love “Comes and It Goes” and “Hammer and Nail” from this album. Sunny reflects that Nevada provided a lot of inspiration for this album.

Today, Sunny is occasionally performing. She has live performances on her Youtube and also provides silly and serious anecdotes on her Facebook page. I was privileged to see her in 2017 when she performed in our hometown. If you follow her Facebook, you might catch her next performance!

Listen and watch Sunny’s music on Youtube or Spotify. Her newest song, “Breathe with Me“, released in 2021 is trending on Spotify! Follow her on Facebook, Twitter (X), and Instagram. And, as always, please purchase her music at your favorite retailer!

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