Interview with Musical Duo Sonshine and Broccoli

Today On What On What’s Good with Host Jovin Tardif, I am here with children’s musical entertainment duo Sonshine and Broccoli. For 17 years, best friends and Juno Award nominees Sonshine and Broccoli have been entertaining children and parents alike with their pop-rock songs. With multiple studio albums under their belt, it was time to have a quick conversation. At the interview, I decided to do the unthinkable. Shhh…don’t tell them (looking both ways) but I thought it might be fun to ask them the same questions…separately. Let’s see what I found out.

Sonshine and Broccoli are a Canadian children's music duo, consisting of Lisa Sonshine and Brock Burford. They are most noted for their 2018 album It's Cool to Be Kind, which was a Juno Award nominee for Children's Album of the Year at the Juno Awards of 2019. The duo met when they both attended Sheridan College. Discography Sonshine and Broccoli Jam (2004) Feel the Beat (2010) It's a Beautiful Day (2015) It's Cool to Be Kind (2018) Hug Life (2019)
Musical duo Sonshine and Broccoli

1. Who were some of your influences growing up?

Sonshine – everything musical theatre, Bette Midler, Whitney Houston.

Broccoli – The Beatles, Beach Boys, Eric Clapton, The Nylons, Joni Mitchell

2. Can we get a little background on your passion for music? (i.e. Schools, instruments, dancing, etc…)

Sonshine- I was singing basically out of the womb. My parents knew it was something special when I was around 8. I sang at family functions with the famous Canadian jazz singer Jackie Richardson. She told my parents I should study with Theodore Gentry. We studied jazz, opera, and classical. I was accepted into Sheridan college’s Musical Theatre program in 2000. That’s where I met Brock (Broccoli). We graduated in 2003 and started Sonshine and Broccoli in 2004.

Broccoli- I started taking guitar lessons at the age of 12. Music became an obsession as I formed a couple of high school bands and joined the school choir.
This passion led my interest in learning the Bass, Mandolin, Lap Steel, Ukulele, and Piano. I started acting in musicals at my high school and at the Unionville Theatre company. After I graduated High School I got accepted into Sheridan College for their prestigious Musical Theatre Performance Program where I met Lisa Sonshine. We graduated from the program in 2003 and the inception of Sonshine and Broccoli was born in 2004 and the rest is history as they say…

3. To those that may not know the group, please describe the kind of music you sing. What sort of messages are you conveying to children in your songs?

Sonshine – Sonshine and Broccoli have been entertaining children and parents alike with their infectious enthusiasm and energetic pop-rock songs for the past 17 years. Our songs have amazing messages of kindness, love, and compassion.

Broccoli- Sonshine and Broccoli write and perform in all types of musical genres from Pop, Rock, Hip-Hop, Calypso, Funk, and Dance to name a few. We deliver messages of Kindness, Acceptance, Imagination, Love, Family, and Adventure as we see life through the lens of a child and put ourselves in their shoes which comes across in all of our music.

4. Let’s discuss being on stage. Do you have any tips you can offer to new performers to stay calm before an event?

Sonshine- That’s a great question. Many times before we go on stage we do a 5-10 min meditation. We both lie on the floor and put on the calm app. We have been performing together for over 17 years so we don’t get really nervous anymore but when we do, we tell ourselves to use the nerves in a positive way. Use the nerves to fuel an exciting show.

Broccoli – I suggest doing some type of ritual that you can execute before every performance. For me I meditate, then I will jump up and down to get my adrenaline flowing. I’ll smile and visualize the performance when it’s all over with the audience applauding. This always seems to help me before a performance.

5. Describe the process of creating your music albums – Sonshine and Broccoli Jam (2004), Feel the Beat (2010), It’s a Beautiful Day (2015), It’s Cool to Be Kind (2018), Hug Life (2019). Any fun behind-the-scene moments in the making of the albums. Does the process get easier or tougher when creating new albums? Please explain.

Sonshine – When we first started writing together we wrote everywhere. In subway stations, Starbucks, parks, etc… we jumped right into the minds of kids. We loved it. Each album had a totally different feel. Our last 2 albums ITS COOL TO BE KIND and HUG LIFE we collaborated with different talented Toronto songwriters and musicians. We loved adding people to our creative mix.

Broccoli – When we recorded our first album Sonshine and Broccoli Jam and Feel The Beat it was very grassroots. We didn’t have an overall theme but we were inspired by what we were singing during our mom and tot sing-along classes and musical theatre. It helped shape us as songwriters. Then we wrote It’s A Beautiful Day. We started experimenting with different styles of music. Struck gold with It’s Cool To Be Kind and Hug Life as we really channeled who Sonshine and Broccoli truly are with our modern pop sound and what messages we wanted to send through our music.

6. What was it like performing at NBA All-Star Game, Toronto Blue Jays Jr. Jays Day. (Describe the atmosphere, preparation, reactions, etc…)

Sonshine – They were both amazing events and highlights in our careers. The NBA All-Star Game was so cool because the energy in the city was incredible. This event was strictly for kids and one of the only ones in the City. We opened up for Silento so that was pretty cool. Jr JAY’S game was amazing because it was for die-hard fans. The energy outside the stadium was simply amazing. Love how the kids were all decked out in JAY’S gear and ready to party.

Broccoli – These events were incredible experiences and amazing exposure for new Sonshine and Broccoli fans. The NBA All-Star Game was such a palpable experience (being a huge fan of basketball) we created such a high energy performance and the crowd went wild. The Toronto Blue Jays Jr. Jays Day was such a wonderful experience as we were able to see the blue jays warm up from the front of the floor stadium with no one else on sight. We performed to a rockin’ crowd and we were seen on TV by many family and friends which was very rewarding.

7. Can we get some insight on the animated children’s television show based on the rockin’ adventures of Sonshine & Broccoli? How did that come together?

Sonshine – We are working on this animated series with a level film. We have recently seen a sneak peek and it’s just the heat to see ourselves as actual characters. The rest we will leave you in suspense for a release date coming up.

Broccoli – It’s a really exciting project which we are developing with Level Film. It will explore Sonshine and Broccoli as cartoon characters that take on our personas and inject them into the magical world of animation.

8. Congratulations on the Juno nomination for Children’s Album of the Year and winning The Akademia Award for Best Children’s Song. Can you tell us about your experiences at both events?

Sonshine – The Juno awards will forever the most memorable weekend in our careers. To be nominated and be amongst the elite in Canadian music was truly a dream. A huge highlight of that weekend was getting to perform at the JR Juno show and walking the red carpet.

Broccoli – The Juno Awards were the highlight of our musical career. It was unbelievable to have been nominated among the other wonderful Children’s Entertainers with whom we admire. The energy was so contagious and positive and we really got to immerse ourselves in the live music, and we performed at the Junior Juno’s in front of many musicians which I admire. We got to see the cream of the crop of all the Canadian Talent out there in the music industry. It was an experience I will never forget.

9. Any future projects coming soon?

Sonshine – We are working on a new album which has been super fun. We are working with different brands that align with our brands.

Broccoli – Sonshine and Broccoli are always writing new music and working with other brands, writing jingles and we have a strong musical momentum going that helps us keep on creating new music. There will be a lot of new Sonshine and Broccoli music coming very soon.

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Tags: Hug Life, Sonshine and Broccoli

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Jovin Tardif
Jovin Tardif is a freelance writer, storyteller, interviewer, reviewer and conversation starter.