Some new bands strive for money and fame; however, Anastasia Lopez, a University of Arizona student studying Spanish, and the rest of Tonight’s Sunshine say they are using their musical talents to give back.
Lopez, along with Isaiah Kortright, Cougar Bellinger and Diego Mackean, make up Tonight’s Sunshine, a local band that’s making its mark in Tucson.
“I listen to a lot of different genres, and you can see that in my music, because every song is pretty different,” Lopez said. “We try to umbrella-term it as alternative pop rock, but some songs have undertones of reggaetón, rap or just pop in general.”
Each of the members had been playing music for a while before they started Tonight’s Sunshine,according to Lopez.
“I’ve been playing for seven years now, I started when I was nine,” Bellinger said.
Kortright said he became fully immersed in music when he played in his high school’s marching band at 15.
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“I was playing the bass drum in drumline, and I got to play with the mariachi and the jazz band,” Kortright said. “That experience in high school really just brought me out of my shell and allowed me to meet new people.”
Similar to Bellinger, Lopez had been singing for a long time, crediting her Hispanic heritage for her passion for music.
“I come from a Hispanic family, and growing up in the household, there was always music on,” Lopez said. “At any random moment, they would ask me to sing songs that they taught me, because they wanted to hear it. Singing is the instrument that everybody has, so I was always singing.”
The inspiration for creating Tonight’s Sunshine came after watching a live performance by Lopez at an open mic night.
“We met Anastasia at an open mic at House of Bards last April, and we were completely blown away,” Kortright said. “We had never heard a voice like that, so we kept in touch throughout the summer.”
After playing together, Kortright said they knew they had to pursue music.
“Everyone was really jiving together,” Kortright said. “It almost felt like it wasn’t a choice; we needed to do this.”
The name for the band came from Lopez. She had used Tonight’s Sunshine as her solo name before she was part of the band.
“It references to the song You Are My Sunshine, because that song has always been used as a lullaby in my life,” Lopez said. “I would hear it from people that I love, and they would sing it to me over the phone, and because of time differences, we could only talk at night. It was my favorite part of the day, so it was like my sunshine was at night.”
When it comes to having specific roles in the band, Tonight’s Sunshine likes to mix things up, allowing each member to play different instruments depending on the song.
“What we like to do is switch roles,” Kortright said. “For example, there’s one song I play drums, and there’s another one where I play guitar. We like to get creative and not be so rigid with instruments. Our role has just been being supportive of all material that Anastasia has brought, and it’s worked out super well.”
Tonight’s Sunshine has played at the Fourth Avenue Spring Street Fair and played at Club Congress on March 27.
“Cougar’s dad is our manager, and what he was able to do was put together a marketing package highlighting the work we had done and asked them if we could have a night where we not only showcased ourselves but showcased a couple of other bands,” Kortright said.
The other groups that will perform that night are Diluvio and the Dry River Band.
In preparation for Club Congress, Tonight’s Sunshine has been practicing as much as they can.
“We try to do three times a week, and sometimes it turns into more than that,” Lopez said. “We like to play together, so it’s not really like practice. We’re practicing and getting what we need to get done, but it’s just making music, having fun with it and being creative.”
Aside from practicing music, the band has also been working on their aesthetic, Lopez said.
“It’s not just the music. It has to be an entire performance that people are interested in so they’re not only listening to it but they are captivated by it,” Lopez said.
Tonight’s Sunshine’s work with nonprofit organizations is one of the many reasons their band stands out from the rest, Kortright said.
“We’re partnered with the Red Road to Wellbriety celebration, and helping those causes are really important to us,” Kortright said.
Along with helping organizations, Tonight’s Sunshine also wants to show people that they can follow their dreams.
“We have things to say,” Lopez said. “We do a lot of nonprofit stuff, and we’re doing things with music to bring people together and say something about a cause. I know that in my lyrics I talk about LGBTQ, my Mexican roots or having a dream in general and not letting people hold me down from trying to achieve it. I want people to feel things and see that in themselves.”
Eventually, the band members say they want to become famous and donate their money to those in need.
“Short-term, we want to record more and get our name out there,” Kortright said.
For more information on Tonight’s Sunshine, you can visit their Instagram page, @tonights.sunshine.
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