Talking big dreams, bullying and childhood cancer with aspiring singer-songwriter Sunny Malouf
Twelve-year-old Sunny Malouf is a self-taught pianist, a self-described entertainer and a self-proclaimed Michael Jackson fan. She’s also a singer-songwriter, actress and model. She’s rocking a black military-style jacket with gold embellishments circa-1980s when I meet-up with her and her mom at a neighborhood coffee shop.
But Sunny isn’t just another tween who likes to sing. She’s an ambitious young woman who’s determined to make her dream of becoming a world class star a reality. Managed by Kevin Jonas, CEO of The Jonas Group, and currently working with award-winning music producer Damon Sharpe who has worked with Jennifer Lopez and Ariana Grande, she’s certainly on her way.
To date she’s released three songs. Her first “Lightning in a Bottle” features Silentó, a rapper whose debut single reached number three in the Billboard charts, and has over one billion views on YouTube. Her most recent release “Superhero” was inspired by childhood cancer survivor Leah Still, daughter of NFL star Devon Still, and with it Sunny aims to to raise awareness about childhood cancer. She’s also pledged to donate a portion of proceeds to a number of children’s hospitals and foundations across the country—including the Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children.
In addition to playing her music, Sunny enjoys volunteering and is a member of Heroes for Children’s (HFC) Teen Board, a Richardson-based nonprofit that provides financial and social assistance to Texas families with children, superheroes, battling cancer.
Tell me about how you got into music and your inspiration?
I’ve always been that person that loves to entertain people…cheerleading and dancing. When I started singing that’s when I knew that’s what I wanted to do. Michael Jackson songs really inspired me…just because he was different and funky. I loved his style and his taste in clothes. Also, how he performed on stage…it was just different. Everyone else would sing with the microphone, but he actually had stage presence.
How did you get involved with Heroes for Children?
I’ve always been a part of [volunteering] at charities in Dallas. When I was younger, I’d go with my friends to hospitals and bring cookies for the little kids…I try to go to as many hospitals as I can when I’m either on tour or when I go to perform in different states, like New York and New Jersey. This is my first year [to be a part of the Teen Board] but I’ve been doing stuff like that for a while.
Why do you focus on visiting children in hospitals?
When I was little, I had some … difficulties. Like when I was being born, I could have died. I want to try and help the little kids that have the same problems as me when I was little…I try to help all the kids. [There is no reason for them to be] hated on just because they have a different ability than other people. I try to help everyone that I can.
Do you find that kids who are sick or in the hospital are bullied?
I think they do get bullied. Some might say they just do it for attention, stuff like that. My heart breaks for them…I want everyone to feel welcomed. That idea was the one that really clicked with me about the hospitals. I was like, ‘that’s it!’ I don’t have to sing covers, I can sing my own songs that I write for them.
What are some things you like to do for fun?
I like to bake. I don’t know why. I like to bake with my friends, call them over and be like, ‘Hey, come over let’s bake a cake.’ That’s what we do. I’m very sweet-toothed; brownies, cookies, anything!
What do your friends think about your music?
I’ve had some friends along the way that haven’t been as supportive as others…Some of them are jealous but I don’t really worry about [that]. I’m trying to do my own thing that I love, and I love to inspire others to do what they want to do…I have a dream, everyone has a dream. Conquer it!