We had the good fortune of connecting with Sunny A Atema and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Sunny A, how do you think about risk?
To actualize courage we take risks Courage is demonstrated not imagined
I love courage
It is a quality that lights me up when I am in the presence of it
The finest expression of courage is a sacred robe worn by a vulnerable truth
To be vulnerable risks persecution
And often finds it
At live shows I revel in the missed notes or variations from the recorded version
It allows me to feel human, to know we are live and alive

My musical name is Wildlife Freeway
This name talks about the bridges built over highways for Animals to safely cross the road to get to their parties while we humans drive to ours
The name also speaks of wildness freedom and life on the road
The Animal Medicine Cards oracle deck that I created and self publish is another sort of bridge
A bridge for the Animals to help teach the Humans
The wisdom of dauntless Goat and unswayable stubborn Pig helped me find courage on that journey
Making the dream into a shareable, interactive art heart object for wisdom, advise and exploration

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
A couple years back after my dog died, I packed my piano in the back of my station wagon and toured the US I was so sad, a part of me died too
Half ghost, half caterpillar cocoon I drove
North east south west in a circle square of sadness and grieving
I wept when people, city to country, asked how am I doing
The music shows were raw exquisitely painful beautiful
I felt like a kite whose string was cut loose, longing for the Earth
Each show was a deep sharing surrounded by people’s perfect
Presence beckoning me back to our shared world
When I felt far from Earth
It was in NoLa on that tour that I met my producer
Alex Ebert (Edward Sharp) and soon after recorded the first Wildlife Freeway album
The piano compositions and songs I write are a boat sturdy enough to hold splashes and spontaneity
If you have ever seen one of my performances you know
It is a unique deep experience not easy to name or surmise
Storytelling, folk, jazz, pop, hypnosis.. lol
Wildlife Freeway is an intrepid path in the wilds
Alongside the smooth well trod highway of generic rock shows and predictable musical experiences
But as an ancient wise philosopher once said: Eff it
Being a trailblazer can be creatively lonely and curious to market, but at least it’s not boring
A Wildlife Freeway performance is a life changing experience
It is a thing that I do but also a thing that does me
I create music, music creates me
Leading to the doorway of our hearts
The shows stop time so we can all look around in amazement in awe
Filling a hunger for intimacy and a wakeful heart.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Pupusas where are they?
they are sizzling delight on a sidewalk somewhere
in front of some parking lot in front of some shopping center

Plants wildlife fruit trees
Pushing up the cracks of layers and layers
and layers of cement
Coyotes howl and yip like a sound you never heard
Half hidden in the long grass between the human homes stacked tight on steep hillsides
Wild fruit trees spilling a green soft fruit you never ever saw in a grocery store
That you pick from ground at the bottom of the steep hill
It doesn’t seem poisonous
It is delicious

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Wildlife Freeway is a musical journey. In the last few years it has also become a visual experience.
Just finishing my music video for the upcoming ‘Flea’ song, the lead track for the Wildlife Freeway album release Feb 25 (!)

I’m shouting out the incredible cinematographers Iv’e gotten to work with these last years.
I am honored to thank these talented visionary humans:

Paula Oliveros – ‘Family’
Jesse Wilson – ‘Forest’
Phoenix Lotus and Daniela Dawson – ‘Swim’
Leslie Satterfield, – ‘Clouds’
Justin Wilson – ‘Bird Song’ (March 2022)
Panda Landa – ‘No Place Better’
James English Leary – ‘Giving In’.

Website: SunnyAAtema.com

Instagram: @wildlifefreeway @animalmedicinecards

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCibUU6SiuPEvVtCbLt_X2fg

Other: WildlifeFreeway.bandcamp.com WildlifeFreewaymusic.com

Image Credits
Sunny A A by Justin Wilson 2020 for upcoming Wildlife Freeway ‘Bird Song’ music video Sunny A A by Uni Sea 2019 Petit Ermitage LA Sunny A A by Leslie Satterfield 2020 Wildlife Freeway ‘Clouds’ music video Sunny A A by Phoenix Lotus 2020 Sunny A A by Paola Oliveros 2021 Wildlife Freeway ‘Family’ music video

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutLA is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.