They say adversity is the greatest inspiration in art. This explains why in Craig McMahon’s Sweet Sunshine, the lead character TJ (John Way), is the most prolific songwriter in the history of music. At a young age, TJ was born to blue-collar work in a small town in Middle America. But TJ wasn’t meant for menial labor.
TJ has dreams for bigger things and a better life, but standing in his way is his father, Hank (Rob Edwards), who wants him to learn to be a real “man.” The only one who believes in TJ is his sister, Dakota (Mackenzie Coffman). She gives TJ her “moving-out” money, and the two produce his songs at a local recording studio.
“But that doesn’t matter, as TJ quickly becomes the hottest singer in the world.”
But before you know it, Dakota is killed in a fiery car crash, because TJ needed to finish a song and Dakota only had a driver’s permit at the time. Of course, Hank blames TJ for her death and immediately has a heart attack. TJ feels guilty and takes a working job to support his father.
Meanwhile, at the studio, TJ’s tapes are discovered by British manager, Kat (Julie Van Lith). She talks him into completing a full album, which angers Hank. “You’re a dreamer,” he exclaims and then kicks TJ out of his life. But that doesn’t matter, as TJ quickly becomes the hottest singer in the world.
TJ soon succumbs to all of the trappings of fame…sort of. He begins dating a selfish blond, buys a huge house. Deep down, he’s still the nice, pre-famous, humble man, we knew from the start. And as if things couldn’t get worse, they get worse. He starts coughing up blood. He has a tumor in his larynx and can no longer sing.