Audible’s initial Hello Sunshine originals are first-person narratives from three women: music-industry veteran Sophia Chang, judge Rosemarie Aquilina, and comedian-activist Maysoon Zayid. The multi-hour audio memoirs will be available on Amazon-owned Audible in late 2019 and early 2020.
The original productions fall under a pact the companies struck a year ago, which kicked off with the launch of Reese’s Book Club x Hello Sunshine on the audiobook and audio-entertainment service last summer featuring titles with strong female characters.
Chang, Aquilina, and Zayid are each “singular women” who have “pursued their dreams with conviction, achieved success in the face of improbable odds, and are redefining societal norms around female identity and power,” said Charlotte Koh, Hello Sunshine’s head of digital media and unscripted. She added that Audible is “providing these women with a premium service that commands a wide and highly engaged audience.”
Here are descriptions for the trio of Audible Originals x Hello Sunshine:
- “Baddest Bitch in the Room,” written and performed by Sophia Chang: The daughter of Korean immigrants, Chang recounts growing up in a suburb of Vancouver and forming her identity by defying expectations and challenging societal biases. As a young woman who fell in love with hip-hop in its formative years, she moved to New York, slipped into the underground music scene, and influenced the careers of prominent musical artists including the Wu-Tang Clan. Set against a backdrop of underground hip-hop clubs, record label boardrooms and Shaolin Temple pilgrimages, Chang tells her own transformative story of becoming — on her own terms — the baddest bitch in the room.
- “Magnificent Things,” written and performed by judge Rosemarie Aquilina: An intimate story told by the judge who presided over one of highest-profile cases in sports history: the trial of Larry Nassar, the former team doctor for USA Gymnastics convicted of sexually abusing numerous young women. By inviting all his victims to speak in her courtroom, Aquilina shifted the focus from the accused to the human costs of Nassar’s crimes and changed the national conversation around sexual assault and its consequences.
- “Limping on the Edge,” written and performed by Maysoon Zayid: A Muslim comedian with cerebral palsy, Zayid tells a story of pursuing her dreams of becoming an activist, actor and writer with optimism, confidence and grace. Zayid, the daughter of Palestinian immigrants, recounts the experiences that have shaped her — from spending childhood summers in Ramallah to competing for disabled roles against able-bodied actors — and explains how, through her work as a stand-up comedian, she elevates other diverse voices in her field.
“These are three remarkable women with incredible stories to tell,” said David Blum, editor-in-chief of Audible Originals, “and we’re honored to be working with our friends at Hello Sunshine to bring their words, in their own powerful and intimate voices, to life for listeners everywhere.”
As with all Audible content, the Hello Sunshine audio memoirs will be available to purchase a la carte. Audible’s $14.95 monthly subscription includes unlimited access to one title, plus two of six featured Audible originals (which rotate each month).
Santa Monica-based Hello Sunshine, which Witherspoon founded in 2016, has projects spanning film, TV, podcasts and digital content.
Those include a Hulu series based on Celeste Ng’s “Little Fires Everywhere” starring Witherspoon and Kerry Washington; “Where the Crawdads Sing,” a film adaptation of Delia Owens’ bestselling debut novel; and two shows for the forthcoming Apple TV+ service: “The Morning Show,” starring Witherspoon, Jennifer Aniston and Steve Carell, and “Are You Sleeping,” an adaptation of Kathleen Barber’s novel of the same name executive produced by and starring Octavia Spencer.