|Bonzie photo credit: Xi Sinsong|
MCB: Let’s start off with the most obvious of questions – how did you come upon the name Bonzie?
Bonzie: Bonzie is a word I came up with devoid of a conventional definition. It's linguistic clay. It's been interesting to see how, when something is not clearly defined, people try and relate it to something similar. I've heard some different interpretations of where people think it came from. The thing I liked about it, is that it isn't influenced by anything, and doesn't relate itself to anything, unless someone else's imagination makes it so. It's my pseudonym.
MCB: I read that you don’t come from a family of musicians. Do you think that has helped or hindered you?
Bonzie: There was never any expectation; that was freeing. They didn't correct me when I was wrong or critique my performances, whether it be out of ignorance or apathy, I started to get a sense for "nothing is wrong" in music. That's stayed with me. I prefer writing in privacy, in seclusion, so my family's unawareness made it all the more fulfilling for me in that aspect as well. I've been able to figure out what I like, and how I like doing it, and I feel lucky to have had it derive in that way.
MCB: A lot of other young singers chose to go the route of doing covers on Youtube or trying out for Americal Idol. Why have you chosen a much more independent route?
Bonzie: I was invited to be on The Voice, actually. I turned it down. I just know what kind of music I want to create and how I want to create it. I like to be in control of that. I think the audience deserves that. There is this ridiculous assumption that artists, particularly young ones, are only in music for the proverbial spotlight, divorced from the actual thing itself. I want to put out something that reflects an individual thought or vision.
MCB: Where did you fit in at school? Were you part of a clique? (the goths, the drama scene, etc.)
Bonzie: Being a part of a group is so limiting! If you stay for too long, you'll start regulating yourself. I went to a large school, so it was interesting to see how people do end up clustering. It's some kind of survival tactic— something instinctive. Personally, I liked getting in and getting out of groups, like an anthropologist or something.
MCB: Do you like the experience of touring?
Bonzie: Yeah. Traveling is great.
MCB: Is performing live fun for you or nerve-wracking?
Bonzie: It's a combination of the two. If there's ever any anxiety beforehand, it all kind of manifests itself into what I'm doing— the strumming of the guitar, or the overall connection to the performance. It's a different experience depending on where we are and what the room feels like. That's the fun thing about touring.
MCB: Any surprising incidents that have happened while touring?
Bonzie: I've brought my dog on a few short tours. She's a West Highland White Terrier, so fairly small, and I can sneak her into places. I took her into my session at Daytrotter. She's used to hearing me play a lot at home, so she seemed pleased at hearing the session.
MCB: When you write a song do you start with the lyrics or the melody?
Bonzie: It depends on the song. Usually it all comes at once, and I sort of follow it until it forms itself.
MCB: Who are the singers/bands you look to as influences?
Bonzie: I like what the Dirty Projectors do. Dave (of Dirty Projectors) is really talented. Deerhoof's records are awesome. Their songs are great. Slint has been an influence of mine, I can listen to those albums on rotation and never get tired of it. Charles Mingus is so on point, almost pop-y— I like his live albums.
MCB: Not too long ago you were more on the outside looking in on the music industry.
Bonzie: Now, over the past few months you’ve been thrown into the middle of it. Is it what you expected?It's been amazing. I'm not sure how it's happened, but I've been totally independent this whole time, on my own label. All I know, is what I put into it, and the rest is beyond me.
MCB: Where do you hope to see yourself five years from now?
Bonzie: I want to continue making records with the same incentive as I make them now. I hope I will be playing with musicians that I can connect with, and respect… I would love to work out a live arrangement with a full string section, at some point. That might be cool. I would love to tour internationally. There are so many important, passionate music fans outside of the U.S.
This post by Mikel OD of MPAD Media