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June 16, 2016

Megan Bonnell Interview

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Written by: CT
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megan bonnell

Songstress Megan Bonnell released her stunning new album, Magnolia, on April 15th, 2016 with Cadence Music. She has since then performed at Canadian Music Week and the CBC Music Festival last month, growing her fan base along the way.

Check out the interview our writer Kelsey Cueva did with Megan!

K: I know that music’s played a very important part in your life. Between teaching yourself piano at an early age, and continuing your pursuit of music throughout high school and onward, when was the moment you realized that you wanted to make music a career?

M: I think it was a gradual realization for me. Music was something that very much unfolded incrementally over many years. I studied classical voice in high school, then formed a band where we began writing our own material and getting acquainted with the Toronto music scene. We were playing around town and touring while we were in university so it was very much something we were doing on the side. While I was in my last two years of university I went through a fresh period of writing a lot for myself. When I graduated, I knew that I wanted nothing more than to give it my full attention. It felt so right and I’m a very passionate person so there was no reasoning with myself to go a different route. I knew it would be a grind but what isn’t? I’m so glad I made the decision to go for it!
K: Your voice is so sweet and soothing! And I’ve heard that according to Zimbo.com, you’ve been placed up there among the likes of Daughter, Bon Iver, and Damien Rice. Who would you say are your biggest musical influences?

M: My musical influences are often changing. Bob Dylan is someone I always return to and find new meaning in. Lyrically his songs make my heart skip a beat. He’s my homeboy who’s always there for me when I need him. My friend and producer, Chris Stringer introduced me to Martin Tielli’s music a few years ago and that was the most moved and inspired I had felt by listening to something in a long time. Karen Dalton’s voice takes me back in time. Her song “Something’s on Your Mind”…go play it right now and try not to fall in love. Most recently Beyonce’s Lemonade…She’s a rock and roller on this album and I love it.
K: I understand that Magnolia really started to come together while you were touring for your first album, Hunt and Chase – all the while, you were dealing with “losing love”, and then came the birth of your niece. What was it like for you to write music on the road while everything else was going on at the time?

M: I think when you’re touring there’s so much time during the day to reflect on things. That, mixed with a bit of homesickness and long drives spent listening to music makes for a lot of emotions. Whenever I’m feeling this way, I naturally head to the piano or guitar. Writing feels like a good friend to me in the sense that it can often take the things you’re working through in your mind and turn them into something clear and articulate. It turns emotional messes into something of beauty and sense. I am also a very nostalgic person. Remembering moments from my past that I maybe cannot reach anymore has always been a huge source of inspiration. It’s a way I’ve kept certain things close to me, and I value that greatly.
K: You have quite a few standout hits on your new album (“Golden Boy” and “Out and Away” are my personal favourites!) Out of all the songs on Magnolia, which one is your favourite? Does it have a backstory?

M: I think Dynamite might be my favourite. It’s definitely the least “normal” song on the album. We let it all hang out on this one and I love that. My producers Chris Stringer and Joshua Van Tassel and I all agreed that we didn’t want to tame the beast. What opens as this simple and lamenting piano/vocal verse, then kind of derails into a totally different landscape of mood and sound. I love the sentiment as well. It starts as a heartbroken goodbye and ends in shouting chants of, “you don’t like me anymore” and “you are not my friend.” It showcases the dramatic mood changes that can often happen post break up. All the various stages of grief. Sadness, anger..etc. The heart is on its sleeve in this one, and the sleeve is in your face- calling it as it is.

K: You wrapped up your Magnolia tour across Canada in April, and have had the chance to tour other countries like Spain and the UK as well. Out of all the places and venues you’ve been to, where did you enjoy performing most?

M: Each city always has something unique to offer. Most recently I played a show in Canmore, Alberta that was magical. An old friend of mine lives on The Bow River there and she offered to take us out on a paddle before sound check. The water was crystal clear and we were surrounded by mountains. It felt so surreal that I could be in the middle of the wild an hour before going to soundcheck! There is a very vibrant music community I did not know about within the town. The venue filled up and everyone there was so eager to sit and listen to music. Everything just felt stripped down to the basics. Everyone and everything was so connected, the group of people, the music and the nature that was surrounding us. It was a pretty special day for me. I felt very inspired and heart warmed by it.

K: Do you have any other projects lined up for the near future – perhaps you’re working on some new songs or filming another music video?

M: I’ve been writing some new songs, which feels so exciting to me. I always tend to stop writing during the process of getting an album out. I think you just get so focused on getting everything finished and rolled out on time that it stifles inspiration a little bit.. being so inside the one project still. Now that Magnolia is out in the world and cruising on its own a little bit, I feel like I can step outside of it and look ahead to new material!

K: Where do you hope to be in your music career 5 years from now?

M: I hope I have another album or two under my belt and to be further developed as an artist with a larger loyal fan base to inspire and connect with.

Take a listen to the first single off Magnolia, Can’t Have You. For more on Megan, check her out at:

https://www.facebook.com/meganbonnellmusic/

http://www.magnoliamusic.info/#magnolia

Watch her recently released music video for her song “Golden Boy” here:






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