Bonnie Bishop is a renowned American songwriter who has made her living on the road as a performer for well over a decade. As a full-time touring artist, she has run the small club circuit at a tenacious pace of a hunded-and-fifty dates per year, both as a solo performer and with her band, and built a legion of loyal fans as far as Dubai and the United Kingdom, making her an inspiration to... more
Bonnie Bishop is a renowned American songwriter who has made her living on the road as a performer for well over a decade. As a full-time touring artist, she has run the small club circuit at a tenacious pace of a hunded-and-fifty dates per year, both as a solo performer and with her band, and built a legion of loyal fans as far as Dubai and the United Kingdom, making her an inspiration to indie artists everywhere. Three parts Carole King, Janis Joplin, and Bonnie Raitt, with a splash of Joe Cocker and a shot of Robert Earl Keen, Bonnie’s music straddles the fence between country and soul with an original sound that resonates with audiences from her home in Texas to the international stage. If hard work and perserverance are the road to success, then this 34-year-old singer-songwriter is about to hit the BIG time.
While her touring life has taught her to be an overcomer, it is Bonnie’s heartfelt original songs that have propelled her career and earned her the reputation as a prolific American songstress. As a writer, Bonnie’s most recent successes include the hit “Not ‘Cause I Wanted To”, co-written with Al Anderson and recorded by her musical hero Bonnie Raitt. Her greatest triumph to date came when she received her first Grammy credit for the song on Raitt’s comeback album “Slipstream,” which won Americana Record of the Year in 2013. “Not ‘Cause I Wanted To” was also named 2012 Best Song of the Year by the New York Times.
Her stories of survivial and redemption, combined with weighted subject matter, find their way into empowering and anthemic songs that make up her personally themed playlist. Bonnie sums up her own creative process in this one line from the song “Best Songs Come From Broken Hearts,” Track 6 on her latest album “Free”: “I went back in the house and picked up this guitar; somehow my fingers found their way to my heart.”
It was this sentiment exactly that resonated with the producers of the hit TV show “Nashville” and earned Bonnie her first TV credit in October of 2013 when Connie Britton’s charater Rayna James made her comeback singing “Best Songs” in front of 9 million viewers. The song instantly broke the song into the Top 50 on the ITunes country chart.
Like many singers and songwriters before her, Bonnie Bishop’s music and success has been a story of hardship, surrender, perseverance and redemption. The journey of Bonnie’s music career started in Austin, Texas at the age of 19 where she was studying stage acting and musical theater at the University of Texas. She was identified by local musicians Riley Osborne and Derek O’Brien and asked to record her first demo - an EP of blues covers. Then, inspired by her first heartbreak, Bonnie began songwriting and kicked off her tour as a professional performer by putting her first band together and hitting the road.
Bonnie was always determined and resourceful, training herself to manage every aspect of her music career from booking to production, as well as teaching herself to play first guitar and then piano. Her Texas career soon flourished into performances along side Robert Earl Keen, Eli Young Band, Hayes Carll, and Willie Nelson. She went on to co-produce and release four country-esque albums of original material, earning a nomination for Vocal Performance of the Year for “Things I Know” at the Lone Star Music Awards
In 2008, Bonnie left her beloved Texas and arrived on the Nashville music scene to be among the best of the best in order to further her songwriting career. She signed a four-year publishing deal with Bobby Rymer and started collaborating regularly with legendary songwriters Mike Reid, Al Anderson, and Pat McLaughlin. She also forged musical frienships with blues guitarists Tim Krekel and Lee Roy Parnell, both of whom reignited her childhood love of soul music.
Nashville presented a host of personal hardships, particularly a painful divorce that furthered Bonnie’s musical story and set her on a path of self-discovery which resulted in her fifth album, “Free.” A collection of redemptive and unapologetically honest songs inspired by the singer’s own journey of faith, “Free” was called “easily one of the best albums of the year” by the Houston Chronicle. Packing undeniable vocal punch into a song list never short of emotional voltage, (Duane Vehr/Roots Music Report), Bonnie’s soulful compositions and raspy voice outlived her personal reinvention and saw her pairing Stevie Wonder-esque piano rythyms (courtesy of co-writer and co-producer Jimmy Wallace) with her most heartfelt lyrics yet, all written with one simple notion: You have to love yourself before you can fully love and be loved by anyone else.
In the words of Austin Chronicle’s Margaret Moser, “Free Bonnie (landed) squarely between survival and redemption.” After nearly 13 hard-fought years on the road, this pioneer is happily resting right there for now. These days Bonnie is doing less touring in order to focus more on her writing, both for other artists as well as for her own projects. An album of inspirational songs is in the works, which she plans to record with Nashville producer Marshall Altman later this year, and not coincidentally, her latest band endeavor is a “Revival!” that combines the gospel aspects of Bonnie’s original music with classic hymns in a rocking, uplifting tribute to the God with whom she credits all her success. She hopes that 2014 will bring her a “team” of qualified industry professionals who can share her load and help her music reach a larger audience.
As always, when Bonnie is not working, she is continuously perfecting her own style of healthy cuisine and serving up dishes that are as unique as her music, keeping her friends and family in Nashville happy and well fed.
WHAT SOME PEOPLE ARE SAYING ABOUT BONNIE BISHOP'S "FREE":
"USA TODAY PLAYLIST: 10 intriguing tracks: Best Songs Come From Broken Hearts, Bonnie Bishop. Bonnie Raitt
recently cut Bishop's Not 'Cause I Wanted To. On this track, Bishop's wracked-soul delivery puts her in that Bonnie's league." (Brian Mansfield/USA TODAY)
"These performances capture her raw, gospel styled vocals and blues based rocking in story songs like the Bob Seger inflected 'Bad Seed' and the gritty, heartfelt tomorrow-is-a-better-day ballad 'World Like This.' Get ready to sway your arms in the air with lighters held aloft for the gutsy piano based title ballad, a tune crying out to be covered
by one of the American Idol wannabees. There are plenty of reasons why Bonnie Raitt covered Bishop’s co-write with Al Anderson on her new album, and all of them are obvious on this short but powerful set. It’s filled with rugged material that reverberates with the passion of the singer’s personal triumphs over adversity." (Hal Horowitz/American
"Gritty, rockin’, bluesy, country, wistful, whip-smart – there just aren’t enough adjectives to describe the hot Americana that comes from Bonnie Bishop. In a way, such descriptives do her music an injustice because Bishop’s music is no easy-to-categorize pop Americana...Like Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, and other Americana songwriting icons, Bishop used personal pain to fuel her artistry. (Nancy Dunham/The Alternate Root)
"Bonnie Bishop is a very special singer/songwriter/musician loaded with talent. When she sings her songs she paints pictures that our alive with emotion and truth...She is simply a 'great singer'. Bonnie's soulful and raspy voice contains parts of Janis Joplin and her musical hero, Bonnie Raitt and maybe a little Adele also...all the songs she has written on this album are outstanding. According to Bonnie Raitt,'Bonnie Bishop is so talented, and very special. She's an amazing presence. I think she's going to be a big star.' I join Bonnie Raitt in stating that Bonnie Bishop's time has arrived. The release of this Album on October 9, 2012 will announce to the world that the next major
singer/songwriter/musician to take center stage is Bonnie Bishop." (Robert Nicosia/Music Man Blog)
"Bishop’s new album, 'Free,' is...a lean, seven-song collection highlighted by the title track, a gospel-tinged confessional about redemption and reawakening... It’s easily one of the finest records of the year." (Joey Guerra/Houston Chronicle)
"Another Bonnie — Raitt, that is — cut an eloquent regret ballad that Bishop co-wrote with Al Anderson. And Bishop returned to doing her own thing with newfound verve. On her new album 'Free', she sounds like the gospel-fired sister of Grace Potter. Of the two of them, it could be argued that Bishop’s drawing deeper from Janis Joplin’s blues-shouting, rock ’n’ roll well at this point. But the redemptive lift of Bishop’s latest songs strongly implies there’s no need to fear she’ll meet a similarly tragic end." (Jewly Hight/Nashville Scene)
"...over the years there’s been something about 'Bonnie' that makes for earthy, soulful singers. And Ms. Bishop fits this role as solidly as the Bramlett, Raitt and Tyler that preceded her. And this Nashville-based singer-songwriter’s undeniable vocal punch here matches up with a song list never short of emotional voltage. (Duane Verh/Roots Music Report)
"...Bonnie Bishop’s come into her own. Her rootsy new album 'Free' lands her squarely between survival and redemption, the songs reflecting a newfound confidence that’s attracted Bonnie Raitt, who recorded “Not ’Cause I Wanted To” for her new Slipstream." (Margaret Moser/Austin Chronicle)
"...an album that might just put a well-deserved national spotlight on her delightfully smoky and raspy voice, (think Delbert McClinton with estrogen) thoughtful lyrics that live in the human heart, and musical arrangements that make everything sparkle...a remarkable collection of
personal tunes from a singer with a fresh, enthusiastic approach...Bonnie Bishop has rare musical gifts: The ability to express deep emotional experience in her lyrics, and a voice that delivers them right to your experience." (Jim White/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
"Texas native Bonnie Bishop is one of those artists that you will no doubt remember the first time you heard her. I know I will. She’s got a little bit of Raitt, Judd, and Nicks all combined in her style, but she is very much her own artist. She exudes confidence all over this album... It’s too bad that pop radio doesn’t embrace such a blues-oriented sound, because if this were 1990, she could very well give Raitt a run for her money." (Chuck Dauphin/Music News Nashville)
"While some will make understandable comparisons to Janis Joplin, Bonnie Raitt (who has recorded one of her songs, 'Not ‘Cause I Wanted To') or even Bonnie Bramlett, she exudes a confident authenticity. Her voice is emotive and full of bluesy edge...her songwriting shines a light on the redemptive spirit...Like many of her inspirational role models, it is time for Bonnie Bishop to bask in the spotlight." (Robbie Gerson/Audiophile Audition)
"Her music shows her Texas roots, spanning the spectrum of styles from blues to gospel to singer/song writer to honky-tonk...pleasantly raspy voice...a voice with built in personality...There is a ring of truth and authenticity." (Bob Gottlieb/FAME)
"Bishop isn’t afraid to rock it and go for the big choruses making her a white hot white blues mamma for these times. A blistering DIY release where no drop of sweat was held back, the grand children of 70s hippies now have a blues babe of their own that really knows how to
tear it up. Hot stuff." (Chris Spector/Midwest Record Review)
"Bonnie Bishop is so talented, and very special. She’s an amazing presence. I think she’s going to be a big star." (Bonnie Raitt)less