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Up Close with Bonnie Bishop

(Interviewed on September 24, 2004)

Genre:  Country, Americana

PC: When did you begin your music career? 

 

BB: been singing since i was young - choir, etc - and had operatic training thru high school and college...also some musical theater training. Started writing original songs in 2001 (senior yr at UT) and then started gigging out about two years ago.

 

PC: Who are your main musical influences?

 

BB: Aretha Franklin, James Taylor, Emmylou Harris

 

PC: Where can someone get copy of your self title CD "Bonnie Bishop"?

 

BB:  New CD is called "Long Way Home" - Hastings, www.bonniebishop.com, www.cdbaby.com, waterloo records, bills records and tapes, cactus records, lonestarmusic.com

 

PC: What approach do you take when writing your songs? Do you have any specific routine?

 

BB:  i'll usually get an idea based on how i am feeling about something, when i am overwhelmed emotionally by something i am going through or something i witness someone else going through, and i'll just start spilling my thoughts into ryhyme...eventually a melody will come to me that matches the music. i also work with rob albertson my guitar player and he comes up with great melodies and i'll have him record it and then i'll listen to it over and over in my car until i am inspired to write something

 

PC: Decribe what Texas music is all about to you?

 

BB: it's about people doing whatever they want - we have the luxury of being in a market full of music lovers. They dont' expect your music to be one thing or the other...they just want it to be good.

 

PC: (Texas Music artist is like one big family, everyone helps each other out)is this true?

 

BB: I have definitely experienced this - everyone (or almost everyone) makes instant friends and puts in a good word for you wherever they can. it's been a very accepting group of musicians.

 

PC: I've got two songs. If you don't mind, I was wondering if you could go over how they came about or what was going at the time.

 

1)"Goin' Back To Texas"

 

BB:  i had the idea for this song for a long time - it is about my mother. she and i are the only ones who really know the whole story, but it's about coming back home to Texas after finding yourself at the end of love.

 

2)"Send Me A Cowboy"

 

BB:  i wrote this on teh way home from Hunstville after a really bad blind date - basically i was fed up with dating and "playing the game"....it was kind of my prayer to the Lord to wait for the person that he had planned for me. what's funny about this song is that when we went in to record it, i was unhappy with the original lyrics in the verse (which were really cheesy and i have a hidden recording of them somewhere!!) so we left it off the record. two weeks later i kept thinking about it and decided to go back in to record it, but couldn't come up with anything. we had the studio scheduled so all the way up to the day we were going in to record, i was in a panic trying to come up with new lyrics. i didn't end up getting it right until i was in the car on the way to the studio - talk about a pressure situation. the first time i ever sang those lyrics was when we laid them down in the studio. i guess that song was truly meant to be - it's been the favorite among fans and radio from the beginning.

 

PC: Where do you want to be in the next few years with your music career? Any long term goals?

 

BB:  in the next few years i want to be on my feet financially - actually making a living and not just scraping by. i'd like to have more help so i can do more stuff - promotions, booking, etc - and i want to start a non-profit orgainization that unites artists in concerts to raise money for different causes. long term goals - i want to play my music, my way, for as long as i want to and have people love it. i want to travel the world. i want to use my talents for God's glory and bless people wherever i go.

 

PC: Is there anybody that you would like to perform with on stage or do a duet with?

 

BB: james taylor, emmy lou harris

 

PC: What CD would be found in your CD player right now?

 

BB: patty griffin's "Impossible Dream"


Music

Bonnie Bishop's Music
"Long Way Home" CD


  1. Send Me A Cowboy
  2. Going Back To Texas
  3. In The Mirror
  4. Long Way Home
  5. The Waltz
  6. Men Are Like Buses
  7. If I Needed You
  8. Simple House
  9. Sweet On The Down Low
  10. Friend Of Mine
  11. Woman Willing To Wait
  12. Wayfaring Stranger

Bonnie Bishop's Music
Self Title CD

Bonnie Bishop - Album Cover

  1. Going Back To Texas
  2. Men Are Like Buses
  3. Only Glory
  4. Send Me A Cowboy

Bio

Bonnie Bishop grew up in Texas far from the honky tonks and hay rides of country music in suburban Houston, the daughter of native Texans who raised her on the soulful melodies of Aretha Franklin and the likes of Motown. She trained to be an opera singer throughout high school, but graduated from college with a degree in sociology and a plan to somehow make a living doing music her own way. After meeting up with her long-time guitar player and friend Rob Albertson, she began making her way across the state playing her original tunes for anyone who would listen and anywhere that she was able to get booked. Now with a couple years experience under her belt, a more finely-tuned focus, and a new CD on the horizon, this young singer is poised to make a huge impact on the hearts of music lovers in Texas and beyond.

Though having just been in the music scene for a short time, already Bonnie has shared bills with many established artists such as Radney Foster, Kevin Fowler, Bruce Robison, and Lyle Lovett, and currently plays numerous well-known venues and festivals including Robert Earl Keen's 4th of July Uprising, Larry Joe Taylor's Annual Festival, the Gypsy Tea Room in Dallas, and Austin's legendary Saxon Pub. While hard work and rich blessing have largely paved the road for her accomplishments thus far, it is the music itself and the dynamics of a very talented and loyal band that have earned Bonnie a place of respect in the music community. Called an "exciting and energetic group to watch" by the Bryan Eagle, Bonnie's band consists of six players, including electric and acoustic guitars, mandolin, violin, and three part harmonies, and ranges in style from bluesy rock to Americana and country. The music reflects the versatility of its lead singer's songwriting and expansive vocal range, which makes it unique to the Texas music scene and appealing to a wide demographic of listeners. In a recent review, long time radio owner Ronnie Whitcher wrote that Bonnie "has one of those voices that seems to go wherever she wants to take it, and she takes it from a sweet whisper to rafter-shaking force at times...." In addition to her full band shows, Bonnie and co-writer Albertson also play acoustically in listening rooms statewide, which is rewarding because it allows them to be more personal with the audience and show off not only the power of Bonnie's voice but the intimacy of it as well.

In 2003 Bonnie's first single "Send Me a Cowboy" released to country radio statewide and met with moderate success, reaching the top ten on both the Texas Music Chart as well as the Progressive Music Chart. Proving to be a dynamic and hard-working young businesswoman, Bonnie says she drove over 30,000 miles visiting radio stations alone to personally promote her music and to better understand Texas radio and its fans. Now with the August 31 release of her first full-length album entitled Long Way Home, Bonnie plans to win over a new radio audience with the same old-fashioned, door-to-door marketing she relied on before. With the new CD, she has expanded her focus to include Americana and college radio in addition to the country stations that have showed her support thus far, as the album is a very diverse collection of original music and appeals to several different genres. Already the new single "Sweet on the Down Low" is receiving airplay in nearly every market across the state and just recently began climbing the Texas Music Chart after just two weeks in rotation. One of the things that grabs people about the CD is the intimacy of Bonnie's songwriting, nearly all of which comes from personal experience. "Bonnie's music is straight from the heart," said Pam Shane of Shane Media about the new album, "it's for music lovers." It is from this audience that Bonnie hopes to win fans and earn the kind of loyalty that builds long-term musical success like that of Emmylou Harris and Lyle Lovett and would enable her to continue to grow in her uniqueness as a singer/songwriter.


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For More Information on Bonnie Bishop visit her web site at www.bonniebishop.com


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2003-2004 Texas Red Dirt Singers Songwriters Monthly   Philip W. Corder