Bonnie Bishop will be joining us in the studio on December 8th to talk about her show at the Open Chord later that night! Show details are as follows:
$8 Adv / $10 Day of
In the meantime, enjoy this Bullet Backstory from Bonnie Bishop, herself.
Take it away Bonnie!
- Biggest Musical Influence: I hate this question – and everyone always asks this, LOL! It’s hard to say who my “biggest influence” is, as there are so many artists who influence a musician’s sound. I guess my earliest influences were pretty influential – Motown and oldies – as that is still a lot of what I listen to. It was also what my folks were listening to while I was growing up. I was never a fan of pop music or anything that was current. I was drawn to soulful singers – people like Aretha Franklin and Otis Redding and Etta James. In high school it was CCR and Bob Seger and Joe Cocker, as well as more folky artists like James Taylor and Carole King. My Mom gave me “Nick of Time” in the early 90’s and that was my intro to Bonnie Raitt, who became one of my musical role models because she was a female who spent 20 years on the road before she had a major radio hit. Once I started writing my own songs, I found out about people like Patty Griffin, Darrell Scott, and Townes Van Zandt. I also drew a lot of inspiration from my peers that I was around on the road – Hayes Carll and Seth Walker and Foy Vance and Adam Hood. These were all friends of mine who were writing great songs that really made me feel something. That was most important to me as an artist…to make people feel. And then once I moved to Nashville there were all my co-writers who pulled that soulfulness out of me even more and had a huge influence on my current music, but these are artists and writers most people have never heard. I am still influenced by musicians and writers that I meet all the time, people who are digging deep for emotional truth. That’s the kind of writer I strive to be.
- Why I pursued music as a career: I was terrified about getting a job in the real world, honestly. I didn’t feel suited for anything other than being creative and entertaining people. Writing music made me feel purposeful – like I was convening with the divine – and when I got up in front of people to share my music, I truly felt like I was contributing to the betterment of the world in a way that was uniquely me. I also had a strong desire to travel and see the world, and I thought I could still have a rich and fulfilling life going around as a touring artist, even if I never “made it” and was merely a starving artist for the rest of my life. It was more important to me to own myself and to do something that I was passionate about. I was never in it for the money. I wanted to create a legacy of great art.
- Advice for young musicians: The best advice I ever read came from two different writers – Julia Cameron (“The Artist’s Way”) and Stephen Pressfield (“The War Of Art”). Both of them emphasized the importance of treating your art like a job – show up to work on it every day. You can’t wait for inspiration to come to you, because inspiration is a living breathing thing that responds in equal measure to the amount of effort and importance that you show it. It’s like someone expecting to be a great athlete but never putting any time into training for their game, event, race, etc… you’ll never develop your abilities without practice. The creative process is the same way. I don’t get great song ideas just by wanting to be a great writer – I have to sit at a blank page day after day, pick on my guitar or piano, listening for melodies and editing and re-editing lyrics until the truly convey what I’m trying to say, etc. You have to work at it. I have found that what is most productive for me is a schedule – writing at the same time every day. 10am-2pm, no phones, no email. Just me and the paper and pen. I get rewarded with great ideas when I show up to the page and respect the creative process. Oh, and I suggest writing on real paper with a pencil or pen. There’s something spiritual and ancient about the movement of the hand across a blank page. None of this laptop/Iphone business; modern technology is a hindrance to the divine in my opinion.
- Favorite thing to do in Knoxville: Well, all I’ve ever done in Knoxville is play a show! I’m sure there’s lots of fun things to do there, but someone will have to take me out and show me. I’m usually just blowing through town on my way to another gig…which is pretty fun too J
- If I could work with any musician… I would have loved to work with Ray Charles. He felt everything on such a deep level, and it would have been amazing to sit next to him on a piano bench and experience the music as it came through him. I also LOVE singing harmonies and wearing bad ass dresses so I would have been fun to have been one of his BGV singers…although I probably would have fallen in love with him and ended up like all his other scorned lovers so it’s probably for the best that we missed each other in this lifetime, ha!