Nina Ferraro, aka Bonzie
is probably the youngest thing on the indie scene today, but you would not be able to tell by listening to her music. Her writing is complex and witty, and she has an enormous voice that is on par with any other singer today. But, yeah, she's 18 years old and still in high school. She's been singing and recording for years out of her hometown of Chicago, and is set to release her debut album, Rift Into The Secret Of Things
, next month.
We caught up with Bonzie and got a glimpse into the psyche of a prodigy. She is extremely articulate and has an enormous amount of integrity - she cares a lot about her music and the way it's perceived. Check out or conversation with her below.
So, Nina Ferraro is your real name. Why did you decide to perform under the name Bonzie instead, and what does it mean?
There is such an excess of content in this day and age excess information, excess words about nothingness. I just felt like I needed something self-contained that didn't associate itself with a million things. The word Bonzie isn't influenced by anything except itself. I came up with it a long time ago. Releasing music as Nina Ferraro always felt strange and egotistical to me. I never felt comfortable making music under my own name. Bonzie is better for me.
What's it like to tour the country and record your own music while still in high school? Do your friends or peers treat you differently?
Some people are put off by it. My good friends don't care. It's kind of weeded out the toxicity that's already existent in high school.
I saw that your upcoming album derives its name from a passage in Walden. What do you like about Thoreau, and what other writers inspire you? What can the name Rift Into The Secret Of Things tell us about what the album will sound like?
Walden is one of my favorite books. There is an optimistic truth that lies beneath the book that's never fully articulated I think that's the point, I don't think it can be. Rift Into The Secret Of Things
is from the passage where Thoreau gets the closest at doing that. I like Thoreau because he was intuitive. He understood that society and life are two separate things.
Where do you draw influences from for your writing?
I draw influences in different ways from different things. I like visual art a lot. I like going to art galleries, stuff like that. I like the way Pavement uses words. I also love the way Bright Eyes uses words. Jim O'Rourke makes amazing records. Movie scores are crazy.
What does being from Chicago mean to you? Do you have a special affinity for any Chicago based musicians?
The music scene out here is really diverse. One of my favorite bands, Tortoise, is from Chicago. Dan Bitney from Tortoise is opening for my album release show at Schubas. I have all of their records. They're incredible musicians. The Orwells are another Chicago band and they're all pretty much my age, which is cool. The more I travel, the more I realize that Chicago is a great place to be from. It's a hearty town.
What's your favorite part of the country that you've toured?
I don't know if it was the specific tour that I loved or the place itself, but New York City. The movies were right.
I can't say. I don't feel like it would be kind to the listener or the song.
Listen to "Felix" ft. The Milk Carton Kids
Your song "Catholic High School" criticizes a lot of social structures and dynamics. How would you define your philosophy to those who may disagree with you?
There are so many inaccurate gauges for reliability and truth. Social acceptance in one date, time, and place is drastically different in another. Something coming from one person can mean something different coming from a different person. That's when things start to go haywire. Kings wear crowns, etc.
As a new young artist, how do you feel about the free music streaming debate that's going on?
There has to be a limit. I think people should be able to get whatever music they want to get, as soon as they think about it. But there has to be a limit.
What's been your favorite part of becoming a professional musician?
Doing it all the time! Creating things.
I'm going to college, but music is full time. It comes first.
If you could sing one of your songs with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be and what song?
It would be cool to sing any song with Sam Beam. That would be amazing.
Bonzie's Rift Into The Secret Of Things
is coming out in 17 days. If I were you, I would make sure I'm there to personally witness the birth of a long and great career. To keep track of Bonzie, Like her on Facebook
and follow her on Twitter