With larger than life vocals packed into a diminutive package, Brooklyn native, Lucy Bonilla has the world wondering, "Where the *#$% does she fit all that voice?!"
Simply calling her a powerhouse doesn't do her justice. Her raw energy on stage and passionate vocals defy definition. Her shows leave you feeling fired up and ready for more.
For as long as she could remember, Lucy had a passion for music. Everything in sight was a potential instrument. If it could make noise, she had to play it. As Lucy's passion for music continued to grow and she began teaching herself to play a wide variety of instruments including drums, bass and guitar. Her main instrument of course is her voice.
Her first release, "Something Out Of Nothing," gained recognition on the college radio charts and Lucy began to create a buzz around NYC. With her second release, “The Big Picture,” she performed at major U.S and international music festivals and opened for artists such as Matt Guitar Murphy, 2x gold record artist Grayson Hugh, Ronnie Baker Brooks Jr., Sean Costello, and Sam Taylor. The album featured Paul Ossolo on bass (G.E. Smith Band & Buddy Guy), Jason Langley (Shemekia Copeland and many others). The album was co-written by smooth jazz artist Matt Marshak. “Little Green Dress” from “The Big Picture” was used in a national commercial for The Discovery Channel, Discovery Health and TLC.
Lucy completed her third release at The Clubhouse in Rhinebeck, NY, under the expert guidance of producer Jim Weider (The Band, Bob Dylan, Mavis Staples, Los Lobos). She also welcomed the creative writing talents of Dean Batstone, Jerry Lynn Williams (Eric Clapton) and Jim Weider (www.jimweider.com) to pen various tracks. The title track, “Rolling Higher,” combines Lucy’s feisty vocals with slick guitar licks that hearken to blues greats of yesteryear. The song “You Are My Refuge,” climbed the indie pop top 30 charts and Top 100 singles under the guidance of legendary radio promoter Bill Jerome.
Her latest single, “Moments of Grace,” is currently climbing the top 100 of the FMQB national radio charts. This single beautifully balances powerful rockin’ and dynamic vocals with the tenderness of hope and promise.
Over the years, Lucy's talents have not gone unnoticed. She was chosen to participate in the East Coast Advanced Songwriters Workshop. ASCAP took notice of the songwriter when she captured one of the coveted spots in ASCAP's Demo To Deal program. Lucy was also a semi-finalist in Jewel's Soul City Café songwriting contest and has also written with Maggie Ryder (Anita Baker). She has expanded her tour grounds from Canada down the U.S East Coast.
Lucy Bonilla continues to astound audiences with her breathtaking voice, and she's glad you're with her for a musical journey that will last for years to come.
Lucy - Vocals
Moments of Grace - single (top 100 FMQB radio charts)
Big Ideas - single
Something Out of Nothing
The Big Picture
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Soundline.ca Canada’s Newest Music Magazine LUCY BONILLA EPK Review By RACHELLE FORD Staff W...Soundline.ca
Canada’s Newest Music Magazine
LUCY BONILLA EPK Review
By RACHELLE FORD
Amazing, and powerful. That’s how I would describe the vocals coming out Lucy Bonilla.
One would think she was part of a choir in a sweaty church in some southern state. It is full of soul, and is raspy yet beautiful.
She has an abundant amount life experience behind her strong lyrics. Every note is harmonious and flows into the next.
The songs by Lucy Bonilla have a wonderful jazzy blues feel to them. She belts out some notes like a mellow Janis Joplin. The songs on her website are fresh and modern, with an elegance about them. Just listening to her sing gives me empowerment.
Her style is smooth and gentle, predictable, yet in a comforting way. Imagine dining out at a luxurious restaurant with round tables. Romantic, and relaxing. Or maybe she would rather be sitting on a lone stool holding her microphone as she meets the eyes on those in the front row. Either way, I’m sure it would be a wonderful experience to see her in action.
Rock Meets Jazz.
Lucy Bonilla has a refreshing approach in her singing. This is not my usual taste of music, but it’s great feeling the normality of the sound. Everyone everywhere, who has heard any type of jazz or blues will be able to relate to the sound, who knows maybe even share them with friends. So stop by her website and give her music a listen, trust me it’s worth every minute.
Soundwaves Magazine Cover Story
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There’s that moment when a talented but struggling artist begins to see the light at the end of the ...There’s that moment when a talented but struggling artist begins to see the light at the end of the tunnel – or the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. For Lucy Bonilla that moment could be right now. After all, she has an excellent new CD out called “The Big Picture.” She’s touring in new and bigger venues. She’s expanding her base from her hometown of Brooklyn to the tri-state area. And she’s even getting a regional magazine or two to do a cover story on her!
Lucy will be back in Connecticut this month singing the blues at Black Eyed Sally’s in Hartford on January 28th and Stash’s Café in New London on January 29th. Many will see her for the first time and be blown away by this beautiful, petite woman with the powerhouse vocals. On stage she can get down and dirty for one song, sexy and sensual for the next tune, and rock the house after that. Her songs are personal and intimate portraits and her band sizzles.
I talked to Lucy by phone around the end of November. We discovered that we have one very cool thing in common. We both come from families of nine children where there were seven girls and two boys. Lucy is the baby in her family.
BH – Did you come from a musical family?
LB – “No but most people in my family have some artistic flair. I had a couple of sisters who played some wind instruments in the high school band but no one ever really pursued it beyond that. I have one sister that was a dancer and she pursued that for a while and I have a brother who was a photographer and he pursued that for a little while but nobody is as crazy and hell bent as I am.”
BH – What kind of music did you listen to growing up?
LB – “I had a couple of brothers and sisters who were into the disco era and all those forty nine piece bands that played their asses off. I also had a kind of hippy sister that was into ‘Godspell’ and ‘Jesus Christ Superstar,’ that kind of stuff. My mom would watch the gospel shows or whatever and they would have music on that and I remember watching that and hearing music. Yeah so kind of across the board I listened to everything – soul, reggae, rock.”
BH – Was there any one particular album that had an impact on you?
LB – “I can’t say one, no, because I take a little bit from so many great artists. And if it was good music I listened to it. And if it inspired me to do something then that was great.”
BH – When was the first time you sang for an audience?
LB – “Let’s see, the very first gig I did was a Bar Mitzvah and I got paid twenty-five dollars. I was fifteen years old. I was actually the drummer for some songs and then the guy who was singing and playing guitar would switch and play drums and I would get up and sing some of the songs. I think I sang Cyndi Lauper songs. I really can’t remember, it was whatever the kids wanted.”
BH – What about after that, through high school and into your late teens?
LB – “I was a drummer. I had an all girl band called Hard Knox. We had a lead singer and we all sang harmony, which was pretty cool. We had four part harmony. They always gave me the ridiculously high harmony.”
BH – When did you go out on your own?
LB – “Well I also played guitar, but I didn’t play guitar in a band. So I started writing my own songs in my later teens. And that’s when I started going out on my own, doing the singer/songwriter stuff.”
BH- Your first recording, “Something Out Of Nothing,” was that your first time in a studio?
LB – “It definitely was the first time I was in a studio besides little demos here and there, but yeah, that was my first.”
BH – How did that recording come about?
LB – “I had been writing a lot prior to that album and gigging around the city and I wanted to try to record and take my career to the next level. So I just put some money together and hired some musicians and did an EP because that’s what I could realistically do at the time. I guess I just did what any other musician did. I kept writing and chose the songs that I thought would be pretty good for the album and that’s how it came about.”
BH – Once the CD was out did it help your future gigs now that you had a product you could sell at your shows?
LB – “Yeah it definitely did. I sold a bunch at shows and I had used it to send to industry people and it helped me to try to get into some better situations.”
BH – Where were you mostly playing at the time?
LB – “Manhattan. I played solely in Manhattan. I did a lot of stuff at The Bitter End. I did The Bottom Line once and the Mercury Lounge. I played Arlene’s Grocery and Brownies too.”
BH- You got your website (www.lucybonilla.com) right around this time too didn’t you?
LB – “Right around the time ‘Something Out Of Nothing’ came out. (1998) I was trying to build something by getting a website, getting the CD out, getting a nice press kit together. The website has been a big help, especially with radio stations playing some of the stuff and people visiting the site and maybe buying records or joining my mailing list. So it’s really been a big a help.”
BH – There was six years between “Something Out Of Nothing” and your new CD “The Big Picture.” Why the long gap?
LB – “There were a lot of ups and downs, and it ain’t cheap to put out a CD on your own! That was the main reason.”
BH – Let’s talk about “The Big Picture.” I noticed that your guitarist Matt Marshak is your songwriting partner. How do you two collaborate together?
LB – “Well I always write the lyrics, all of them. Sometimes I’ll go to him with a hook or lyrics and a melody and he’ll just put it to music. Or a lot of time what he does is I’ll ask him to send me a tape with little thirty second clips of ideas and that’s how a few songs have come about in the past. I’ll just say ‘well I like this little idea and I have this idea for it’ and we just make it grow into a song. It doesn’t happen any one way but I definitely write all of the lyrics and some of the melodies.”
BH – How long have you guys been together and is your touring band the same band that you record with?
LB – “Matt, he’s sort of my right hand man and he’s pretty much always with me. His brother Chris is my drummer and they are my two core guys. I play with a few different bass players and depending on the gig, the venue, the festival, the money, et cetera, I will get a keyboard player but I don’t have one set guy. I don’t use a keyboard player all of the time.”
BH – Let’s talk about some of your new songs. Tell me about the opening tune “Her Prayer Is Her Song?”
LB – “It’s actually a true story. I was on the train in New York and there was a homeless woman singing for money. And she had a really pretty voice and you could tell she was just giving it what she had and I gave her a dollar and wrote a song about her.”
BH- What about “Little Green Dress?” That song seems intensely personal.
LB – “Yeah exactly, that’s absolutely true. I had put together some songs for the album that I thought were pretty good songs but it was a blues album with a lot of uppity songs and I figured I’d dig a little deeper for one. ‘Little Green Dress’ is one of my favorites for different reasons. I mean, I love them all but I think I did a good job writing
BH – I guessing that “Let It Go” would be an example of an uppity song?
LB – “Oh there’s no question about that. We do some shows sometimes where people get up and they just start having a good time and for this album I wanted there to be some good spirits in there and fun . ‘Let It Go’ is about having a good time, enjoying life and all that good stuff. Nothing is perfect all the time so you can’t beat yourself up about it.”
BH – Then there’s the song “Running On Empty” which is the only stripped down track on the album.
LB – “We wanted to get that back porch feel and really just have the vocals and the lyrics in your face so to speak. I had written it I’d say about four years ago and hadn’t used it. And it was a little different, it was an acoustic song but I wanted to make it work on this album because I really loved the song. So I worked with it a little bit and I didn’t want it to be a ‘produced’ song, I just wanted it to be raw and in your face, so that’s how that came to be.”
BH – Changing the subject, I understand that your summer show at Black Eyed Sally’s was your first ever gig in Connecticut. Is that true? And how did you like Sally’s? Also how did that show come about?
LB – “Yeah that was my first Connecticut gig. I liked the venue a lot, it’s a great room but I expected it to be a great room judging by the people who play there. It came about because I called Mr. Bruce Feiner (who books shows at Sally’s) and we developed a relationship over the phone. We were cool with each other. He was cool with me and I wanted to send him a press kit and I guess he just decided to get something new and fresh in there and I happened to be the one that he wanted to do that with. I can’t think of any other reason because I’m not a big name. So it was a great opportunity for me.”
BH – Now you’ll be back here again in January at Sally’s and at Stash’s in New London. What can you say to the people at Stash’s who will be seeing you for the first time?
LB – “If there’s a stage then I’ll give the show that I give. I get up there and have a good time and if I’m having a good time then usually the crowd is having a good time. I’ll just do what I do and try to give them the best show I can.”
BH – Finally do you have any specific goals you’d like to accomplish in the next few years?
LB – “Yeah definitely. I’d just like to reach a level of success that I would consider successful and that doesn’t mean that I have to be a big ridiculous star. I just want to make a nice living doing what I love and what I feel I’m good at and that’s music. I like performing and if someone wants to buy my CD and send me emails telling me how much they love it, that’s great. And if I can make a good living doing that then I’d be very pleased.”
The Day New London CT Newspaper
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“On Saturday night in the [Bank St] Café, Brooklyn vocalist Lucy Bonilla sings. With diverse but Rom...“On Saturday night in the [Bank St] Café, Brooklyn vocalist Lucy Bonilla sings. With diverse but Roman- candle vocal heroics, Bonilla creatively and movingly infuses all manners of blues, soul and folk. She's an amazing talent.”
"...she sounds like a sweaty, 300-pound Louisiana gospel singer... "
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Lucy Bonilla has a killa voice and THAT is the secret to her success. And while her five-song EP isn...Lucy Bonilla has a killa voice and THAT is the secret to her success. And while her five-song EP isn't a live CD, one gets the impression the NYC artist is an absolutely electrifying live performer.
Lucy seems as if she could sing absolutely anything! Her versatility is matched by few in the industry. Funk, gospel, blues, rock, jazz, country -- you name it, she can do it. You can hear hints of all of it right on this CD.
But let's get the lyrics outta the way before anything else is said about vocals. While they aren't exactly bad, the lyrics probably wouldn't win any contests. (Commercial radio, would, however, quite possibly embrace these tunes for precisely that reason. So, maybe it's a good thing.)
"Please Please Me" opens the CD. It's a nice pop-sounding tune that settles into a really sweet groove, but it's got phrases like "come on, I can't hold on anymore," and from the chorus "please, please me baby like you do, like you doooooo..." Ironically, the phrase "words get too cliché" appears in this song. Hmmmmm.
What saves this one is the overall sound and feel. The instrumentation is well done and Lucy's voice is allowed to stay out front. The backup singers do an adequate job, but she just doesn't need them.
"...I can't watch you sleepin'. I gotta get some more of what you give... I'm crazy, boy, I'm crazy... what's a girl like me to do?" (From "Let's Get Back to Midnight") Again, basic sentiment expressed without a lot of creativity. BUT, the groove-centered, piano-driven melody -- with a soft hint of a Southern Rock band -- really gives it just the right touch.
So, enough of the lyrics. (The last two tunes, "Nobody's Man" and "Turn My Hill into a Mountain" are actually a bit better in that respect.)
As mentioned, the instrumentation and overall production are very solid. But it's Lucy's incredible golden throat that make this CD worth listening to over and over and over.
Remember the Maxell audio tape commercial where the young guy sits in his chair and his butler pops the pre-recorded tape into the stereo and the sound sweeps the guy's hair straight back? Well, that's what happens with this CD.
What kind of elements are present to make Lucy sound so great? She's got a sort of Broadway musical/cabaret quality. Powerful, controlled. Passionate and theatrical. She delivers with confidence whether high or low. She can slither and also belt out a soulful note with equal skill. You could call Lucy's the ultimate voice -- the one every musician wishes they had, all the booking agents wish they could pitch (pun intended).
Lyrix, schmyrix. Sure, wordcraft is important. But not every time. Not this time. Lucy could sing about mathematical theorems and she'd still make you feel like you'd died and gone to heaven. So pop this CD into your stereo and crank it!
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"A woman with a voice that extends way beyond her years... A MUST SEE FOR ALL. Her soulful voice ex..."A woman with a voice that extends way beyond her years...
A MUST SEE FOR ALL. Her soulful voice exudes through her tiny
body like a soul sister with attitude..."
Varies depending on length of show
There are no upcoming dates at this time.