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Chicago, Illinois, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2017 | SELF

Chicago, Illinois, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2017
Band Alternative Alternative




"NYTimes One of 10 Best Songs of 2020"

An abyss opens under the syncopated guitar picking and demurely isolated vocals of Bonzie — Nina Ferraro — as she captures a quintessential quarantine mood - The New York Times

"NYTimes Review of "Reincarnation""

Nina Ferraro, the songwriter who records as Bonzie, had been working since 2018 on her third album, “Reincarnation.” It would be the continuation of a fully independent career that has consistently yielded richly melodic and mysterious songs. Then Covid-19 hit, and, like everyone else, she had to change her plans. She moved from Los Angeles to Chicago, where she had lived before; she learned how to be her own recording engineer; she immersed herself in studying Japanese. The centerpiece of her album-in-progress became a song she wrote during quarantine: “Alone,” an understated, haunted, not quite acoustic ballad that she released in 2020.

As she continued writing and recording, the songs for the album — released on March 16 — converged into a narrative arc from separation to reconnection, pondering mortality and tenacity. “Either you want to die or you don’t want to die/Both are so lethal/Me, I’m stuck in the middle of the glorious combat,” she sings, gently and matter-of-factly, in “Lethal.” It’s a song she wrote before the pandemic.

“That’s just the nature of this unstable rock that we’re on,” Bonzie said on a Skype video call from her home in Chicago. “We feel some of these things very strongly right now, but they have always been there. It’s impossible not to be affected by the world situation, but a lot of things are constant for me.”

Bonzie, 25, was wearing a hoodie with a design by one of her favorite songwriters, Daniel Johnston. It showed the “Silver Sufferer” (a skull-faced parody of the Marvel superhero Silver Surfer) singing the opening line of the Beatles’ “With a Little Help from My Friends.” An electric bass and an electric guitar leaned against the walls; her Yorkie, Kiraki (“Sunday” in Armenian), spent time in her lap.

Behind her was a large picture frame holding a small yellow rectangle: a sketch on a Post-it note made by the prolific Chicago producer Steve Albini, one of Bonzie’s early supporters. It showed a bell curve of creativity — a burst of inspiration and work followed by quickly diminishing returns.

Bonzie said she was inspired by the Japanese aesthetic of wabi-sabi: “You preserve these natural imperfections that are actually beautiful details.”Credit...Alexa Viscius for The New York Times

“I just thought it was funny,” she said. “There are two people in you at all times. One is this endless spirit soul, that’s just creative and will go forever. And then the other one is trying to gently guide that person, to remind you that you’re physical material. The curve represents time spent creatively, and then the X represents where you stop.”

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On the new album, Bonzie’s music merges the singer-songwriter staples of guitar, piano and finely turned melodies with synthesizers and programmed beats. For most of the album, Bonzie worked with a co-producer, DJ Camper, who has extensive credits in hip-hop and R&B. One song, the trap-tinged “Up to U,” was co-produced by Yeti Beats, better known for working with Doja Cat. The album’s title song, “Reincarnation,” envisions a post-pandemic renaissance: “We will change, I swear we’re gonna change,” its chorus insists.

Bonzie was 12 when she began singing her own songs weekly at a coffeehouse in her hometown, Racine, Wis. She didn’t want to use her own name, and eventually chose Bonzie as an abstract word that also looked good graphically in capital letters. Using a stage name “just felt better to be able to say everything I wanted to say,” she said, “and not be worried when I was singing about all of these dark, deep secrets that I wouldn’t tell anybody.”

She moved with her family to Chicago, where, as a high schooler, she performed at well-known clubs like Schubas Tavern and Beat Kitchen. She self-released a debut EP as Nina Ferraro when she was 15, followed by her full-length debut album as Bonzie, “Rift Into the Secret of Things” — a phrase from Henry David Thoreau’s “Walden” — in 2013. She had already begun to mingle folky coffeehouse basics with electronic experimentation, and she found fans among the city’s indie musicians.

“I was impressed by her drive and her seriousness at a very early age,” Albini said by phone from his Chicago studio, Electrical Audio. “She was more serious about her decisions and about her aesthetic than a lot of people her age. It was clear that she had listened and thought very deeply about what she was doing. And the thing that made her stand out immediately was just a singular drive — not to get famous, not just to become known, but to express herself in a way that meant something to her.”

Bonzie’s music grew more elaborate on her second album, “Zone on Nine,” released in 2017. It roved from straightforward acoustic strumming to the delicate sonic apparitions and intricate backup vocals of freak-folk to the crunch of hard-rock guitars; her lyrics could be startlingly direct or poetic and elusive. Now, with “Reincarnation,” she has stripped back her music. “I wanted it to be more personal,” she said.

Her interest in Japanese culture — which began with high-school exposure to Pokémon and anime — led her to the aesthetic of wabi-sabi, the idea that “artifacts that come from your medium, that you didn’t intend, are what you highlight and you keep,” she said. “You preserve these natural imperfections that are actually beautiful details. It’s accepting the nature of your imperfect humanness. When producing this record, I thought about that a lot. Like, that’s not perfect with my voice, and that’s not like the most shiny, brilliant, beautiful take, but loving that imperfection that we all have.”

She was also seeking what she had heard in gospel music. “Some of the best voices in the world are gospel singers,” she said. “And I like the way that it feels like there’s nothing that’s unneeded in gospel production.” - The New York Times

"Feature Songs of the Week"

"I've also got a few shining bright lights — artists I've not covered before, both brilliantly talented. BONZIE is a Chicago-based artist with a song called "Alone." It's produced with DJ Camper, who's worked with Big Sean, John Legend and Jay-Z. The atmospherics on this song are stunning." - NPR All Songs Considered

"NYTimes reviews SXSW show"

"Delicacy and drama, surrender and anger, made a riveting combination when Bonzie performed." - The New York Times

"SPIN premieres BONZIE"

"'Data Blockers' feels like the work of a vet well-versed in whispered catharsis. The plucky six-minute epic evokes a young Chan Marshall... Wunderkind." - SPIN

"BrooklynVegan premieres new 7" vinyl - Dec 2016"

Chicago singer/songwriter BONZIE (real name Nina Ferraro) caught our ears with a pretty promising set at CMJ. That was the same year she released her debut album Rift into the Secret of Things, which she’ll finally follow with a sophomore LP in early 2017. The album’s called Zone on Nine, and it was produced with Jonathan Wilson and Ali Chant (who’s worked with Youth Lagoon and Perfume Genius). - BrooklynVegan

"Under The Radar premieres double-single - Dec 2016"

Nina Ferraro, the 21 year young Chicago singer/multi-instrumentalist known as BONZIE, floats out this introduction to her second full-length album, Zone on Nine, due out early 2017. The title track of the double single, "As the Surface Rose," conjurs an emotive vacuum where BONZIE's voice and piano keys hover and haunt. - Under The Radar

"Vogue: Praise for Singer Nina Ferraro's Debut Rift into the Secret of Things"

Much has been made of Nina Ferraro’s age. The singer behind Bonzie just turned eighteen, but in the music world that’s not so young. So I’m actually going to hold it against her—she really ought to expunge “Catholic High School,” the song that brought her early buzz, from her record. What came off precocious when she was playing after-school shows in New York now seems naïve, even a bit embarrassing. And it shouldn’t have been included on her first LP, Rift into the Secret of Things, which came out on Tuesday.

Yes, that’s harsh. But it allows me, with a clear conscious, to otherwise praise her debut. The album opens with the galloping “Data Blockers.” The song is politically tinged, alluding to a more nefarious online world. But mostly, it presents a more ambiguous place of roiling inner turmoil conveyed through loud rousing guitar or drum solos that then dip down into quiet introspective breathy vocals or a softly played guitar. It’s the kind of song that places you in the singer’s mind space even when you’re not totally sure what she’s expressing.

The album’s second track, “Felix,” would first appear to be a love ballad. But after a few listens this becomes less clear—is she emoting some unspeakable experience? Or simply lamenting love lost? Ferraro is ambiguous herself. “I feel that there are things to be said that people just don’t say,” she says of her song writing. “I’m interested in those unspoken aspects of situations or dynamics.”

The production on “Felix” is subtle but transformative; what could have been a melancholic but slightly boring acoustic guitar ballad ends up feeling more new. Her self-harmonizing is masterful. At one point, out of nowhere, an electric guitar solo soars above the guitar strumming. And then the song suddenly ends with a reverb-y, bottom-of-the-well-sounding rendition of the chorus.

This layering of incongruent parts is present throughout the album and, to a lesser extent, her live shows. “In studio, I like combining acoustic sounds with more artificial sounds, such as synthesized guitar pedals and keyboards. And live, I like having a band who will feel it out so it’s different every night,” says Ferraro. “My songs ebb and flow.” - Vogue Magazine

"Inverview Magazine with BONZIE"

On a sweltering June afternoon in Chicago's Buena Park neighborhood at approximately 4:03 p.m., Nina Ferraro is running just a tad late. Speedwalking into Dollop, the agreed coffee rendezvous point, she gracefully motions her way past a maze of dimly glowing Macbooks and iced soy lattes. Lowering and folding her sunglasses—the same round spectacles made fashionable by Kate Hudson in Almost Famous—Ferraro reveals worn-out eyes. - Interview Magazine

"Huffington Post - A-Sides with Jon Chattman: Listen to Bonzie Now; Thank Me Later"

We go to Chicago with our next artist. Bonzie is the moniker of 17-year-old singer/songwriter Nina Ferraro. The Chi-Town musician has been getting some buzz of late with her psych-indie rock tune "Data Blockers," which premiered on earlier this year. At an A-Sides session filmed at the Music Conservatory of Westchester last week, the artist performed two other tracks off her independently-released debut album Rift Into The Secret Of Things , which will drop Aug. 13 - just about two months after she graduates high school. (Man, all I had to my name after graduating high school was five o'clock shadow.)

Watch a pair of tunes from the wise-beyond-her-years Bonzie (every journalist is going to say that, but it's true), and marvel at the intricacies of her songwriting and individual style. It's not surprising she's been making music since she was nine years old. (Man, all I had to my name at nine was a length collection of WWF LJN action figures... but again, I digress.) After watching the songs below, jump onto for an exclusive interview with Bonzie. Go.
- Huffington Post

"Meet Bonzie, the 18-Year-Old Indie Songwriter Already Being Compared To Cat Power"

Indie rock singer/songwriter Bonzie (birth name: Nina Ferraro) has always been fascinated by two things: music and birds. When the Wisconsin native wasn’t stealing her older brother’s Beatles mixtapes, she was getting lost in the forest or watching David Attenborough VHS tapes at home.

“As a kid, I memorized every bird species in Wisconsin and Illinois. I would spend my days walking through forested areas with a notebook and pen trying to find as many species as I could,” the newly minted 18-year-old says. “Everything about their lives is stunning to me. The way they know how to get by, and everything is balanced out for the good of life. [People are] not that cool.”

It’s a reflection rooted in Ferraro’s music, heard in her self-released debut Rift Into the Secret of Things, out this week. Songs like “Data Blockers” and “Catholic High School” are meditative, socio-political commentaries that belie the young singer-songwriter’s years, the latter song addressing her skepticism of education, religion, leadership and love. It’s that artistic merit that has critics already comparing her to early Cat Power and Neutral Milk Hotel.

Ferraro’s talent first became evident when she was around 9 and 10—that’s when she started penning her own songs. An early love of pop music transitioned into a fascination with jazz. “I feel it’s the most chemical music you can listen to,” she says, noting her love affair with John Coltrane’s Interstellar Space, an album that would influence her later compositions.

Although Ferraro always took her craft seriously, growing up in a traditional Armenian family didn’t make it easy to pursue the dream. “The whole ‘old country’ thing doesn’t really make being in music acceptable, so some people have been very opposed to what I’m doing, but my immediate family has made peace with it.” So much so that when Ferraro and her family moved to the Chicago area a few years back, her mom would drive her to open mic nights (and now brings along baked goods for interviews).

So far she’s wasted no time—graduating high school, releasing an album, doing interviews, and working with noted producer Steve Albini and members of Tortoise on a new song to be released soon. For Ferraro, though, staying busy is necessary. Like those bird songs, music is the way she connects with the world and makes any sense of it. “There are a million things that need to be said. When words fail, [music] is a better way to communicate.” - Chicago Magazine

"Under The Radar"

The album showcases the young artist's assured talent, its songs ranging from elegant folk with ambient and orchestral touches to more ramshackle country numbers that recall the feisty weariness of Bright Eyes. - Under The Radar

"MAGNET Magazine - MP3 at 3PM BONZIE"

While most 17-year-olds’ biggest stresses consist of standardized testing and whether to trust the cafeteria stromboli, Chicago songstress Nina Ferraro’s stresses rest in the realm of co-producing her own album. On August 13, Ferraro, better known by the moniker Bonzie, will be self-releasing her debut LP, Rift Into The Secret Of Things. Experience the dark, but approachable music of Bonzie by downloading album track “Data Blockers” below. - Magnet Magazine

"NYLON showcase at SXSW"

BONZIE plays NYLON's daytime party at SXSW. - NYLON magazine


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.
- Baeble

"Local Q&A: Bonzie"

Though Bonzie just turned 18, the singer-songwriter has already established herself as a force to reckon with on the local scene.

Earlier this year she landed a coveted slot opening for Iron & Wine, and she has spent recent weeks embroiled in recording sessions alongside members of Tortoise at Steve Albini's Electrical Audio.

- Redeye

"Disc of the Week"

Bonzie is the stage name of Nina Ferraro, who plays guitar and sings her heart out on her debut full-length, Rift Into The Secret Of Things. When giving the eight tracks a blind listen, one important detail escapes the naked ear: The Chicago native is only 17 years old. However, despite her young age, she displays an incredible amount of maturity and depth to her outlook, making this trip through a teenage girl’s mind a lot less scary than one would expect it to be.

The first track, “Data Blockers,” is also the longest, clocking in at 6:22. Bonzie starts the album off with a strong, thoughtful piece that decomposes into a feedback-driven instrumental section, ending with a fading upright bass. My favorite track is the sixth, “Catholic High School,” which is a song that perfectly encompasses all of the conflicting emotions a teenager could ever possibly feel. The verses go off listing everything the singer mistrusts, such as priests, teachers, religion, and homeless people. The lines “I don’t trust the government/But I don’t trust not having one,” allude to the massive confusion about the world she feels, and “You say you don’t believe in love/But I trust that you do” shows a certain amount of hope for the future.

There is something about Bonzie’s style that is reminiscent of Neutral Milk Hotel. The introspective lyrics, rapid acoustic strumming, and her tendency to push her voice to its limits are all pages torn from Jeff Mangum’s playbook. In only a half-hour, the young lady proves with this LP that she can find the perfect mixture of casual observation and poetic songwriting. This album was a refreshing listen, and I expect some good things to come from Bonzie in the future. - The Aquarian

"Song Premeire, Bonzie featuring The Milk Carton Kids - "Felix""

Bonzie is 17-year-old Nina Ferraro, a Chicago-based singer-songwriter who is tapping into her youthful honesty to produce uniquely heartfelt tracks. Her debut full length, Rift Into The Secret Of Things, is a shift in sound for the artist, who has evolved from the pop-centric sound of her early teens.

Now, Bonzie has released a new track from Rift Into The Secret Of Things, a song titled “Felix” on which she collaborates with The Milk Carton Kids’ Joey Ryan.

“I wanted ‘Felix’ to have a male harmony part, and I had a very specific kind of voice in mind,” said Ferraro. “My co-producer asked me, ‘If you could have anyone you wanted to sing that part, who would it be?’ My first response was Joey."

Listen to “Felix” in the player below, and watch a few clips of Ferraro and Ryan in the studio at the bottom of the page. - Paste Magazine

"The Whispery Ghost Touch"

The baked goods that Bonzie's mother brought us a few weeks ago, when this session was taped, knocked us for a loop. They were heavy and rich, packed with bags of sugar, packages of chocolate and sticks and sticks of butter. They were for the serious dessert eater. While just looking at them, before we'd even had a bite, we would have never known. We looked upon them as if they were any other baked goods -- probably pretty par for the course. They didn't appear to have any hidden qualities. Well, as previously explained, they did.

Bonzie, the singer and songwriter, is a lot like her mother's lemon and chocolate bars in that way. The young Chicago woman is rail thin and whispery. She's whispery and wispy. She looks as if she tries not to overdo it with the sun or any of those sweets that her mother is obviously so good at making. She's a writer with a spectacular grasp her intricate wonderment about all of the emotions and sensations that hit like summer bugs on a windshield when you're her age, when it's all just getting going and pretend love and kid sadness is no longer what it is any longer.

Bonzie, or Nina Ferraro, is still just 17 years old, but she writes about her confusions with a very polished angst. It's dark and still it comes off as something that she needs to go through. The seriousness of her problems, of all the issues spilling from her chest, is mostly temporary. There are fixes to everything, but she's got to go through these bedeviling times first, writing about them, as she does, with a beautiful ghostly touch. - Daytrotter

"LIVE session with Paste"

In Chicago we caught up with Nina Ferraro, known to fans as BONZIE. Her debut full-length Rift Into The Secret of Things made waves last year for its introspective lyrics and powerful instrumentals, but her live show had a captivating quality that’s difficult to explain. Fortunately, you can get a glimpse of her performance skills for yourself: watch Bonzie play “Routine” live at Aloft Chicago City Center in the player above. - Paste

"The Total Scene - Chicago singer-songwriter Nina Ferraro showing the strength of young talent"

"Those who enjoy discovering new local artists shouldn't overlook the fact that the Chicago area is home to a wealth of young talent. Take Chicago singer-songwriter Nina Ferraro, who at the age of 16, already has a music resume that many seasoned musicians would love to have". - The Total Scene

"Fra Noi Magazine - Chicago Native Nina Ferraro is a 16-year-old Musical Wonder"

"Nina Ferraro's debut EP "The Promise" is delightful. The eclectic mix of five tracks creates the perfect sampler of Ferraro's clean, refreshing sound. The first track, "I've Found You," features fun-loving lyrics and a catchy beat that will have you tapping your toes in no time. "Same Boy" has the same feel but incorporates a ukulele -- need I say any more? The title track is right out of a movie soundtrack: effortless vocals and melodious lyrics are complemented by uncomplicated instrumentals". - Fra Noi Magazine

"The Chicago Music Seen - Nina Ferraro at Beat Kitchen"

"She had me at "My name is Nina Ferraro and I am 16 years old". She is a prodigious young singer-songwriter that can easily rival any of her older, more experienced contemporaries (Colbie, Ingrid, and others). The maturity in her writing and vocals was remarkable. In all honesty I was VERY tired and not planning to stay for Nina's set which began close to 10:30pm (I did not know who she was). After hearing her first song I was in for the duration. She is a doe-eyed singing-songwriting Chicago teenager from out of nowhere". - The Chicago Music Seen

"Shepherd Express - CD Review: Nina Ferraro"

"A phenomenally talented teenage songwriter and singer....Nina Ferraro brings quirky instrumentation together with pop production, setting articulate lyrics to memorable melodies on The Promise. She sings with emotional precision, bringing the right dose of feeling to every word. Polished yet genuine, The Promise is entirely contemporary yet somehow suffused with the DNA of classic pop rock". - Shepherd Express

"Corduroy Magazine - Weekend Viewing, Bonzie"

Meet Bonzie – the moniker behind the incredibly talented 17-year-old songstress and multi-instrumentalist Nina Ferraro.

By the age of nine, the Chicago-native had set her sights on making music, and at age 12, she was performing at local cafes. Inspired by people like PJ Harvey, Elliott Smith, Björk and The Pixies, Bonzie spent the next few years crafting her debut album, which finally gets released this May. Though she’s still a teenager, the album, titled “Rift Into The Secret Of Things” is mature beyond her years, showing off her strong guitar skills and displaying a knack for melodies and songwriting that brings to mind a young Cat Power.

“Data Blockers,” the lead track from the album, is a dark, psychedelic driven indie-rock track. But stripped down live, the song become an intimate and embracing number, as Bonzie’s voice coos over acoustic guitars and upright bass. Halfway through, the song – like her voice – blossoms, transforming into a surreal, dream-like rhythm before settling down again at the end. It’s as complex a song as you’ll hear this spring, brought to life by Bonzie’s emotional depth and amazing musicality. If this is what 17 looks and sounds like in 2013, we’ve got a lot of catching up to do.
- Corduroy Magazine

"Celebrity Teen Scoop - Bonzie Jams Out With Her Debut Album"

The newest teen singing sensation is here! Bonzie AKA the seventeen-year-old singer-songwriter from Nina Ferraro recently premiered her lead track “Data Blockers” on Bonzie’s debut album Rift Into The Secret of Things is out August 13 and she’s set to perform in three upcoming New York City shows starting March 28!

Celebrity Teen Scoop recently chatted with the up-and-coming singer about her lead track “Data Blockers,” her debut album, and how she is preparing for the shows. Bonzie also gave great advice for other teens thinking of getting into song-writing and singing!

CTS: Tell us about your new lead track “Data Blockers.” What’s the inspiration behind the song?

Bonzie: Data Blockers was a song that I wrote about modern control. I wanted Data Blockers to convey the oxymoron of paralyzing awareness. I never thought of the song as having two parts. Part one and part two were never separate. Structurally I wanted the song to fight itself, in a way. Playing it live, it changes from show to show. It’s been 10+ minutes long at times… but I kept it to 6 minutes for the album.

CTS: Your debut album is coming out in May. What can fans expect?

Bonzie: It’s a very dynamic album, far more than my previous self-released EP. A few years ago I noticed a shift in my approach to writing music. When I sent my songs to Will before recording, he had to take a couple days to just sit and listen. It just covers a lot of different ground. I wanted to create something that you could listen to, beginning to end, and feel like you went somewhere.

CTS: Where did the name Bonzie come from?

Bonzie: Bonzie is a word I created that I have been associating with my different projects for a while. It was only a matter of time before it became my moniker. It seemed inevitable to the people who know me.

CTS: How are you dealing with fame at 17 years old? Are you able to stay grounded?

Bonzie: I’m just glad to be doing what is natural to me. Grounding yourself is to realize your insignificance, which, in turn, makes you feel confident from an organic place. I realize that.

CTS: How long have you been singing and song-writing, and how did you get your start?

Bonzie: I started singing and songwriting when I was 8 or 9. I kept it a secret for a few years. I remember thinking to myself that it wasn’t the right time to make it public yet; I was probably right. The first original song I played for someone, I told them it was a cover of some pop artist’s song. I thought I was creating some kind of force field if the listener didn’t know it was mine. Sort of like Bonzie before Bonzie. I did that for a while until something shifted and I needed to release my music as my own. Once I started, I was hooked.

CTS: How are you preparing for your upcoming performances in NY?

Bonzie: I’m really excited. My band and I have been preparing for the past couple months. I’m playing a song off the album that has never been heard before, and that’s always exciting. I’ve been hearing amazing things about the three venues I’m playing. The Living Room venue streams live to The Loft on Sirius XM radio. I can’t wait to get out there and play.

CTS: What are you doing when you’re not singing, writing or performing? How do you relax?

Bonzie: Growing up in Wisconsin there were a lot of forested areas. When it wasn’t below freezing, I would go with my dog, look for hawks, etc. During winter… Reddit?

CTS: Who are your role models?

Bonzie: Musically… I like artists who are trailblazers in my eyes. Jim O’Rourke has made great sounding records. Conor Oberst is a phenomenal artist as well. Non-musically, anyone who has had to make their situation work for them.

CTS: What advice do you have for young people thinking of getting into song-writing and singing?

Bonzie: Do it. It’s hard for teenagers, especially, to scrape the walls of the norm. The standard is extremely narrow for what we’re supposed to be into. Check your incentives. If they don’t involve your peers or your parents, then go for it.

CTS: What other projects are you working on?

Bonzie: I just did a live in-studio performance video at Electrical Audio Studio, which was such a blast to make. My friends Neil Strauch engineered it and filmmaker Jack Lawrence Mayer filmed it. My band and I played a couple songs off of Rift Into The Secret Of Things; it was fun. That’ll be up on the BonzieMusic YouTube page soon. I also just sketched the cover of Catholic High School, a single I released in February. Also, I do unannounced acoustic sets at some different spots in Chicago from time to time. And, of course, the New York City tour starting March 28th! Excited about that.

Catch Bonzie at one of her upcoming New York City shows:
3/28/13 New York, NY @ Rockwood Music Hall – 7pm
3/29/12 New York, NY @ Arlene’s Grocery – 8pm
3/30/12 New York, NY @ The Living Room - Celebrity Teen Scoop

"NYC Brightest Young Things - Chit Chattin with Bonzie"

A few days ago I had the pleasure of speaking with Bonzie (aka Nina Ferraro, an up-and-coming Chicago-based wunderkind) over the phone. She may be seventeen, but listening to her music you’d never know it; the instrumentation and lyrics are impeccably well done, and her upcoming debut album Rift Into The Secret Of Things (due out in August 2013) is definitely one to keep an eye out for this summer. Apart from a musical repertoire that’s beyond her years, Bonzie is also very well-spoken, as you’ll likely take note of below. We talked about all kinds of things, from what it’s like to balance high school against a musical career to how she got started doing all of this in the first place. Read up on all of that here, and in the meantime, be sure to catch her live tonight at Rockwood Music Hall, tomorrow night at Arlene’s Grocery, and Friday night at Living Room:

So this is your first time in New York, right?

Yeah, this is my first time. I thought I would be more overwhelmed with the largeness of the city, but it’s actually pretty comfortable. I can see myself living here; I think it’s the greatest city in the world, and I’m totally into it!

That’s awesome! Now, are you still in high school? Is this your spring break right now?

I’m in my senior year, so this is basically my spring break.

Is that hard to manage? Balancing music against your schoolwork?

No, not too much. People my age a lot of times have extracurricular things that they do, and I guess mine is maybe a little bit different than some of my friends, but at the same time, I do have friends who are still in high school and are in bands. (The Orwells, for instance, are a band from Chicago who just graduated from high school, and they’re touring.) It’s not been too hard to manage, though; it’s been fun.

Oh, I’m sure! And so what are your post-high school plans? Will you go to college, do music full-time, or…

Right now I’m kind of in the same boat as a lot of my friends; we’re laying out all of our options and just kind of getting our heads straight about what our plans are. I’m not 100% sure of anything that I’m doing (at any given moment, for anything) so when it comes to making long-term plans, I’m not very good at that. [Laughs] I kind of just like to play it by ear.

I totally sympathize with that; I get tunnel vision and have a hard time kind of seeing past what’s immediately in front of me. And honestly, there’s nothing wrong with not being completely sure! The only reason I was “sure” was because my mother was “sure” for me!

[Laughs] I hear that.

Now tell me a little bit about Rift Into the Secret of Things; what was it like co-producing that? Did you learn a lot from the experience?

This was the first time that I’ve been a producer of my own music, and I think that it really gave me a certain amount of control that I’ve never had before; since I write all my music, I usually have a really specific idea of what each song should sound like and what instrumentation the album should have, so being a producer officially gave me the power to make those calls and be in the driver’s seat for a lot of things that I haven’t been with my previous releases. So that was really liberating, and as a writer and as somebody who cares a lot about their music and how it ends up being, I really had more fun doing this record than anything I’ve done in the past; it was just an incredible time.

And so do you ever think that you would take the production reins entirely, or is that a terrifying idea?

Well, there’s something to collaborating with other people that I think you can’t tap into when you’re just on your own. I write all of my music completely alone and secluded, and for me, that’s the point where my music is totally untouched by anyone else. But I think a lot of the art and music that people create do benefit from another person’s perspective, and I think you can’t tap into that by yourself. I did really like producing it with another person.

Right. And what’s the overall vibe that you maybe hope someone would walk away from this record feeling after having listened to it?

I guess I would say “introspective,” just from the fact that that’s the place I’m at when I’m writing, and that’s the place I was at when I was producing. I would say aesthetically it can be very extroverted (large and rock and grand) at a lot of points, but I think the takeaway is something more introspective and quiet.

Cool. Now, if you were stranded on a desert island and all you could take with you was one song from this record, which would it be? (This is basically me forcing you to pick a favorite.)

[Laughs] Oh man, I don’t know if I can do that, although I will say that’s a very well-constructed hypothetical situation to try and force somebody to do that! I don’t know if you could get someone to do it if you didn’t word it that way…

Exactly. It’s like asking a parent who their favorite child is!

Yeah! I don’t know, I - NYC Brightest Young Things

"SPIN Magazine - Hear Bonzie's Furious Six-Minute Confessional 'Data Blockers'"

Wunderkind Nina Ferraro's debut full-length due May 14

Bonzie, otherwise known as 17-year-old singer-songwriter Nina Ferraro, only has two releases under her belt — 2010's The Promise EP and her upcoming debut album, Rift Into the Secret Things, due May 14. But the Chicago native's newest single, "Data Blockers," feels like the work of a vet well-versed in whispered catharsis. The plucky six-minute epic evokes a young Chan Marshall, all narrow vocals, wordless refrains, and furious chords before the instrumentation stretches out, welcoming electronic flourishes and mournful piano. Listen below, and scroll down further for Bonzie's upcoming tour dates.
- Spin Magazine

"WGN Radio Nick D Show"

Wunderkind Nina Ferraro, AKA Bonzie, performs in studio! - WGN Radio

"CD Review: Nina Ferraro"

"This fortuitously-titled 5-song EP from the Chicago-based artist Nina Ferraro shows a vast amount of potential; written and recorded in 2010 when she was all of 15 years old, this is very solid folk pop. Ferraro's bright vocals and the rich instrumentation of The Promise--everything from banjo to ukulele to horns to, yes, accordion--elevates this above your standard singer/songwriter pop release". - WLUR Radio


Spiritual Violence, December 5, 2023 - Single, digital, Beevine Records

Reincarnation, March 15, 2021 - Album, digital and vinyl, Beevine Records

Reincarnation, Febraury 8, 2021 - Single, digital, Beevine Records

Lethal, January 14, 2021 - Single, digital, Beevine Records

alone, October 5, 2020 - Single, digital, Beevine Records

Zone on Nine, June 10, 2017 - Album, digital and vinyl, Beevine Records

How do I find myself, Love?/Back to an Insurmountable Wall, November 11, 2016 -  2 Sides Single - digital and vinyl, Beevine Records

As the Surface Rose/Half Full, April 16, 2016 - 2 Sided Single, digital, Beevine Records

Rift into the Secret of Things, August 9, 2013 - Album, digital, vinyl, CD, Beevine Records

Catholic High School, July 2013 - Single, digital, Vinyl, Beevine Records



Since first arriving on the musical landscape, BONZIE has endlessly found new forms of expressing her vast imagination. The Chicago-bred and Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter/producer/multi-instrumentalist has explored everything from post-rock to folk to fantastically surrealist pop, executing each with extraordinary grace. Over the years, she’s also drawn high praise for her captivating live show, with The New York Times chief pop music critic Jon Pareles hailing, “Delicacy and drama, surrender and anger, made a riveting combination when BONZIE performed,” following an especially magnetic SXSW set. The fully independent pop innovator follows up her acclaimed third album, Reincarnation, with a series of singles as she prepares to release her next full-length collection in 2024.

On Reincarnation, BONZIE continued to redefine the limits of her musicality. She also put her technical skills to work by co-producing the album alongside DJ Camper, a musician known for his production work with R&B and hip-hop artists like Jay-Z, Big Sean, John Legend, and Teyana Taylor. The 2021 release represented a departure from BONZIE’s past output as it alchemized elements of electro-pop and art-rock, and even gospel music, unfolding in potent rhythms and shapeshifting textures. Reincarnation, the follow-up to her 2017 sophomore effort Zone on Nine, is highlighted by the lead single “alone” – praised by NPR as a pick in Bob Boilen’s All Songs Considered and deemed one of the “Best Songs of 2020” by The New York Times.

BONZIE returned in 2023 with “Spiritual Violence” featuring Chicago’s own Teo The Artist. The R&B-infused track represents the shattering and dismantling of a certain intangible violence.  

“There is suffering that exists on a deep, fundamental ‘living thing’ level, where our spirits recognize that what’s happening isn’t right or just,” says BONZIE aka Nina Ferraro. “When I made the song, I was thinking about my own experiences, and even my great-grandparents who escaped a terrible genocide. And then, there are current social and humanitarian issues that exist as forms of spiritual violence. I really wanted to pay attention to the energy in and of itself because everyone, even bigoted people, have experienced their own personal kind of spiritual violence. It’s sort of a spiral on itself – that trauma begets trauma – and the song is trying to squash that spiral; that’s how I wanted to feel when I wrote it. When I sing the lyrics ‘spiritual violence ends now,’ that’s the sensation that I want the song to elicit.”

The collaboration with Teo The Artist began when BONZIE heard a song from the Chicago rapper on a local Chicago public radio station. While writing “Spiritual Violence,” she created a space for his verse and sent him the song. Teo and BONZIE worked closely for months as Teo wrote a rap verse on the song. BONZIE recorded her vocals and piano, and Teo added beats and synths. As two Chicago artists, they finished the production in their hometown at Steve Albini’s Electrical Audio studio. The end result is a balance of two perspectives that resonate with the song’s universal message.

Ferraro has even released music in Japanese as she is fluent in the language she’s been studying since high school. Just over a decade into her ever evolving and growing career, the self-taught artist, producer, and engineer refuses to tread familiar artistic ground or be put into a box of any sort. Her natural sense of adventurousness, desire to learn, and ability to see the world from new perspectives continues to pave the way for BONZIE’s musical creation.