Megan Bonnell
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Megan Bonnell

Toronto, Ontario, Canada | INDIE

Toronto, Ontario, Canada | INDIE
Band Folk Pop

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Are you shrieking at the greatness of this right now because I do every time I hear it and I just, I’m in love with it! - Playback: STL


At first glance, it might seem like Megan Bonnell took the literal approach with the video for “Hunt and Chase,” the first single off her upcoming debut of the same name. But much like her music, it’s far more enigmatic than that. The video, directed by Eriver Hijano, flashes and pans through fog and greenery, finding Bonnell running through forest and across a plowed field, settling with extended shots of her poised in a clearing or knelt with flowers at a cairn-like formation. The rumbling drums and haunting vocals provide the sonic compliment, echoing the titular chase and rendering the combined product more enigmatic than its separate parts. - American Songwriter


Megan Bonnell’s first full-length album walks the line between reverie and reality. The more dreamlike, the better – like opening track Coming Home, which combines surreal lyrics, almost tribal chanting and ethereal, echoey flourishes. Or the strange title tune, which bubbles over with musical-theatre-worthy drama.
All of this is enhanced by Bonnell’s husky, versatile voice. In her upper register she sounds more than a little like Joni Mitchell, though the artist most immediately called to mind is Damien Rice. We Are Strangers Now is so very O-like, and even the vocals on Say My Name nod to the Irish singer/songwriter. Bonnell isn’t nearly as depressing, but she does channel Rice’s “once heartbroken never healed” melancholy, which, via affecting piano and guitar melodies fleshed out with spooky, fantastical production, grows more interesting with each listen. - NOW Magazine


Hunt and Chase was produced by Chris Stringer (The Wooden Sky, Timbre Timbre) and Joshua Van Tassel who, along with Megan, have created something quite intimate and beautiful. Listening to it, I thought of how much darker it sounded than Maps. When you hear the songs of Hunt and Chase, you feel as though you’re amongst nature. Bonnell’s smoky voice is backed up with slow and heavy piano creating something dark yet graceful. - View The Vibe


"Her lyrics are playful, captivating and deep. Her voice rings a sentiment of true honesty." - Indecent Xposure


"Megan Bonnell's vocals have all the beauty and elegance that the public has come to equate with female lead singers and the mettle to withstand changes in the dynamics of the music." - Hybrid Magazine


"Bonnell’s got a beautiful voice and keyboard chops to boot." - NOW Magazine


"A blanket ready to cover you in anticipation of daydreams." - Exclaim!


"Megan’s voice acted like a magnet, its force making it’s way through every room in the bar, pulling in anyone who got in its path right to the front of the stage." - OTM Zine


"Simple piano riffs with drums and even strings...create highly surreal pieces of music." - Grayowl Point


To see Megan Bonnell in person, attention is immediately paid to her gorgeous features, charming personality and the thought that this girl should be a model for some brand name designer, but stick her behind a piano, in front of a crowd of fifty plus curious individuals and all your preconceived notions fade. This was the case during Bonnell's recent self-titled EP release party at Toronto's Magpie.


Her silky voice with an air of Rachael Yamagata and eclectic sound, Bonnell is commanding even from a piano bench. Turning Magpie's crowd into fans with her indie folk-pop a mixture of beautiful ballads and playful, cheery pop. Despite her debut EP's length (just three songs) Megan uses her talents wisely showcasing her lyrical and vocal strengths.


In just a few short days, Bonnell has turned up the volume from simple songstress with a piano to the 'It' girl, with her sold out EP release performance and earning the honour of CHARTattack's 'Song of the Day' for her track 'The Wind' off her debut EP. The simple explanation is Megan Bonnell is a great musician, but that's selling her short. If recent events are any indication, and more on the way from Bonnell including two more performances in Ottawa and Montreal, as well as work on her debut full-length album, it's just the tip of the iceberg for the ethereal beauty.

- Shattered Vinyl




Megan Bonnell was just as bubbly and charming as I remembered from the first time the team met her on set for OTM Issue 4. The fresh young indie songstress, captivated a full house at her recently self-titled EP release party at Magpie on Dundas St W.



With her dreamy voice and melodic piano ballads, she was able to unify folk and pop into one unforgettable performance. Songs like Anaheim showcased her talent as a songwriter and solidify our first intuition – her future is bright.

Check out more by Megan at http://www.myspace.com/meganbonnell, she is no doubt one to watch.

- Off The Map


Leslie Feist and her Apple commercial kicked the door down for female singer-songwriters of the indie variety. In the wake of “1, 2, 3, 4? a sea of coy coos and dainty voices dotted the airwaves, soundtracked car commercials, and adorned lovey-dovey mixtapes. But while Megan Bonnell might sound comfortable in the company of college radio songstresses, her dreamy voice boasts a timeless character that helps her songs stand apart from the indie rock pack.

Buoyed by her love of Dylan, Bonnell’s songwriting is direct and simple. Her debut short-player, a fittingly self-titled offering for the unfussy siren, was released on September 28th. Whether creeping through a somber piano ballad, or prancing daintily across a pure pop number, Bonnell’s voice is a thing of beauty. Hear for yourself on the track below.

MP3: THE WIND

“Toronto’s Megan Bonnell opened the show –just her and a piano. Her voice has the air of Norah Jones and her musical style the essence of Regina Spektor.” – Sticky Magazine

Of course, the short-player is just a tease, and Bonnell is hard at work on her proper debut. In the meantime, don’t miss her captivating live performance as she plays shows in and around Ontario in support of her eponymous debut. Coming up? A CD Release Party TONIGHT at the cute n’ cozy Magpie on Dundas Street in Toronto. Next up, she’s heading to Montreal with a stop at Le Cagibi on October 20th.

TOUR DATES:
10/12 Magpie – Toronto *CD RELEASE PARTY*
10/20 Le Cagibi – Montreal - Popyoularity


If ever a sequel was made to the 2009 indie flick (500) Days of Summer, ([500] Days of Autumn perhaps? Ick), Megan Bonnell would most certainly be featured on the soundtrack. The opening track on her self-titled EP, Anaheim, tickles your eardrums with sounds not unlike a lovechild of Regina Spektor and Kate Nash. She perfects the melodic combination of bouncy piano, hand claps, gentle tambourine taps, and subtle yet toe-tapping drum backbeats. The catchy nature of “Anaheim” is en par with the likes of indie songs featured in iPod and Telus commercials, with the ending chorus of “oohs” and “woohs” bound to sneak their way into your mind and pop up whenever mundane tasks cross your path (midterms, anyone?)

Bonnell treads lightly on the border of indie pop and folk. Her melodies are sweet, but teamed with lyrics such as “you’re a moonshiner, in the daylight you’re ragged, by night you’re just scared of the fire,” the Bob Dylan influence easily shines through. Pair Bonnell’s lyrics with folksy chords and you’ve got yourself a song reminiscent of Dylan’s work. In “Moonshiner,” her vocals are strong yet almost eerie and interplay with the subtle strings in the background. This song will surely be greeted by dimmed stage lights and lighters (or do today’s kids prefer cellphones?) gently swung back and forth.

One thing’s for certain about Bonnell, her work seems to capture a dreamlike state. Her piano playing ranges from the aforementioned bounce of “Anaheim” to the darker melody of”Moonshiner.” The EP’s middle track, “The Wind,” is lightly tinged with country-like timing, with the sweet addition of xylophone, proving that Bonnell’s upbringing in rural Ontario has left a mark on her.

Bonnell’s EP is a strong start, as she is able to dip her proverbial feet into different styles (catchy pop tunes, country-tinged, darker ballads). If she keeps writing Dylan-infused lyrics and Spektor-like piano bits, she’s bound to make an impression.

MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/meganbonnell - Singing Lamb


Megan Bonnell celebrated her debut self-titled EP release at The Magpie and brought along some other great acts to support her. Unfortunately, we were not able to catch the sets by Nadia von Hahn, Darren Eedens, and Owen Steel and His Royal Highness. However, I can certainly attest that, by the time we arrived, it was completely packed. The Magpie hit capacity and, really, what more can you ask for in a release party?

With a folk-pop sound reminiscent of Regina Spektor, Megan Bonnell had a great set. Almost to completely offset her youthful spirit, her voice indicates a maturity that is impressive for someone celebrating a debut release (although, she was previously in Reily). Her vocals are sultry and alluring, with power even in her quieter moments. She clearly is comfortable at her piano, as she was effortlessly showcasing her songwriting ability with help only from a drummer on certain songs.

Now, normally I do not comment much on venues, but this one did leave something to be desired. While The Magpie is a hot spot for hanging out, it certainly does not lend itself well to a show of this nature. The sound was a little muffled and it was a little difficult to hear introductions and lyrics. The layout left many people unable to see anything and, as a result, the event became a time to socialize, which only contributed to the difficulties with hearing Bonnell. It’s a terrifically intimate venue, but it certainly did not do Bonnell’s beautiful voice any justice.

Megan Bonnell shows a lot of promise and I hope to catch her in a slightly bigger venue. And, from what I heard, you should too. Keep this budding songstress on you radar and, while you’re at it, grab her EP! - Buying Shots For Bands


October 12, 2010 – The release of Musebox star Megan Bonnell’s self-titled EP was celebrated full-tilt at the Magpie on Tuesday, in a show characterized by local/national upcoming talent, a bursting bar, soulful vocals, and deplorable sound.

The first opener, Vancouverite Nadia Von Hahn, set the bar with her three-piece and lyrics pumping stories of with love/lust/infatuation. People were just beginning to arrive at the Magpie during her performance, making it possible for her sharp vocals to carry through and allowing her words to remain distinguishable. Von Hahn and her band filled the gaps between songs with light jokes, attempting and slightly succeeding in holding the audience’s attention. But only slightly. Most were standing around talking, and this would continue throughout the next performances.

Next up was Darren Eedens, who’s solo presence managed to fill the stage with elaborate licks and a gritty folk-rock appeal. Armed with his acoustic guitar and bashful energy, Eedens jumped around the stage and the area beyond (include a table, if I’m remembering correctly), saturating the bar with popped tunes like “BabyBearBlues,” which resulted in infectious foot-stomping. Still, though, many continued to be engaged heavily in conversation, making the next act — Owen Steel and Dough Macnearney — nearly impossible to hear, and thus very difficult to judge.

Finally, a little after 11pm, Megan Bonnell took the stage. Clad in white dress, she took her place behind the piano and the thanked the crowd for coming out. And then she started singing. First, let me clarify: the Magpie has terrible sound. This became increasingly evident with Bonnell’s performance as her voice was muffled throughout the set, making her lyrics nearly inaudible. Despite this, her innate talent still shone through. Bonnell’s incandescent stage presence silenced much of the ongoing conversation, and through the smothering microphone emerged husky, soaring, soulful vocals. Standout songs included the heart-wrenching “Moonshiner,” but the set as whole was a strong one. One thing remains most distinctive: amongst the appreciable arrangement, Bonnell’s musical strength is her voice.

Keep an eye out for the young singer-songwriter. She may not have any upcoming shows in Toronto, but with her recently released EP, she is bound for great places. - The Take Media


"An intimate non-CMF gathering hosted by The MuseBox was the quietest over-packed house party ever, local Megan Bonnell enrapturing with her pretty piano numbers under twinkling Christmas lights." - EYEWEEKLY


"Toronto's Megan Bonnell opened the show — just her and a piano. The crowd was small but she was passionate and charismatic; her voice has the air of Norah Jones and her musical style the essence of Regina Spektor." - Sticky Magazine


Discography

Megan Bonnell, EP
MAPS, EP (2011)
Hunt and Chase (2013)

Photos

Bio

In dreams, the real and the surreal interweave in a dizzying dance; elements of one exist within the context of the other. Indeed, the foiling of these forces is and has always been truly fascinating, and because of the parallels they share, so too is Hunt & Chase, the debut long-player from Ontario’s Megan Bonnell.

Dropping Fall 2013 through Nevado Records, Hunt & Chase showcases sonic textures and lyrical themes that greatly belie her young age. The album is rooted in the real and organic – a very transparent take on subtly strummed guitar chords accompanied by a smoky, sophisticated voice; however, that core is often enveloped in a surreal, dream-like space that boldly and beautifully blurs the lines between asleep and awake – sometimes from song to song and sometimes within the same one.

Now based in Toronto, Bonnell’s roots trace to rural Ontario, where she grew up surrounded by forests and fields. She began teaching herself piano at only four years old, and has been making music ever since. She continued her studies in an arts-focused secondary school, this time in voice, and at the same time began creating her own compositions. “I really just haven’t been able to stop,” she says of the time since, and we should thank her for that.

Hunt & Chase follows Megan’s previously released Maps EP – an aptly named effort that captures the poise and potential of a young artist navigating her way towards a signature sonic niche. Her journey there seems to have been a short one, though, as her latest is a lush, beautiful burgeoning into something powerful and particular.

“It’s always been just piano and voice for me,” Megan says of her songwriting. “I hear all of these other things, other elements, in what I write.” On Hunt & Chase, those elements were enhanced by producers Chris Turner and Josh Van Pistle. “They brought it to life the way I’d envisioned it,” she says. “It’s almost like a dream sequence to me,” she says of this newest collection. “I weave in and out of the place I am and the place I imagine to be.”

Often, that place is a snapshot from her somewhat isolated upbringing. “There are so many emotions and things you find in that kind of environment,” she says of the rustic, pastoral setting of her youth. “There’s an overwhelming sense of love that you get from nature and the wild, but there’s also an inextricable loneliness there as well.”

Loneliness and love: the enigmatic pairing of emotions that explain her seduction by the surreal. While some songs are very pure in their delivery – beautifully sung and wonderfully succinct in structure, some, like lead single “Coming Home” and “Off The World” wander from lucidity in their atmospheric arrangements while anchoring the listener’s focus thanks to Bonnell’s delicate, almost divine vocals. Others, like the title track, invite you “down the rabbit hole,” leaving one world and streaming to another.

“Inspiration and introspection,” she says, listing the components she most wants to elicit. “Anything challenging we encounter that brings that out in people, to me, that’s the ultimate feeling.”

The challenge inherent in Hunt & Chase isn’t enjoying the experience; that comes quite naturally. Instead, it’s trying to tell where you’re being transported in time or in space; whether you’re awake or dreaming. But really, the journey is so charming and captivating that you quite simply won’t care.