Michelle Bonilla
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Michelle Bonilla


Band Christian Latin


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"Christianity Today Review"

Sounds like … Stacie Orrico, Joann Rosario and Beyoncé, for a sound spanning urban pop, R&B, Latin pop, and contemporary gospel.

At a glance … with a remarkable voice and eclectic urban sensibilities, Michelle Bonilla presents a memorable, knockout debut.

The year has been relatively quiet for the Cross Movement Records camp—quiet compared to the blockbuster release calendar they had in 2005, with albums from Phanatik , Ambassador, Tru-Life, J.R., and many other associates infiltrating the market. The first R&B chanteuse to join the famed hip-hop corporation, Michelle Bonilla leads this year's release schedule with her national debut Phenomenal, an outing that, in many ways, fills a huge void in today's faith music scene.

Like label cohort J.R., Bonilla joins Christian music's sparse urban department, and for a new artist, she does so with a bang. The daughter of an accomplished Latin jazz guitarist, she remains in control throughout Phenomenal's entire running length, co-writing 13 of its tracks and singing the heck out of every one of them. Though not a vocal powerhouse, Bonilla boasts exceptional control and not only knows how to sing, but also when. Her tone and timbre are strikingly reminiscent of Stacie Orrico, except with a wider range.

It's a tool she uses with self-assurance and command, especially for an album as varied as this one. In fact, "varied" doesn't quite do justice to the stylistic scope of Phenomenal, which, for R&B standards, may even be too diverse. From urban ear candy ("Without You") and pop-inflected contemporary gospel ("Don't Stop") to acoustic pop ("Oh Lord You Are") and acoustic soul ("Cold World"), the album zigzags persistently, without ever sounding disjointed.

It's even better when Bonilla tries the unexpected, like the jazzed-out "Your Love," the salsa-ridden "Cámbiame Hoy," or the electro-funk of "Phenomenal." This musicality and eclecticism help complement the disc's lyrical spectrum—largely worshipful and declaratory, yet not necessarily eye-opening. That, plus a plodding, uninteresting version of Amy Grant's "El Shaddai," are the only qualms with a debut that's otherwise. - by Andree Farias

"Michelle Bonilla Peppers Debut With"

It's hard to describe God. Previous efforts have left us with descriptions such as "awesome," "powerful" and "magnificent," but we must realize that we are falling terribly short of the fullness of His glory.

As appropriate as those adjectives may be, it's clear that our experience with and understanding of God is limited and our words simply don't adequately express His attributes fully.

Michelle Bonilla faced this same dilemma as she looked for a title to her debut project set to release on Cross Movement Records. Choosing"Phenomenal,"Bonilla expressed her thoughts regarding the nature of God as experienced in life. Though God's not a visible, physical being with which we can interact, it's an undeniable relationship that leaves us changed and full of awe. The album discusses many themes surrounding life experiences and how they relate to God. The opening track, "All to You" talks about how we need to surrender our lives to God, while "Little Girl" encourages us to look beyond the things of this world and embrace the love and eternal security of trusting in God. Other tracks, such as the title track, "Everybody Praise Him," and the well-traveled "El-Shaddai" offer more direct praise, focusing on God's nature and faithfulness.

From the opening notes of the album, listeners may be double-checking their players to make sure they've not accidentally popped in a Stacie Orrico album. Certainly, Michelle Bonilla is quite similar vocally and stylistically to Orrico, but fear not, she peppers the songs with her own flavor throughout the album. Tracks like "Cinti (Without Out)," "Paraiso (Paradise)," and "Cambiame Hoy (Change Me Today)" find Bonilla alternating between Spanish and English vocals, giving the album a distinct feel. The dominant sound found here however is the R&B laced pop music of Stacie Orrico and others. Tracks such as "Everybody Praise Him" and "Don't Stop" provide a nice dance soundtrack while slower tracks such as "Daddy's Song" and "Cold World" keep listeners tuned in with strong vocals and melodies.

Overall, "Phenomenal" seems to be a rather strong debut for Michelle Bonilla. Given the chance, she could easily take the Christian pop market by storm with a fair amount of talent and some solid production. Certainly one to check out if you're looking for the next pop flavor of the month. - by Brenten Gilbert of Crosswalk.com


"Inspite of Me" -COMING SOON FALL 2008

"Phenomenal"- May 2006



A native of Brooklyn, NY, and the product of Dominican and Puerto Rican Parentage, Michelle was exposed to cultural and artistic diversity at an early age. Her youth was rich with Latin, Caribbean, Gospel, hip-hop and R&B flavor. Her father, a Latin jazz guitarist, played a significant role in Michelle’s life.

Making a commitment at age 16 to follow God, she became a worship leader, working for six years with her church youth group. Her life was changed when a performance at her home church caught the attention of RockSoul Entertainment’s founder Lee Jerkins. Impressed with Michelle’s raw talent and passion for God, he recognized a “diamond in the rough”.

The Lord’s providence would bring her to Philadelphia, where Lee helped develop and hone her skills. Michelle has developed into a multifaceted artist a gifted songwriter, singer, and national speaker. She has performed in the company of established artists such as Anointed, Crystal Lewis, Nicole Mullen, Out Of Eden, and Papa San. She has also been featured on Cross Movement’s Grammy and Dove nominated album “Higher Definition”. In 2006, her debut album “Phenomenal” was born.

Two years later, with a newfound understanding of who she is in Christ, Michelle presents her sophomore album, “In Spite of Me”. Michelle wrote and co-wrote the album that fuses Urban Contemporary Christian music with Latin melodies. Lyrically, the album depicts humanity’s imperfections in the presence of a perfect God. It is an attempt to illustrate that being a Christian is a process of growth and a journey of becoming more Christ-like. With refreshing, strong, and stirring vocals, she shares her faith in a fun and unobtrusive way. She talks about her real life struggles and how she has been able to overcome them with Christ.

She transparently displays her hurts and insecurities in hopes of influencing young people to find their identity in Christ. “These songs are personal stories and victories from my life that I hope will inspire the lives of others “

With heartfelt praise, Michelle declares her dedication to the One who continues to inspire and change her life. In spite of an emotional journey of struggle and sacrifice, God has blessed her with perseverance and grace. Her music encourages each of us to take a closer look at who Jesus really is, to embrace the challenges of life as tools for learning and growth.