Alyssa Bonagura is a Nashville singer-songwriter that is sure to capture your hearts with her wonderful storytelling within her songs and infectious personality. Her most recent track “New Wings” will have you hooked instantly! It is now available to stream via all major streaming platforms.
After being away from the stage for so long, Alyssa will finally be heading out and returning home to that stage where she belongs. She has two shows in the UK this summer so, whilst she was paying us a visit, we thought we would have a little chat with her to talk about all things music, how excited she is to get back out in front of an audience, and what she has planned next. Check it out!
Hello! It’s good to see you. How are you doing?
I’m fine, how are you? It’s good to see you too!
I’m grand, thanks for asking! You’re currently over here because you have a couple of live shows coming up, is that correct?
Oh yes, I’m so excited to have live shows back!
I know, we’ve been deprived of it for so long.
I know, it’s time we got back!
Yeah, it’s going to be so good! How are you finding the UK so far?
I love the UK you know, like I’ve come back here so much over the last ten years of my life because I went to college here. I went to the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts. I was there for three years, full time, made some of the best friends of my life, and it’s been so great to get back and see them. So, it’s always good to come back, it’s like my second home.
You know, Liverpool is such a good place to study music, with all that history.
It is, I really cut my teeth there, the first journey of me playing live shows…. it’s where it all began!
You’re obviously excited to be performing live again. What can people expect from these live shows? What are you looking forward to the most?
I just want everybody to feel connection again with the music, you know. The reason I create music is to connect with people, and the best part about live shows is being able to be one on one with the fans, and connecting on a level where everybody just feels like “Wow, I’ve been there”, you know. I want them to feel uplifted and happy, and just lose themselves for forty-five minutes, in my set, and forget about what’s happening in the world, and just be really present. So, I’m really looking forward to doing that, and hopefully touching some hearts, you know? That’s all I can hope for!
Live music is such a powerful thing. It connects people on a completely different level. What does that feeling feel like as a performer?
Well, when you’re on stage, and you’re connecting with strangers, it’s a really powerful thing because it doesn’t matter what anybody’s from. It doesn’t matter what views people have, what their religion is, what their culture is. You’re all there for one thing, and I think that is such a powerful healer, you know what I mean? It just makes us realise that we’re all the same for three minutes and forty seconds, for that song, so it’s a really wild thing, and I’m nervous before every show, always, and I think that’s just because it’s always like, you get so excited, and you’re nervous about how the show’s going to go. And then once you get on that stage, it’s like being at home, and I really can’t wait!
How do you deal with those nerves then, because I can’t imagine getting up on stage and performing in front of people! How do you get over that?
You know, it’s not like debilitating nerves, it’s more like prepping, I guess like an athlete prepping for a game, you know what I mean? Like, I get in the zone.
My show days are really interesting because I have a routine, where I need to work out, I need to get the energy out. If I don’t get out some of that excess energy, I can be a lot more nervous. But I wake up and I have a routine. I work out, then I meditate, and then I just get my show in my head, and then I go on. That little bit of controlled environment for me is what helps level me. But I also get days where I just get up and go, you know! You’re never really prepared, to be honest. Every time you step on stage, every time I step on the stage, I always just feel like I’m home, so I’m not really afraid.
I’m sure you will be performing some new material. You’ve recently released “New Wings” which is such a great track. Could you explain the creative process you went through to create this track? Maybe give us a bit of background?
Yeah, I’m definitely going to be playing new songs, and some old songs as well, but a lot of new ones, because in the pandemic I just wrote a ton of music. This particular song was really important to me because I had read this poem by Paulo Coelho called ‘The Lesson of the Butterfly’, and it’s all about how, when the butterfly is struggling through the cocoon, it takes a really long time to get out of it, and that struggle is what actually creates the strength of the wings. If you cut the struggle in half then your wings aren’t developed. That really hit home for me, and that was kind of like my mantra for 2020. Like it’s ok to go through that struggle, because look how hard it is to become a beautiful butterfly. And then once you’re a butterfly, you’re flying, which is so amazing. To have spent your whole life as a caterpillar on the ground and then all of a sudden …. It’s like a Cinderella story! So that was how ‘New Wings’ was born, and I wrote a song with this guy called Todd Salter over Zoom. It was our first Zoom session, and he brought this track of music, and I was so inspired by it, I thought let’s write about transformation and how it’s the struggles that make us stronger, and that’s how it was born. The total inspiration for the year became the mantra for 2020 for me.
Yeah, it’s a good song for the time, really. That’s quite an inspirational meaning, with everyone going through such a tough time. So, when you’re song writing then, do you ever have writers’ block?
All the time! I actually think it’s so important to chase the creative process wherever that leads you, so from March to about August I was writing, writing, writing. Then I burnt out and thought I needed to go and experience life. That’s when I came over to England, before the lockdown. I quarantined with some friends and thought I just need to experience some life, see friends, see people I haven’t seen in years, and just try to reconnect my soul. Through that process you become more inspired. I think for me, all my songs are true life stories, so I have to live it before I can write it. I went to Greece recently and we didn’t make music, but I was struck with so many ideas while I was there, because being surrounded by culture and new things all the time is really where the creative process is.
So how did you deal with that in a lockdown then, if you weren’t able to go out and live your life? How were you able to write all these songs?
Well it’s funny actually. The lockdown for me was the first time I had stopped in like five years. We were on the road for five years with The Sisterhood Band. Every day was a new show, every day was a new city. I was all over the world. We were in Australia, you know, all these places, and so the pandemic halted everything. It was the first time I thought “Oh my God, I have all this time”. And then you start healing a lot of things that you have brushed to the side because you’ve got to be ‘on’ for all of these shows. So, for me that was the time when I was able to be creative, because it’s very push and pull when you’re on the road. You don’t really have a lot of time to stop. So, this was actually a huge blessing. I was healing and being creative, and channelling all this stress. I was taking stories and life experiences from the last five or six years of my life and just pouring it out. It was also different for me because I was writing on my own again. The Sisterhood Band was like a different kind of thing, and so certain stories didn’t really make sense for that band. Now I’m really getting to share my personal stories, and it’s really freeing.
It’s a strange thing that a pandemic and a lockdown can bring out so much creativity in people. You see all these things online that people have been doing, and all the hobbies that they have picked up. In a wat that’s kind of the silver lining in all of this I suppose, isn’t it?
So, you’ve written with quite a few musicians in the past. If you could choose one person who is currently in the music industry to work with, who would you choose, and why would you choose them?
I have always dreamed of working with Chris Martin from Coldplay.
Oh, that’s a good answer!
He’s my absolute favourite, he always has been. Coldplay is actually one of my biggest inspirations. I got to meet him last year, before the pandemic, and he inspired me so much. It was a really brief meeting after a show they played. He had heard our music, and basically was just giving advice to just keep going and keep writing our stories, and how you can’t give up on that, even when a label is telling you to write something else. So, he really inspired me, and if I could work with anybody, and write with anybody, it would be him. I just think his melodies are the best, and I just love where his music comes from. That band are messengers to me. I think they really connect a lot of people in a really positive way, so yeah, him, hands down!!
That’s a really good answer! You know, his song writing is just impeccable. Some of the songs that Coldplay have done are just ridiculous!
It’s timeless, and it reaches everyone, and I think that’s the whole point of music, to not alienate anybody. It makes me emotional listening to their songs, because it’s really striking a chord in my soul, and I think that’s the power of music.
Yeah, for sure! So, one of the things about song writing is the ability to tell a story, which I think you demonstrate so perfectly in your songs. So, if I asked you to write a song based on what you’re feeling right now, what would the song be called, and what would it be about?
Gosh! Well you know, being super transparent, I see so much division in the world, with what’s going on, with what we are all facing. I think it would be about bringing people together and making sure we can all see eye to eye. Going back to Coldplay, their Everyday Life record just summed up 2020, like how did they know?! There’s a song called Everyday Life that they released, and it’s like ’everyone hurts, everyone cries’, and everybody feels this way, and how do we get through it together? So, I think I would try and write a song along those lines. In a crazy world, at least we have still got each other, and we’re all going through it together, so let’s not divide each other, you know what I mean?
Yes, that’s a good answer. So, you’ve probably done quite a few interviews in your time in the music industry. What is one question you wish someone would ask you in an interview, but no one ever does?
Hmmm, probably something super personal about me, something silly like ‘What’s your favourite ice cream?’
Ok, so what is your favourite ice cream?
I really like mint chocolate chip. I feel like the gelato here is way different, as you have all these Italians’ and you can get this amazing, proper gelato. Mint chocolate chip on a waffle cone is my absolute favourite!
Nice! Well you gave a good answer for that question, I love that! So, this is the last question I have for you before I let you go. What else can we expect from you in the future, are there any future plans that you can share with us?
Yeah, I’m just going to be releasing songs over the next couple of months, and I’m working on a full length album. I really want to just share my stories, and hope that it connects us all in a way where we can feel that we’re not alone. That’s what I hope that ‘New Wings’ does for people, and I’m so excited to share it. Also, some shows, definitely, as many shows as we can play, we’re playing them. Just trying to reach more people, and actively trying to connect with my fans on a one to one level. Everybody can find me on Instagram, and that’s me that answers everything in person, so if you reach out, you’re getting me!
Well, you heard her, you can keep up to date and stay connected with Alyssa Bonagura on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram! Be sure to grab tickets to her shows here before it’s too late. You don’t want to miss out on hearing her brand-new music live!
Big thanks to Alyssa for having a chat with us! Share your thoughts with us over on our Twitter! – @AboutThe_Noise