Photo Credit: Edmund Lee
Blended by smooth jazz and Midwestern heartbreak, Brandon Bonine is a very unique musician with tons of upside. Bonine hails from Michigan where he first picked up a guitar at age 11 and spent countless hours listening to his dad's record collection. His influences range from John Mayer to the songwriting abilities of John Prine and even studied under famed jazz guitarist Pat Metheny. His unparalleled sound really allows him to bridge across to any music genre he desires.
Bonine recently released his debut album in late April titled "Warranted Worries" and features single "Only With You" which came with a music video that has surpassed 100k views on Youtube. On Instagram, Bonine had stated in a post that the first song on this album was written nearly five years ago and hundreds of songs later only nine were chosen. When asked why he picked the songs that he did for this album, he said that these songs "benchmarked certain periods of his life."
The Single "Only With You" really embodies a Midwestern feel and even has a pinch of modern day country-pop sound to it. This is one of many instances where Bonine can experiment with different genres such as country. He will soon be performing in the Country music capitol of the world where he will be promoting his pop sound. "Country is no longer about Texas and Cowboy hats. Genres can be defined anyway you want them to be." Bonine's smooth sound will be heavily favored in Nashville as well as other places like Toronto, Michigan, and out West, where Bonine has started to receive lots of praise.
Check out the interview I had with Brandon.
MUC: What was it like being taught by legend Pat Metheny?
"My Junior year of high school, I had read about this guitar summit he was holding out in Connecticut and I thought to myself that it was going to be just a bunch of Jazz musicians and there's no way I'm going to be able to do this, you had to submit an audition, record a bunch stuff, and send live footage, and I thought why not? And then about a month later, I got a letter in the mail and got a letter that said I had been accepted and so what happened basically, I got to spend a week with him from 9-5 and pick his brain. As a guitar player, I learned kind of from his viewpoint. You can look at a lot of things, you can look at Guitar World Magazine where he can teach a little, but sitting right in front of him allowed us to ask questions that were not pre-fed to him. I learned all of these intricate points of him and of his playing and how he thinks through things and moving forward, I was able to take a lot more personal tidbits from him. These were things that I would not have learned anywhere else.
MUC: Do your life experiences growing up in Michigan have any influences on your songs?
"My life experiences definitely have an influence. That's most noticeable lyrically on "Remember My Name" which is the second track on the album and the first single because it's so visual. A lot of those visual elements come from living in Michigan, talking about ponds, talking about your car being stuck in the driveway, I think that's totally Michigan. You're not going to find things like that in other songs that Southerners have written. Production wise, having known about Motown and listening to a lot of Motown music, I went about thinking about production from a Motown way. I wanted a clean, polished product and with that, I wanted to use authentic, real instruments as much as I could. Detroit is very real, it still feels very iron and grit and steel and concrete and that's how I wanted the album. That's also how I view Michigan as a whole, we're very authentic.
MUC: Where did the title "Warranted Worries" come from?
"It actually came from a good friend of mine. We were on the phone at 3 or 4 in the morning and we were talking about something and at one point he said "You know what? None of your worries are warranted" and I was like "Woah, let's stop right there. They are one hundred percent warranted." and that's basically where I flipped around the phrase."
As a country music fan, I enjoyed Brandon Bonine and his music. His debut album is giving fans an inside look at his life and was written and recorded with internal thoughts and pure emotion. You can find him at www.brandonbonine.com or on Instagram and Twitter.