My exclusive interview with Ms. Bonnie Bailey
|Ms. Bonnie Bailey|
Davao City was the last stop of Ms. Bonnie Bailey’s tour around the country. She had been in Manila, Cebu, Tacloban, Cagayan de Oro and then here in Davao.
Her gig at Waterfront Insular Davao was awaited by many Dabawenyo partyphiles, there wasn’t much of a foreign artist performing here in our city, others who came were nostalgia acts. Bonnie Bailey was younger, her music still fresh and updated as compared to the occasional foreign acts who came to Davao.
Ms. Bailey was known for her signature House hit Ever After. Her popularity rose after being signed with dance label Hed Kandi and is considered a club music icon.
Courtesy of Mr. Kim Liu marketing and sales manager of Isuzu Cars Davao, I was able to wiggle an exclusive interview with Miss Bailey. Kim apart from helping his family’s car business is a part-owner of Amber Ultra Lounge in Taguig's Fort Bonifacio Global City which had hosted several Bonnie Bailey gigs.
Born in Manhattan to a Spanish-Japanese mother and Italian-German father, her earliest inclinations to music was hearing her mom sing in Spanish. Bonnie surmises that her musical genes would come from her Dad’s mother who was a very good singer but had a severe case of stage fright.
“When I was four years old, I would get on coffee tables and sing Shirley Temple songs.” Bonnie recalls her childhood.
When she was 16 years old she met famous record producer Ric Wake who had worked with popular artists such as Taylor Dayne, Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston.
Bonnie recalls skipping a dental appointment to visit the music producer. She auditioned to Ric where he noted his unique singing voice. It was also in his studio that a then broken-hearted Bonnie would compose two songs despite limited piano knowledge.
Sensing her potential, Ric Wake convinced Bonnie’s parents to let their daughter enroll in a songwriting school in Manhattan. It was in the school where Bonnie learned how to write and create songs. It was also that time when she dabbled in rock acoustic music.
Then she met Mark Doyle, founder of Hed Kandi who enlisted her to be part of the label. She would write her own songs and sing them.
|performing Ever After at the Waterfront Insular Tent|
“I was very lucky that Mark Doyle loved my lyrics.” Bonnie said. And from 2002 to 2008 she was part of the massively successful Hed Kandi compilation. Churning out hits like Everywhere, Kingdom of Pretty, Rise, Cocoon and the ultra successful Ever After.
“I bring lyrics to House music” Bonnie says of her songwritng. Wherein usual house music would have sparse lyrics, Bonnie brought a full bodied song into it.
The songs are inspired by titles and real-life experiences. Her beach house anthem Ever After was actually culled from her real-life love story. “I was in this relationship, there was a point when things got tough. The song was made to inspire us to work for this relationship.” Bonnie said.
“Now We’re slightly weathered, we’re slightly worn”
Our hands grip together, eye to eye through the storm yet
I still believe in ever after with you…
Cuz life is a pleasure with you on my side
And there aint no current in this river we can't ride
I still believe in ever after with you…”
However despite the massive success of the song, the five year relationship didn’t work out for Bonnie who admits to being a romantic person, and a firm believer in happily-ever-after love stories.
Aside from singing, Bonnie also writes for other artists still sticking to her formula for writing songs. Bonnie says the songs are also a reflection of her old-school beliefs and values. She says she still believe in romance and true love and these are what her songs speaks about.
And much of her songs lyrics finds resonance among her fans in the Philippines. Bonnie says she was pleasantly surprised when people at Hed Kandi told that she is extremely popular in the Philippines.
In 2007 she visited the country and has fallen in love with it. “My favorite place is the Philippines… its because the people here are so warm and sincere.” Bonnie says. She adds that she hasn’t seen a culture so kind and so loving like what she has experienced in this country.
In fact her Philippine visits inspires her to create more songs. In fact another hit “The Kingdom of Pretty” was written after one of her sojourns.
And despite negative image about the region, Bonnie finds Davao beautiful and peaceful; “its spacious and open.” Bonnie remarked while our vehicle passed through the city’s southern suburbs. Though she was warned about the danger in coming to a so-called volatile region. Bonnie said that she wants to meet her Davao fans who had been egging her to come. “I love my fans, I really wanted to meet them.”
|At backstage with the author|
Currently Bonnie Bailey is signed with Fierce Angel Records under Mark Doyle who was once with Hed Kandi, she will be releasing a double CD compilation; one is a dance CD and the other contains acoustic tracks. She is currently writing songs with other artist one of them is Latin American singer/actress Lucero.
The Bonnie Bailey Ever After concert organizers would like to thank the following generous sponsors; San Miguel Light, Premiere Max Condom, Metro Card Club Davao, Villa Mercedes by Uraya Land, Smart Telecommunications, Dimsum Diner, Ramen Boy, MRD Gempesaw Construction, Chimes Specialty Store, Hotel Esse, Pops Restobar, Oh George Drive-Inn, Coca-Cola, Seraph Production, Waterfront Hotel, Killerbee 89.1.