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artist information

Tracy Bonham

Tracy Bonham (born 16 March 1969 in Boston, Massachusetts) is a Grammy-nominated American musician best known for her single Mother Mother.

Raised in Eugene, Oregon, Bonham is a classically trained violinist and pianist. She received two Grammy nominations in 1997 for Best Alternative Performance and Best Female Rock Vocal Performance. Today, Bonham splits her time between the U.S. West Coast and Brooklyn, New York.

Biography

Life and Early Music Career

A native of Eugene, Oregon, Bonham began singing at age 5 and playing the violin at 9. She started writing songs in 1994 after moving to Boston. In 1996, her major label debut The Burdens of Being Upright went gold, spawning the hit single Mother Mother, and leading to a pair of Grammy nominations. The follow-up, Down Here, was released in 2000 and since that time she’s continued her career, playing her music around the country.

When asked about the maturation of her songwriting, Bonham replies, “I think I stopped trying to prove so much to people. I went inward and realized that being honest and not being so veiled and cryptic can actually touch more people. In the past, I wanted to be deep, but then I went too far and was over-thinking everything. Now I just write from the heart.”

The Burdens of Being Upright Era: 1995 to 1999

Tracy Bonham became a critically acclaimed artist after her debut full-length album The Burdens of Being Upright. Magazines such as Rolling Stone and People noted her bold approach to rock music. Her single Mother, Mother was number one on the rock charts for a month. Later that year Bonham was nominated for two Grammy Awards for Best Alternative Performance and Best Female Vocal. She then went on extensive touring.

Down Here Era: 2000 to 2002

After the mild success of her first album, Tracy released Down Here, her second full-length album. Originally titled "Trails of a Dust Devil" with promos having been sent out with that title, the album and the only single released from it, Behind Every Good Woman, failed to chart. She took a break after promoting the album while searching for a new label.

Bee EP Era: 2003 to 2005

Tracy parted ways with her record label. Whilst touring in support of Blue Man Group, she recorded and released an independent EP, Bee. It included early versions of Shine, All Thumbs and Naked, which later appeared on her next full length album. It also included a live version of Freed from the Down Here album, and a cover of Black Dog, originally performed by Led Zeppelin. With the money made from selling this EP she returned to the studio to start work on her third full-length LP. The Bee EP was later re-issued in Europe as the Something Beautiful EP, with the addition of the title track (lifted from Blink the Brightest), and a DVD with bonus live performances.

Blink the Brightest Era: 2005 to 2006

On June 21, 2005, Bonham released Blink the Brightest (Zoë/Rounder). It was recorded in L.A., where she’s lived part-time since 2003.

Bonham is also a self-taught guitarist. “Guitar-wise, I have a certain style that I can’t seem to get any guitar player to mimic, and it’s because they’re good and I’m bad,” she has said. “And I don’t mind. There’s a way I want to hear it, so I just do it myself.”

Bonham co-produced the bulk of the album with Greg Collins (U2, No Doubt, Matchbox Twenty); Joey Waronker, who has drummed for R.E.M. and Beck, co-produced four tracks. Along with Bonham, the players include drummers Waronker and Butch (eels), bassists Sebastian Steinberg (Soul Coughing, Neil Finn) and Davey Farragher (Elvis Costello, Sheryl Crow), guitarists Joe Gore (Tom Waits, P.J. Harvey) and Dave Levita (Alanis Morissette, Jewel) and keyboard player Mitchell Froom (Paul McCartney, Los Lobos).

Unlike Bonham’s first two albums, which were underwritten by her former label Island Records, Bonham paid the recording costs of Blink the Brightest herself with money she’d made from selling copies of her EPs while touring with the Blue Man Group in 2003 (she previously appeared on the group’s album, The Complex).

In The City + In The Woods

In the late fall/early winter of 2006, Bonham released In The City+ In The Woods, her second EP which she funded herself. The 11-track disc features two studio tracks, a cover version of Beyoncé's "Crazy In Love" and an original- "In My Other Life". The rest of the songs are live tracks, which include some older favorites ("One Hit Wonder" and a stunning new version of "Navy Bean"), covers ("Blue Jay Way"), and previously unreleased material ("Your World Turns Upside Down", "The Idiot In Me").

Trivia

  • Tracy is well recognized in Blue Man Group's fan base. She sang on their album The Complex and performed with them on the accompanying tour. Currently she is accompanying the band on their second national tour, How to be a Megastar Tour 2.0. Tracy also made an appearance on America's Got Talent where she sang and played violin for Blue Man Group's performance of Baba O'Riley.
  • She sang and played violin on the album Honkin' on Bobo by Aerosmith. Two of Bonham's songs have been used in Showtime's drama series The L Word: Naked and Whether you Fall, both belonging to her album Blink the Brightest.
  • Bonham's song, "Something Beautiful", from the 2005 album"Blink the Brightest", has been used on a commercial promoting AMC.
  • Bonham is also featured on the No Blues album, Ya Dunya. She appears in three tracks, playing violin on every one and singing on only one.

References

  1. ^ a b c d Tracy Bonham - Blink the brightest. www.tracybonham.com. Retrieved on 2007-01-29.

Discography

Albums

  • The Burdens of Being Upright - 1996
  • Down Here - 2000
  • Blink the Brightest - 2005

EPs

  • The Liverpool Sessions - 1995 (EP)
  • Bee - 2003 (EP)
  • Something Beautiful - 2005 (EP/DVD)

Singles

  • Mother, Mother - 1996 (Single)
  • Sharks Can't Sleep - 1996 (Single)
  • The One - 1996 (Single)
  • Behind Every Good Woman - 2000 (Single)
  • Shine - 2005 (promo-only single)

Awards & nominations

YearAward
1996MTV Video Music Award nomination for Best New Artist (Mother Mother)
1996MTV Video Music Award nomination for Best Female Video (Mother Mother)
1997Grammy Award nomination for Best Alternative Music Performance (The Burdens of Being Upright)
1997Grammy Award nomination for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance (Mother Mother)