Staying In Tune with Country Gal & Radio Personality Carla Bonnell.
I had the pleasure
to have hung out for the afternoon, capturing Carla Bonnell’s essence behind my
camera lens and let me tell you, she is a ball of joyful energy. Her creative
nature as a dynamic singer, song-writer is bursting with passion and she is
thrilled to share her originals and crowd pleasing covers with her fans across
the globe. Carla’s performances will musically tantalize your senses, a true
entertainer, a must-see live performer. She is filled with a great sense of
self, humour and drive for the love of music. She is on tour celebrating her
most recent release, her album The Liberator featuring 12 of her greatest
pieces, and this is what she had to say when I fired a few questions her way?
Hello, Carla. Thanks for answering a few fun and interesting questions about your musical career.
Deb: What drew you to the music industry? Carla: I didn’t get the performing bug until later in life. I didn’t like performing when I was younger. I was completely drawn to it when I used to play with my dad and uncle on Vancouver Island in BC. They like to fish, and they played music for a living so to spend time with them, I would go to their gigs and just sit on the stage because of ‘ under age rules” and listen to them play. My dad always tried to get me to sing one or two songs and by the end of it I was hooked. It became a way to bond with family. I didn’t grow up with my dad, and the times we spent together were far and few between. He lived in BC and I was doing my growing in New Brunswick. So I took every opportunity I had to spend time with him and this was one of those ways. It ended up becoming our family tradition along with fishing and a lot of practical jokes! Later on, I would be asked to play here and I would but I never did much until my uncle moved from BC back to Nova Scotia. At that point, we got together and he just started booking gigs with me being the main lead. I literally fell into it, once again by family tradition. I ended up making my living in those days by playing dances and events with my uncle.
Deb: Who are you inspired by? Carla: My dad and uncle were my biggest inspirations. Honestly I did most of it just so dad would be proud of me and that I would be able to even spend more time with him and Uncle Freddie. Still to this day, its my main reason for still getting on the stage. Dad passed away 10 years ago, and performing makes me feel close to him still. Uncle Freddie is a wicked guitarist and my dream is to live close enough to him again that we can just play and be together.
Deb: What is your favorite and least favorite part about this line of work? Carla: I’ll start with the least favorite which is getting the support needed. Its very very difficult if your not in with “ the right crowd” to find people who believe in you enough that they will give their time and energy to help get you the bookings and organize a tour, or even keep you busy enough to do it full time. I need that and I am still having a great deal of difficulty to find someone that is knowledgeable enough to push it with 100 percent fever like I would do if I could for myself. My favorite part is creating and performing. I think every artist will tell you that. Interestingly enough, since I started the radio station, I have been doing a lot of interviews with established and new to the game artists for my show Carla’s Coffee House. This is one of my most favorite parts! Talking to these people, who love what they do, and hear their lives spilling through their motivations, desires and craft, inspires me and changes me upon every interview I do. I have gained so much heart change from listening to these wonderful artists talk about who they are on the inside. They are more grounded than most people I know, they know themselves better than the average human being, because they aren’t running after the fame and fortune, but they are leaving an fingerprint of their soul on you, because that’s what they have been called to do. That is my most favorite part of this line of work. Working with other artists in any capacity whether performing together or promoting together.
Deb: Have you dealt with performance anxieties? If so, how have you over come them? Carla: Every time I get on stage I have performance anxiety. I likely do it to myself because I don’t follow a strict format. I am fluid on stage. I will play a variety of style songs and I watch the audience. If I see they like one style and are less responsive to another style, I will change likely 70 percent of my full set to give them what they desire to hear. So each time I get on stage, I get anxious, hoping I have the right material, and I am able to perform 140 percent. The trick is, to stay true to yourself in the midst of gauging the audience that has come to see you. Its not an easy balancing act. Even though it makes me anxious, I thrive on challenging myself this way every time I get up to perform. I still like to see what I’m made of. I got a few stories there but maybe another time.
Deb: Outside your music career, what is your day profession? Carla: I’m the queen of all trades. Presently I am doing a physical job, I’m a material handler in Ontario. I like it because I’m moving around and throwing things all day. Gets the agitations out! Before this I was working in telecommunications as an entry level IT person. We won’t give it away for who, but I really liked that company. It was nearly impossible to get the right schedule to play music though. So my live performances took a hit. However, I’m hoping this summer that will all be changing!
Deb: What do you work toward in your free time? Carla: Right now my free time is almost non-existant. But when I do steal some time, I work on trying out new cover songs, edit some song lyrics I’m not satisfied with or just go mind dead and watch soap operas and hide from anything that looks like reality. D-COMPRESS! The radio station, Carla’s Coffee House, takes a lot of my time in the evenings. Hey I’m still looking for serious sponsors to keep it rolling. Some days I think I should let it all go because its so time consuming. But when I get a letter from an artist saying they need help, I just can’t let it go. I know what that feels like to need the leg up and no where to turn so I keep plugging away and spending my free time points.
Deb: Also, what’s the most interesting thing about you that we wouldn’t learn from your resume alone.Carla: Deb seriously? I don’t know! Haha I guess my resume wouldn’t tell you how witty I am and how much I love to make people laugh, or play practical jokes. Is that interesting? Probably not. I can make very cool paper airplanes and give them special names.
Deb: You’re a new addition to the crayon box. What color would you be and why? Carla: Wow I always loved the silver one. Metallic silver. I would be that because I get an excitement in my belly when I see its metallic sparkley shine. It looks like liquid but its in a solid state. It makes me want to just melt myself into it and slowly spread out over any smooth surface. Ok, I’m getting corny.
Deb: Are you more of a hunter or a gatherer and a leader or a follower? Carla: More of a hunter and definitely a leader. I love to learn under someone that is more experienced and “ smarter” than me. But when I get the goods, I’m off an running full charge with target in view and leading the charge. I don’t like waiting for anyone. And at my age, I don’t have the tolerance for games. Just get it done. Let the others fight over their titles and positions. I just want to get where I’m going and obtain the prize whatever that may be when I set my sights.
Deb: If you could have your fans remember one thing about you, what would it be? Carla: I hope they remember the music, the message, the humor and the warmth. I hope they walk away for their experience with me as one to remember and feel like I have spoken into their lives in a positive way and that our communion together developed enriching memories in which they would desire to come see me again. I’m a bit strange that way. Its not just about the music. It’s the relationships. I want to build a big family and I hope they want to be a part of it.
Deb: Do you think you could get any better as a musician? And if so, how would you achieve that? Carla: Oh definitely, there is always room for improvement. I’m not under the illusion that I am the best songwriter, guitar player or singer out there, far from it. There is always something to learn. The best way for me to achieve excellence is to play with other musicians, learn what they know, practice what I learn, and be open to new ways at all times.
Deb: What would you say is your secret to longevity in the music industry? Carla: At the risk of sounding corny again, the music industry is a part of who I am and I am a part of the music industry. To Quote a famous guy “ the whole is other than the sum of its parts” Throwing a little Gestalt Theory out there but its true. You can either take what you have and make it work for you, or you can look at it from another perspective and feel like it has locked you out. Its all about perception. Everything in the world is perception. Thoughts and ideas have been put into action which eventually created something, whether it be a system, a way to do things, and a result appeared. A formula was “ created”. Then through the formula the “thing” or, the system, became something recognizable and patterned. The industry is just the way things are done. If it works, use it, if it doesn’t rework it in your favor. The only way to change that is to be “industrious”. I was never one to let anyone or anything get the best of me. Persistence wins every challenge. Just keep doing what your doing and if you find a better way to do it, then adopt it into your way of doing!
May 17th 8pm at 10521 Hwy 64 Lavigne Tavern and
She is heading your way NORTH BAY on June 1st 93pm to Cecil’s located at 300 Wyld Street.300 Wyld North Bay, ON
HG Broadcasting www.hgbroadcasting.com
Carla’s Coffee House OFFICE HOURS BEGINNING JAN. 7th, 2019 Monday- Friday: 6-8pm Eastern & Saturday and Sunday: 2-4 pm. Please be advised that I will get to your correspondence as soon as possible.