In the Middle with Haley Bonar

Since being discovered aged 20, Haley Bonar has had an incredible journey to where we find her today. She’s a solo artist, band member, mother and an incredibly hard worker. Her seventh album Impossible Dream came out earlier this summer to critical acclaim. Currently on tour, I had the chance to speak to Haley ahead of her upcoming gig in Leeds.

Growing up, what kind of music did you listen to around the house? Has your taste changed as you’ve grown older?
My parents played a lot of Enya and James Taylor, of which I liked the former. I listened mostly to The Beatles, anything Phil Spector touched, Green Day, TLC, and the Cranberries. My taste hasn’t necessarily changed as much as it’s expanded. I still like all of those bands.

What music do you listen to when you’re travelling or on your own? Is there one album that has stuck with you?
Honestly, I listen to podcasts. ‘Savage Lovecast’ is my favourite, but I’ve been listening to a podcast called ‘Criminal’ that is really interesting.

Do you feel more comfortable touring and performing now than when you first set out, or do you still get nervous?
I feel more comfortable in my own skin in general than I did when I was 20. But a little dose of nervousness never hurts, and is frequent before performing.

Do you prefer performing as Haley Bonar or with your band Gramma’s Boyfriend?
I don’t prefer one or the other, they both bring different aspects of my musical capabilities and singing to life.

How much input do you have with your music videos? Are they important to you for adding more depth to the songs?
Some videos have my input and ideas more than others, but I mostly like to work with directors whose vision I trust and see what they come up with. I like the visual aspect and appreciate other artist’s interpretation of my music.

I’ve read that you had thought about releasing some music aimed towards a younger audience. What’s your favourite children’s song to listen to with your daughter?
I put out a kids EP in 2008. We don’t listen to children’s music, my daughter loves Frankie Valli, Beyoncé, and Joni Mitchell.

When you’re in the UK do you get a chance to explore?
Not really!

What’s your favourite city to perform in?
I really enjoyed playing in Washington, DC recently. My favourite city to visit always seems to be Amsterdam though.

 I know in the past you’ve used Kickstarter to generate money for your album, what words of advice would you give to young people who want a career in the music industry?
I used Kickstarter for my album Golder back in 2010. Words of advice to young people? Take showers often when touring in a van with other people.

You can catch Hayley Bonar at Leeds Brudenell Social Club, this Monday 24th October!

Interview by Hannah Mason

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