Brand New Single Out Today (2/7); UK Shows Announced
LONDON, UK. – (2nd July, 2021) – Nashville singer-songwriter Alyssa Bonagura has today shared her first new solo music in almost five years, the long-awaited single ‘New Wings’ – out now following an exclusive national radio first play on BBC Radio 2 from Bob Harris yesterday (1/7) – and announced a series of live performances in the UK next month, including a Nashville Meets London Presents appearance in London – tickets on sale now.
In high demand as a songwriter, Alyssa’s songs have been recorded by a broad range of artists, from Steven Tyler and Jessie James Decker to Sarah Jarosz and Jo Dee Messina; and she shares a release day this Friday with UK pop-rock band Lawson, whose new album Cmd Z features three songs she co-wrote, including ‘Killing Me’ which she also provides duet vocals for. Despite this recognition, a series of life changes and the pandemic’s impact on the music industry brought home the importance of finding time to write for herself.
“After losing a lot of things I thought were concrete in my life, I dove into writing solo music again to help me cope,” she shares. “Throughout my healing journey I found a poem by Paulo Cohelo called The Lesson Of The Butterfly that speaks on how the struggle to fly out of the cocoon is one of the most important processes that can’t be skipped.
“As difficult as it may feel when it’s happening, those “cocoon moments” throughout our lives are the ones that strengthen our wings so that we are able to fly. That realization really hit home for me & became my mantra of 2020. ‘New Wings’ is about having faith that on the other side of it all, the best is yet to come.”
‘New Wings’ marks the first release following Bonagura’s collaboration in The Sisterhood Band, which took them across the world touring two successful Sony Music EP releases, with performances at the iconic Grand Ole Opry, main support for Rod Stewart on his UK & Ireland stadium tour, and a sold-out UK headline tour, along with numerous major festival appearances.
The single was also one of her first remote co-writes; written over Zoom with producer and songwriter Tawgs Salter, Alyssa describes the process: “He came in with this beautiful musical track, and after sharing our similar feelings on transformation, the song was virtually written and recorded in a couple hours.”
Celebrating her extensive links with the UK’s creative community, having studied music at the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts (LIPA), Alyssa returned to the city last summer as travel restrictions began to lift, to reconnect with a group of musicians and bring them together to film a twelve-song live set. Filmed and produced by leading event company Adlib, who built a full-scale live production in their Liverpool studio, the shoot was the closest that everyone involved could come to getting back out on the road, a sentiment expressed by Bonagura in the introduction to the project, ‘What Live Music Means To Me’. The next of these videos, a performance of the single ‘New Wings’, will be released on Alyssa’s YouTube channel on July 21st.
Additionally, Alyssa is asking for fans and followers everywhere to share their own experiences through her #MyButterflyStory campaign on Instagram: “Music to me is all about connection, and throughout the pandemic I got to hear a lot of people telling me why a certain song was helping them get through quarantine and that’s really the reason I do this. I’m hoping that New Wings reaches out and uplifts people who have felt a similar transformation and rebirth – and that’s why I’d love to hear from fans about what struggles they went through to get their #NewWings & share it on that page in hopes to show a sense of unity among people all over the world.” Get involved here: https://www.instagram.com/mybutterflystory/.
Upcoming UK live dates:
Aug 5th – JBL Back To Stage at Between The Bridges, South Bank
Aug 31st – NML Presents at Pizza Express Live, Holborn – tickets (w/ Julia Cole)
(More dates TBA)
ABOUT ALYSSA BONAGURA:
A songwriter, producer, and multi-instrumentalist, Alyssa Bonagura has spent the past decade fine-tuning a sound that reaches far beyond her Nashville roots. It’s a sound that blurs the boundaries between genres, mixing the southern storytelling of country music, the free-thinking spirit of rock & roll, and the cinematic sweep of Brit-pop into its own hybrid. For Alyssa — a lifelong road warrior who spent her infancy aboard a tour bus, recorded a duet with Kenny Rogers at 10 years old, received her college diploma from Sir Paul McCartney, and currently balances her critically-acclaimed solo career with an ongoing gig writing songs for Jessie James Decker, Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler, and others — it’s also a sound that’s every bit as diverse as her own story.
Years before releasing 2021’s single “New Wings,” Alyssa grew up in Tennessee, an only child raised by parents who sent nearly a dozen songs toward the top of the Billboard charts as leaders of the country band Baillie & the Boys. “I was three weeks old when my parents landed another Top 10 single,” she says. “My mom said, ‘Alright, let’s take the kid on the road,’ and I grew up on their tour bus. My life was waking up in a different city every day and singing with them. I wanted to be just like them.”
Back home in Nashville, she bonded with her father over a shared love of music production and songwriting. Together, they converted the family attic into a home studio, where Alyssa began layering her vocals with a mini-disc recorder. By 16, she was recording her own songs, making sense of the outside world by turning her trials and triumphs into music. She landed her first national tour that same year, opening 50 shows for fellow genre-bender Marty Stuart, and became a go-to session singer for artists like Matt Maher and Vince Gill.
Being on the road felt natural, even for a teenager who’d just discovered the joys of home recording. “I’ve been a traveling gypsy my whole life,” Alyssa explains. “I’m a storyteller who’s always on the move, and I’ve been inspired by all walks of life. At a young age, I learned that we are all different, and we shouldn’t have to conform to any singular label. I applied that lesson to my music. My songs aren’t supposed to be confined to a box or a genre — they’re just who I am.”
Producing her own songs often required Alyssa to play her own instruments. An ear-trained pianist, she learned to play guitar, mandolin, bass, drums, and more. She drew her inspiration from an equally wide range, listening to everything from her parents’ old-school favorites — including Joni Mitchell, James Taylor, and Fleetwood Mac — to millennial musicians like John Mayer and Dashboard Confessional. Above all, she loved the Beatles — a love that only deepened when she relocated to England to study sound technology at the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts. When she graduated in 2009, she received her diploma from the school’s co-founder, Sir Paul McCartney.
Living in England for three years left a permanent mark on Alyssa’s music. She was drawn to the complex chord progressions of the Beatles, the atmospheric soundscapes of Coldplay, and the folk-pop sounds of the country’s Americana community. All of it found a space in her own songwriting. Making waves in the British scene, she opened for Ringo Starr as a member of Pete Wylie’s band, The Mighty Wah!, then played an acoustic set at Glastonbury Festival as a solo artist. Following a UK tour opening for Raul Malo of The Mavericks, she returned home to Nashville and signed a publishing deal with Rondor Music International, kicking off a new phase of her multidimensional music career.
The English Diaries, her full-length debut album, arrived in 2010, followed two years later by Love Hard. Her pop song “I Make My Own Sunshine” was featured in a Lowe’s commercial and was later covered by rock legend Steven Tyler on his chart-topping country album, We’re All Somebody From Somewhere. 2016’s Road Less Traveled found Alyssa returning to her Americana roots, while a long history of additional opportunities — such as writing and producing songs from Jessie James Decker’s Number 1 country album Southern Girl City Lights; co-writing and singing on Nelson’s Top 40 adult contemporary hit “This Christmas;” and landing singles with Jana Kramer, Sarah Jarosz, and Jo Dee Messina — showcased the broad range not only of her musical interests, but her abilities, too. So did her time spent in The Sisterhood Band, a major-label country duo whose whirlwind career included two EPs, critical acclaim from Rolling Stone, and a run of UK stadium shows as Rod Stewart’s opening act.
Alyssa Bonagura resumes her solo career — and scales new heights — with New Wings, the first of a new set of songs to be released over the coming months, with a full album due next year. When the global health crisis brought her travel-centric lifestyle to a halt, she found new ways to chart unexplored territory without leaving her home studio. Using Zoom, she worked with producer friends Davis Naish (Eric Church), Tom Jordan (Seaforth), and Tawgs Salter during a series of virtual collaborations, steadily building a record about transformation and transition. Following advice given to her by Coldplay’s Chris Martin, she also embraced a rule-breaking, genre-jumping sound that made room for country, folk, R&B, and everywhere in between.
“What stood in my way over the past few years was the fact that I listened too much to what other people wanted,” she says. “I went on several different paths, but they ultimately brought me back here — stronger, wiser, and more myself than I’ve ever been!”