“It’s funny how the sadder things are easier to write about,” says Megan Bonnell, and the Ontario singer / songwriter isn’t just accurate, but she truly thinks it’s funny, as her laugh would indicate. It’s important to point this out because while her impressive debut album Hunt and Chase can hit some pretty deep and dark places, Bonnell isn’t walking around in black bemoaning the state of her life.
“I am a happy person, but there are a lot of emotions in anyone’s life,” she said, and those emotions are laid bare on the 10 tracks that were written during a period that saw her go through some rough stretches in her personal life.
“A lot of songs that ended up on the album were written in between the time when we began the album and when it was finished,” she said. “And I think it had a lot to do with things that I was going through in my life, and not uncommon things, but like love lost, going through breakups, and just being alone. I was in this cavelike, cavernous loft where I was by myself, and I didn’t get much light. And it was kind of depressing. So it was the first time where I feel like I was really honest and didn’t care if people are gonna like this or if this sounded the way I wanted. I just put it out there and wrote. This is how I feel and this is what I want to say. And even if I’m not okay with it, it’s how I’m feeling. There’s an honesty and rawness to it that hopefully fits with people, because it’s not insincere.”
It is honest and it is raw, sometimes raw enough that you have to listen to it in small doses. But the beauty of the record is that you will always return to listen, and that’s a testament to Bonnell’s songwriting and voice, and the production of Chris Turner and Josh Van Pistle. More importantly, for Bonnell, writing and performing the songs was cathartic.
“I feel like writing those songs and playing them, they really helped me work through things that needed to be worked through in my own life,” she said. “And it was a cathartic experience for sure, because sometimes something is so personal and you have to look within to solve it in any kind of way and get really introspective. But putting something into a song kind of pushes it back out and makes you see it in a way where you can make something of it. So I do feel like that time that I was writing the most for the album and in the middle of recording it, I look back on it really fondly, and even though it’s not necessarily glamorous, there’s some sort of magic to it because I feel like I was really in touch with myself and it’s almost like I had a friend in myself and in turn in my music, which was a cool thing.”
Now it’s time to get this show on the road, and Bonnell will be at Brooklyn’s Spike Hill on Wednesday, and for the record, yes, Ms. Megan is pretty happy these days.
“Right now I’m enamored with the whole thing and it just seems so exciting,” she said. “I do feel really proud of this album. It’s my first full-length album, and I feel like we made something that’s sitting well with people and resonating and connecting with them, so if the opportunities continue to arise where I can be on the road, playing shows and getting it out there and getting it heard, that’s a dream come true, without it sounding cheesy. Because it is what you work toward, and if I can be getting this across and doing this for a living, it would be a really neat thing to be doing it through music.”
If we’re going to use Hunt and Chase as a barometer, it looks like she will be doing this for a living for quite some time.
Megan Bonnell plays Spike Hill in Brooklyn on Wednesday, November 6. For tickets, click here