A fixture on Nashville's Indie singer-songwriter scene - Rolling Stone
Stunning, Original, A Future star in the making. - Robin Gibb
One listen and it becomes crystal clear that Alyssa Bonagura was born to make music. With a voice that touches somewhere deep inside, Alyssa’s soulful sound and powerful lyrics will send you jet-setting into a broad range of human emotions. Growing up on the open roads of America, with her RCA country recording artists parents, Baillie & The Boys, made it impossible for Alyssa not to witness the power and magic of music. At just 3 weeks old, her cradle was the gentle rocking of a tour bus. Her play ground encompassed sound checks at fairs and festivals and back stage dressing rooms at a slew of different venues including the Grand Ole Opry and Country Music Award shows, and her “extended family” consisted of managers, promoters, roadies, musicians and other fellow mainstream country artists.
At the age of 3, Alyssa performed on the Ralph Emory television show, Nashville Now. Where her version of the Leslie Gore classic; It’s My Party brought the house down in front of millions of national viewers. At age 10, one of those major acts, Kenny Rogers, decided Alyssa was the perfect child singer to record a duet with him on his Christmas CD, Christmas From The Heart. By age 13, Alyssa had her first batch of songs written and received an endorsement from Gretsch Guitars. She had figured out her own unique style of guitar playing with open tunings inspired by Joni Mitchell. By age 16 she landed her first 50 date tour opening up for Marty Stuart and his Fabulous Superlatives. It soon became obvious that she was the real deal, not only as a musician and singer but as a prolific songwriter as well.
While in high-school, Alyssa became a go-to session singer for people like Christian artist Matt Maher, where she created her own layered harmony vocal approach from years of hearing her parents sing together. Her songs started finding their way into television shows, (Switched! on ABC Family, MTV), movies, as well as getting her first cuts on other artists projects.
After graduating high school, Alyssa received a full scholarship from Sennheiser to Paul McCartney’s Liverpool Institute for the Performing Arts in Liverpool England, where she would spend the next three years earning a degree in Sound Technology while continuing to perform in local venues throughout Europe. While playing at a venue called The Zanzibar in Liverpool, Alyssa was spotted by Liverpool Rock Star Pete Wylie and was asked to join his band playing electric guitar and singing background vocals. Alyssa of course said yes, and experienced what most artists never experience; a private performance requested by the Queen to help support one of Liverpool’s local charities. A performance with Ringo Starr at the 800th Anniversary of Liverpool’s, “Capital Of Culture 2008” event; a performance slot at one of the UK’s largest music festivals; Knowsley Hall on the same bill as The Who, and from there on scored her own slots performing on the Acoustic stage at Glastonbury in 2009, and a UK tour opening for Raul Malo of The Mavericks.
While at LIPA, Alyssa was inspired by their music community and the extreme amount of talented people attending the school. She lived in Lennon Studios, an apartment complex that used to be the old maternity ward where John Lennon was born. Her incredibly unique experiences abroad inspired her debut album, The English Diaries, an all acoustic intimate collection of songs she produced and recorded herself in her one bedroom Beatles inspired flat.
After graduating LIPA and receiving her diploma from Paul McCartney himself, Alyssa returned to Nashville and signed her first publishing deal with Rondor Music. While signed to Rondor, she produced and released her sophomore album Love Hard which was backed by a 10k dollar Kickstarter Campaign and landed one of the biggest nationwide commercial placements of 2012 with her song, “I Make My Own Sunshine,” inspired by Liverpool’s rainy weather. It was featured in a Lowe’s commercial, earning over 50,000 downloads in its first 3 months and over 1 million plays on Spotify. She had no idea at the time that her song would later be heard by Steven Tyler and recorded on his first ever solo album, We’re All Somebody From Somewhere and that she would be the only solo writer on his debut #1 billboard Country album.
Alyssa’s many other accomplishments in the singer/songwriter community include: Writing with Jeffrey Steele, Michelle Branch, Hunter Hayes, and JD Souther, writing three songs on Jessie James Decker’s top 5 Billboard Country album “Comin’ Home” and co-writing top 40 billboard country radio single, “Lights Down Low”, winning Canadian songwriter of the year and song of the year for “I Only Smoke When I Drink” by the Small Town Pistols, co-writing Jana Kramer’s latest country radio single “Circles” and a #17 AC Billboard Chart Christmas duet with Matthew & Gunner Nelson called “This Christmas” which she wrote with the twins and her father, Michael Bonagura. She’s also had three #1 hits in Australia with Morgan Evans and Chelsea Basham and produced music for Jo Dee Messina & Rachel Reinert of Gloriana.
At 28 years old, Alyssa has become a songwriting seamstress for a number of artists, a producer, and a band member of the west coast folk & classic rock n’ roll sounds of The Sisterhood Band with friend Ruby Stewart, all while simultaneously having a career as a solo artist. She’s created life long friendships with fellow songwriters, artists and musicians, and has been called “A fixture on Nashville’s indie singer-songwriter scene” by Rolling Stone. It’s been over 4 years since she’s released a solo project, but when you hear her newest record Road Less Traveled, you’ll know it was worth the wait.
After an entire summer of recording plans with an outside producer had fallen through, Alyssa turned to her boyfriend Graham Whitford for guidance on what was the best way forward for the songs she so much believed in. They decided to call long time friend and engineer Mark Petaccia to see if he was available to help record at his studio Petti Sound in Berry Hill. By a simple twist of fate, he had 7 days free.
Her closest friends and family who are all a part of the Nashville underground music community decided to come together and help her create Road Less Traveled without the help of a label and purely for the love and support of their friend. The entire album was recorded live, produced by Alyssa & Mark Petaccia, Mastered by Richard Dodd and executive produced by Karen Whitford. Alyssa showcases her multi-instrumental talents by playing acoustic guitar in her signature open tunings, Piano, Ukulele, Lap Steel, Electric guitar, Bass, B3 and Harmonica. She’s backed by Graham Whitford, Caleb Crosby, and Noah Denney (3/4ths of Tyler Bryant & The Shakedown), String arrangers and players Eleonore Denig and Molly Cherryholmes (Mountain Heart), Kevin McGowan, Tarka Layman, fellow artist and songwriter Davis Naish, and her father Michael Bonagura on Electric guitar.
Road Less Traveled showcases Alyssa as a solo artist in her truest form to date and shares the journey of finding her own voice and paving her own path as an independent Country artist. It encompasses elements of early Sheryl Crow mixed with Joni Mitchell like vocals. You'll hear so many iconic female influences on this project. Alyssa blends them all extremely well to come up with a sound that is familiar in its harkening back to the greats from multiple decades, yet completely unique and unlike anything else one would hear today. Road Less Traveled comes out for pre-order 8.19.16 and will be available 9.23.16.