In Conversation With Bonander As She Challenges Gender Norms With New Track
Swedish artist Bonander challenges gender conformity with her new freedom song ‘Quit Everything And Become A Princess’.
In a friendly chat with us, she reveals an interesting story involving anonymous graffiti in Copenhagen that inspired the name of the song, tells us about her journey from jazz to pop music and more…
What is the inspiration and message behind ‘Quit Everything and Become A Princess’?
It’s mostly about gender expectations. About the expectation to act a certain way just because you’re born a certain gender. When you break away from all these expectations, norms and obligations, and just about being what you want to be. It’s like a freedom song!
Is it based on personal experiences or does lean more towards a piece of creative liberties?
It’s both actually. Of course, it’s a lot of things I relate to as a woman but it’s also for other people that feel the same way?
The name of the song – ‘Quit Everything And Become A Princess’- that’s quite a unique name! Very quirky and intriguing. How did you come up with it?
Well, you’re going to get a bit of an exclusive behind the scenes scoop here! The phrase was actually scribbled on a wall in Copenhagen. I saw it and thought it would be a perfect song title. The song just came out of me so fast after that. I googled it, because I wondered if it a title for something else. But no, it wasn’t, I couldn’t find anything. So some person just gave me that title. Thanks whoever you are!
How would you describe your sound? Would you say it’s evolved over time?
I think dramatic is a good word. And I like to mix it with technical, digital synth sounds and add some acoustics in there as well. I like tension. I like to experiment with different sounds and make a few weird noises in my songs. So my music is alternative, dark and dramatic stuff, I guess. As for how its evolved, I came from jazz originally, so I would say its evolved to some kind of my own version of pop.
From jazz to dramatic pop, that’s quite a big evolution. Is there something particular that prompted the change?
I think I’ve always wanted to write the music I’m doing now, I just didn’t have the courage to do it. Traditional jazz has many rules and it was very frowned upon to write and play genres like pop, in those circles. Pop is considered ‘too easy’ within the jazz circles. It was only a matter of time before I made the jump. I always wanted to do it and when I finally started there was no looking back.
Who would you say are your musical influences?
There’s so many! There are so many- women especially- that inspire me. The common thing between them is that are all so obviously doing things they love!
Do you think your Swedish roots still play an important role in the music you write today or did move away as you moved away from jazz music?
My father is a jazz musician and my mother is a classical one, so the jazz music can never move away from me. Jazz will always have a big place in my heart, and the same goes for my Swedish roots. You have music that your parents get you into and you have music that you discover on your own. And that’s the mix, my music is currently.
You called ‘Quit Everything And Become A Princess’, a freedom song. Name another, you’ve recently heard, is a song with a similar message?
I would have to say, ‘Delirious’ by Susanne Sundfor. It’s a great freedom song!
What’s something in life that you wish you could break free from, besides gender constraints?
I think you want to break away from everything that holds you back. A feeling that you’re not good enough- if can you get a release from worrying about other people think about you. Both as a musician and as a person and just do your own thing, that would be nice.
With me, it took time to break away from jazz because I afraid what others would think of my sound. You always hear opinions from everywhere, so just a release from everything holding you back would be nice once in a while.
Finally, what’s a memorable moment in your career so far? And what’s next for you?
When I released my first single- which was truly my own song and my own production. You’ve done everything yourself and proved everybody wrong. That was a great feeling!
For the future, I’m going to be releasing my first EP, ‘It’s A Girl‘ due on 23rd March 2018. I’m really excited about that. And I’m also hoping to have a few live performances.
In celebration of International Women’s Day, the video for ‘Quit Everything And Become A Princess’ was released. Give it a watch below: