It's no secret that Deni Bonet can rock a violin like nobody's business. Or that she writes memorable songs that make you want to listen again and again and again. Deni Bonet is, simply, a musical total package.
Deni Bonet's talent, combined with her boundless energy, does not have a limit. Watch her perform and you'll quickly understand why; she's a whirling dervish; a streak of aural and visual lightning wielding a violin bow. Dynamic and personable, she makes a concert hall become intimate and cozy. At the same time, don't expect to sit back on your laurels and just watch - a Deni Bonet show is a total experience in which you'd better be ready to have fun, participate and dance. Are you surprised that she has such an enormous following on Facebook (4300+ followers) and Twitter (20K+) - and that her YouTube channel is so popular (more than 100K views for the song "One In A Million" alone)? One glance, one listen - fact: you're hooked.
For years, Deni Bonet has been honing her craft as a virtuoso violinist, singer, songwriter and performer. And anyone who’s heard her last few albums, especially the fiery, funny and fabulous Last Girl On Earth, and 2013’s It’s All Good, knows that Ms. Bonet brought something extra special to the table. On It’s All Good, Bonet was joined by an array of high-profile collaborators including R.E.M.’s Peter Buck, Fred Schneider of The B-52s, Pete Kennedy, John Wesley Harding, Wings drummer Steve Holley, Young Fresh Fellow/R.E.M. associate Scott McCaughey, and even Broadway star Mary Testa. She turned to another well-known name, former Bongo frontman and baroque pop savant Richard Barone, to produce the album.
It's difficult to try and describe - or unnecessarily, classify Deni's music – her tastes and styles range from pop to roots-rock to traditional folk to high voltage rock and roll.
Raised in Northern Virginia, Bonet first came to widespread attention as a founding member of National Public Radio’s premier music show, Mountain Stage, where she built a following as a member of the broadcast’s house band; singing and playing in her own right and backing up artists as diverse as the Indigo Girls, Richard Thompson and Allen Toussaint. In the nineties, Bonet relocated to London, where she worked with alternative rock legend, Robyn Hitchcock, including a series of concerts as a duo that won praise from USA Today, The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Boston Globe. She played on Hitchcock’s album Moss Elixir, and even appeared in the Jonathan Demme concert film, Storefront Hitchcock, but eventually decided it was time to go solo.
Moving to New York, Bonet released an initial EP (titled, simply, ‘EP’) and then her full-length debut, Bigger Is Always Better, which hit the streets on an unintentionally inauspicious date: Sept. 10, 2001. The disc, which featured guest appearances from Hitchcock and The Soft Boys’ Kimberly Rew (writer of Katrina and the Waves' classic hit Walking On Sunshine), garnered rave reviews. The Boston Globe’s Jim Sullivan said “’Sunshine’ … may be the sexiest, sauciest, most life-affirming song of the year,” while All Music Guide gave the album a four-star review and labeled it “a glorious, intelligent hookfest.”
Bonet has hosted her own cable TV show, Duets With Deni, a combination of music and chat featuring a series of all-star guests, which was the subject of a rave Billboard feature. She has performed highly-regarded showcases at CMJ and SXSW, and took her act on the road with Lilith Fair. And she's remained one of the most in-demand session players and sidewomen around, adding her violin to albums by an impressive variety of artists -- from the introspective Sarah McLachlan to techno-metal band Gravity Kills -- and making TV appearances on The Today Show, SNL and Late Night With Conan O’Brien.
With a singular sound The Wall Street Journal calls “Sheryl Crow meets The B-52s,” it's clear why Bonet traded her black recital duds for a pair of go-go boots and an electric blue violin. Rather than ply her trade in an orchestra, she’s found a way to fit her string skills into ultra-hummable alternative pop, which the Journal noted is "catchy as any Top 40 radio song, but with occasional hints of adult depth."
As she established herself as a solo act, Bonet impressed artists like Patti Smith, Lisa Loeb, Gin Blossoms, Cracker, Midnight Oil, The Saw Doctors, Fairport Convention, Marshall Crenshaw and The Beautiful South, all of whom have invited her to open their shows. She spent several years touring the globe as the violinist in Cyndi Lauper’s band and she's performed for President Barack Obama at the White House - now, how much better can it get than that?
But as all good artists should do – and Deni Bonet is no exception – the idea is to grow and show a scope, broader and more expansive than the listener should expect. So it should be no surprise to anyone that Deni has taken her talent as a musician and composer to an even higher plane. One listen to Deni’s newest album, Bright Shiny Objects, and you’ll know this particular record takes on a completely different life and direction.
Recorded in NYC with the cream of New York musicians, including Liberty DeVitto (Billy Joel's drummer of 30 years), Graham Maby (Joe Jackson), Shawn Pelton (SNL, Rod Stewart), Will Lee (Letterman, MIck Jagger), Steve Holley (Paul McCartney), Ben Butler (Chris Botti) and Matt Beck (Matchbox 20), this is her first all-instrumental album and shows off Deni's skills as a virtuoso violin player, composer and arranger.
Carnegie Hall virtuosity intertwined with a rock-club vibe and intimacy. That doesn’t ring your bell? Try Yitzak Perlman playing lead for Nirvana. That should give you some notion that this artist has, indeed, brought something special to the table. Even without the vocals, you can hear the passion and emotion in Deni’s performances.
Here's what others think, so you'll know she's the real deal:
"Obviously a gifted musician, Bonet also shines as an emotive singer, and a writer of thoughtful, well-crafted songs ..."
David Malachowski, Daily Freeman
"…she’s a one-woman fireworks display with that instrument, exploding with amazing energy and skill in a manner that just demands you get up and dance."
John Davy, Flyinshoes Review
"I got a burst of Sunshine in the mail last weekend from Deni Bonet. If she’s not famous in the next year, the music business is worse than I’ve imagined”
Fran Fried, Music Editor, New Haven Register
So what does the future hold for Ms. Deni Bonet? A lot. This fine new album; appearing at any number of venues, either as a headliner or as part of some fabulous ensemble; doing live stream concerts from her living room; making her way across Europe to enlighten audiences and garner a whole new legion of fans - she can do it all and she does with a smile and a lot of heart. Oh, and with a ton of limitless talent.
With the outstanding Bright Shiny Objects, Deni has not only recorded her finest work to date. she’s also crafted an album that could make the words of Rolling Stone’s Rob Kemp – who said of Bonet, “She could be huge” – downright prophetic.