Q: I absolutely love everything about “Ariel”; the lyrical content, catchy melody, and your vocals. Can you walk me through your creative process in making this track?
Bonnie The Planet: With Ariel, it was an interesting process for me because I produced the beat for it right at the time I began truly finding my “sound”. It was certainly a turning point for me, because before I made the beat for this track I had been mostly writing alt-pop ballads basically. Really sad stuff. Which is great, don’t get me wrong. I love sad stuff. But I needed something fresh and new. Something that was still sad, but juxtaposed by something. For me, I became really interested in the idea of collocation and playing with light and dark. At the time I had recently been fascinated by cello samples and the sound of a live cello in general; just how versatile the instrument can be. So I decided to start there, and just started layering and layering until I found a sound I really liked. Lyrics usually came to me non-linearly, but honestly, I can’t remember if I wrote the hook or verses first for Ariel. I knew I wanted dark lyrics over a more playful beat. When the track was finished, it really sounded like something I would actually listen to, which excited me.
Q: “Ariel” has so many different elements: pop, rock, indie, alternative, etc. In your own words, how would you describe the music you typically create?
Bonnie: I think the closest category I can squeeze into would be Alternative Pop. My work isn’t exactly mainstream-adjacent, but isn’t exactly “indie” either. Growing up, my parents had me listening to a lot of Red Hot Chili Peppers, Pearl Jam, and Roots Reggae like Bob Marley and Peter Tosh. So though my style now is more inspired by alternative music like Lorde, Dominic Fike and Jean Dawson, for example, those early melodies I was exposed to at so young certainly find their way into my production and songwriting.
Q: If you could collaborate with any artist, who would it be?
Bonnie: Fiona Apple. Fiona is seriously the coolest person in the universe in my eyes. She taught me it was okay to feel everything. All at once. She’s my comfort music. I listen to her all the time. Maybe I’m borderline obsessed with her which is embarrassing but whenever I feel like I’m feeling something that can’t be explained, she makes me feel seen and heard.
Q: Did any real-life events inspire “Ariel”?
Bonnie: Definitely. All my work is real-life inspired, unless I’m actively playing a character. Even then, though, parts of myself subconsciously find their way into that role. For Ariel, the song is fundamentally about that feeling you get when you’re watching the world around you and you understand that you have to participate in it in a very specific way that doesn’t necessarily align with your own internal ecosystem. And making sense of that. I’m constantly wondering if the people around me think the same way as me, or if there’s something about me that’s “wrong” in some way. But then I think, what if everyone else is thinking that too, but they’re just hiding it better than I can. When I get into these intrusive thought loops I start to isolate myself from the world. I made Ariel when I was in one of those isolation periods.
Q: I could be completely wrong, but the last little part of “Ariel” has a similar feel to The 1975’s “Chocolate”. Who are your biggest musical influences?
Bonnie: It’s funny you say that because The 1975 was and is one of my most beloved bands. Chocolate was actually the first 1975 song I’d ever heard, and I was in middle school at the time, and I just remember thinking… “What the hell is that? I want more of that.” It’s interesting too because I hadn’t noticed the similarity between Ariel and Chocolate until one of my friends pointed it out in passing after I had already submitted it for release. And I was like, “Wait… you’re kinda right.” I’d originally thought the song was more inspired by bands like HAIM, as I had been listening to a lot of their work at the time and was/am extremely into their sound. Either way, The 1975 has always inspired me to push boundaries and genre-bend however and whenever I so please, and that you can be respected while doing that. Matty is insane with melody and lyrics, and I mean, the fact you even noticed a similarity between him and I at all is seriously the greatest compliment ever.
Q: What was the best piece of advice you’ve received about the music industry?
Bonnie: Whew. I’ve been blessed to have received a lot of great advice from a lot of great people. The statement I’ve heard that has stuck itself to my brain the most would probably be “There’s a difference between music and an artist.” I didn’t exactly know how to feel about that at first. Was I doomed to conform to some industry standard with my looks, style, and overall appeal and was that somehow more important than the music itself? I’d love to think not. I consider myself an artist because I make art. And for me, that’s it. I write scripts for films, I write poetry and I write songs. I’m a 4w5 INFP, so I tend to be more comfortable expressing my creativity in smaller ways where I’m not the center of attention… I’d rather let my work speak for itself. But this industry is honestly gonna be a tricky one for me, because what you’re really selling is identity, not just the art. Sometimes I wonder if my personality is too introverted for this stuff. But then I think again, there are so many other people like me. I have an identity too. What I want to make is anthems for those people.
Q: Parting words to your fans?
Bonnie: For anyone out there who is a bit closed off from the world, I want you to know I’m one of you too. And I want to create music that you can feel. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely LOVE extroverts (and ambiverts) and I hope they really feel my music as well. You guys are human butterflies of the world and seriously make my heart flutter with joy. So don’t think you’re not included. Basically, I want to make music for anyone who feels, even just sometimes, that they are attached to moments, not always to people. And I feel like that’s everyone to some degree. If you’ll have me, I’d love to begin this journey with you.
Q: What’s next for you? Tours, new music?
Bonnie: After my debut single “Ariel” comes out June 24th, I plan on releasing a few more singles incrementally that I’ve been working on to more holistically showcase my sound. As for that as well as future live performances, you can always follow me on Instagram at @snoobyroll and on TikTok at @bonnietheplanet to stay updated 🙂 feel free to reach out about anything and everything.
Interviewed by Melissa Cusano
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