Nina Ferraro taught herself to play guitar at 9, and took on the moniker BONZIE by 17. Now 21, the Chicago-based songwriter has no plans to slow down. After recently emerging with two singles, ‘As The Surface Rose’ and ‘How Do You Find Yourself, Love?’, she’s back with her second album, Zone on Nine released May 19th.
Produced by Ferraro, in collaboration with Jonathan Wilson (Father John Misty, Conor Oberst) and Ali Chant (Perfume Genius, Youth Lagoon), she travelled as far as England to record pieces of Zone on Nine. A songwriter by nature, the young artist focuses on the humble honesty of music, with little attempt to make it about her. Hence, the stage name of BONZIE.
Known for her organic-sounding riffs mixed with otherworldly vocals that debuted in her first album, 2013’s Rift Into The Secret of Things, BONZIE features a similar collision of textures in Zone on Nine. A kaleidoscopic sound with hints of the orchestral transcendence and a synth-pop promise of a violin; the tune leaves you questioning what you’ve heard and where it could possibly have taken place.
‘Combback,’ the third song on the album, features a sad and eerie plucking of guitar merged with a whine of a violin that can only be described as early noughties Charmed – if you know, you know. Dark and mysterious beneath Ferraro’s antithetically soft, folk-esque tones lightening the piece; a celestial melody atop a rainy day. Once luring you into security, a sudden drum beat hits the backtrack of the pastoral song and brightens it dramatically, almost the sun beating down through the rain clouds. Closely following ‘Combback,’ the fourth song on the album, ‘Everybody Wants To’ questions the morality of the everyday man. A slight shadow to her vocals creates a harmonious upbeat tune that juxtaposes the thought-provoking lyrics, preventing comfort as you listen to her warn you. “It’s my way of trying to understand the world,” Ferraro says of her music, which has previously been featured by The New York Times.
Ferraro’s melodic voice is Disney-Princess-perfect, innocent and sweetly deceiving to the tones she chooses to use in her work. Dark lyrics and clandestine hints at the world’s drawbacks fill her songs, whether by lyric or by backtrack. She surpasses this world in a way that feels almost alien, but it’s so much more appealing than Earth; her warble could lure millions to Mars – or to her Zone on Nine.
Written by: Megan Matthews