Alyssa Bonagura press photo

Exclusive: Alyssa Bonagura Discusses the Unique Creative Process Behind New ‘Love Wins’ EP

May 3, 2024 12:02 pm GMT

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Ahead of the arrival of her new EP, Love Wins, Alyssa Bonagura sat down with Holler to discuss the unique, innovative - and concise - creative process behind the project.

The much-loved Tennessee singer-songwriter has always been celebrated for her ability to lace a vibrant spectrum of emotions into her music, as she showcased on her previous full-length project, Road Less Traveled. Love Wins, though, carries an additional intensity and visceral quality, born from the fact that all five songs were crafted during a solitary day of recording at Nashville's Endure Studios.

Starting at 10am and hanging up the mic at 11pm, Bonagura teamed up with the writing and production team known as Hook Haus for a rip-roaring and highly fruitful day that saw every track completed in its entirety over the course of the session. Bonagura recalls how the building was fizzling with artistic endeavour and energy, as she'd flit between rooms, working on a song with one group of writers, before moving across the hallway to hone another offering from Love Wins.

“It's crazy, right?” Alyssa Bonagura reflects, “To be honest, I have been known to write a few songs in one day when I’m inspired! However, I’ve never done it on this scale where we had an entire team of people to help bring it all to life and finishing all my parts on the recordings in one day. When I walked in, they looked at me and said, ‘This day is all about Alyssa - we want to help write your story’. I was so excited because I’ve never really done that before in a camp like that. At previous camps, I’d written for other artists, so this was really special for me. We all sat down together and I told them about my story, what I’ve been through, where I am now and what general vibe we were going for and then we were all off to work”.

The country crooner expands, “There were three different studios and everyone was creating in different rooms, all walking around and working with each other. It was so much fun and really reminds me of my parents' house when I go home to Franklin. That’s how creative we are all the time together!”

Although some artists might've struggled to dig as deeply with this kind of time pressure looming, Alyssa Bonagura saw it as an opportunity to feel, express and dive into each song with an accentuated sense of focus and passion, “When you only have a certain amount of time and want to get a lot done, I do think you write differently. You think less, feel more and just let everything flow. It also makes a huge difference when you have a great team with wonderful energy to help it all come together and steer the direction - I think that’s what made it cohesive”.

Despite being just five songs long, Love Wins finds Bonagura showcasing the ease with which she combines disparate textures and moods, producing a project that feels unified and balanced. The listener experiences the defiant euphoria of ‘No Stoppin’ This Train’, which serves as Bonagura's new mission statement as she storms back into her solo career, before being guided through the vulnerability of ‘Never Alone’, an intricate musing on her best friend's passing.

She touches on how ‘Never Alone’ was crucial for her grieving journey, “It was so cathartic to write. Music is so healing. This was the last song of the day, I started playing this beautiful, big piano that was in the back room and started chatting to one of the writers, Jay Denton, about losing my friend and it kind of just came out. I thought that if I could hear him up in Heaven, that this is what he would be saying to me, and all his loved ones who miss him every day down here on earth”.

Throughout it all, there's a refreshing undercurrent of positivity and optimism, epitomised on the keystone of Love Wins - the title-track. Penned in light of another horrifying school shooting in Nashville, it carries a dark, brooding ambience, before Bonagura launches into the triumphant battle-cry of the chorus.

“I love uplifting people with my music”, Bonagura warmly underlines, “‘Love Wins’ felt like the perfect title to set the stage of this EP, and how I hope it makes you feel when you listen to it. I had been wanting to write something with that title for a while because I feel that phrase holds so much power in it. After the school shooting in my hometown, we were all so devastated and talking about it that morning - what can you even say after something that terrible happens? When words fail us, music speaks and that’s what we tried to do with this song”.

Excitingly, Alyssa Bonagura concludes with a hint as to what fans can expect from her forthcoming album, “I loved working with Hook Haus and I’m sure we will work together again in the future. As for a full-length record, it’s in the mixing stages as we speak! I had been working on it and producing it myself for the last three years and decided to completely start over at the beginning of this year. I wanted everything to be recorded live in the studio with the help of some of the most incredible musicians of Nashville, and so that's what we did this January. It’s definitely what's coming next after this EP - and I can’t wait for everyone to hear it”.

Love Wins is a reminder of Alyssa Bonagura's songwriting prowess and her evocative, infectious country-pop fusion, with the EP acting as the perfect appetiser for her loyal fanbase as they look keenly ahead to her Road Less Traveled follow-up - and a summer of high-profile 2024 festival appearances, including a hotly anticipated set on the Holler Stage Takeover at Black Deer next month.

For more on Alyssa Bonagura, see below:

Written by Maxim Mower
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