From the fashion at Forever 21 to Bruno Mars to all those reboots, the ’90s are back. There is no denying that, especially when you hear Bonita Jalane‘s stellar throwback “Retro.” The song comes from her inner essence. She notes, “My style is so retro. No matter how I’m feeling, what I wear or what the trends are I will always be true to how I feel and what that looks like thru my fashion. Imma vibe.”
A self-professed storyteller happy to narrate her story to listen, she’s about to drop the video for “Retro” that’ll have you saying, that’s da’ bomb. Before that, see what she had to say about the song, video and what’s to come.
The idea of gender was something I’d never even considered until it came up in a college course. The following year, Gender and Women’s Studies was my minor. So diving into the topic in the musical realm was quite the experience with Sweden’s own Bonander. Her latest single, “Quit Everything and Become a Princess” dives into gender expectations and finding the release from them. Speaking of release, the single’s out now but Bonander’s EP, It’s a Girl, will be dropping March 23rd. She also let us know that she has some things brewing for later in the year. While you stay tuned for what’s to come, check out more on what Bonander had to say about the single, musical theatre and more.
Kendra: What artist had affected your life in the same way you hope to affect others with your music?
Bonander: So many. I would say Björk, or Laleh, or Anna von Hausswolff, or Radiohead, or Susanne Sundfør, or Joni Mitchell, or Kate Bush, or Regina Spektor, or Sigur Ros…please don’t make me choose!
Kendra: When I first heard “Quit Everything and Become a Princess” I was like, oh hell yeah! That seems great but then I listened and the song actually has real depth to it. It’s about having that release from gender expectations. For women, what do you feel are the major expectations we have that need to be dismantled?
Bonander: Wow, I could write an essay about this question but I will try not to. I think that one of the greatest problems is how women often have so high expectations for everything we do. Not only do we need to care for our looks like there’s no tomorrow, we also need to be perfect socially and intellectually to make it. We are not allowed to make mistakes, be human and have faults without being called this or that and judged instantly. That is quite exhausting sometimes. And that’s what the song is about. To actually just be a princess, no matter how much makeup you’re wearing or how perfect your social life is. Our faults are what make us princesses.
Kendra: You’ve said you often feel trapped by gender. Are there any Swedish gender expectations that may differ from elsewhere in the world?
Bonander: Hmm, I would say no. I think that we are exceptionally good at talking about this stuff in Sweden. Which makes you very aware about how much your life is affected by it, which is good for most of the time but sometimes you just want to let it all go and fall into a blissful obliviousness.
Kendra: Out of left field, but your voice has this very opera style to it at times. Have you ever considered musical theatre?
Bonander: Haha I actually laughed out loud at this one. Don’t get me wrong, musical theatre has a very special place in my heart. I just feel busted, because I started singing in a musical group when I was very young, so that’s where it all started! But I think I’m good for now actually.
Kendra: If you had to make a mixtape of artists who take gender and do away with it and make a mixtape of their music, what five songs would be on it?
When the year boils down in December it’s easy to forget what you cared about when it was still fresh at the start. That will not be the case when I think back to my favorite songs, especially since Kareen Lomax‘s “Been in Love” has already dug itself deep into my core. Penned in the suburbs of Georgia, Kareen’s interpretation of an emotion we all know a little something-something about hits you, flips you and leaves you wanting more. Thankfully an album is one the way. We talked about that, single life and more.