Singer-songwriter, producer and multi-instrumentalist Alyssa Bonagura got her start in music early, recording a duet with Kenny Rogers aged just 10. Since then, she’s been part of the duo The Sisterhood Band before branching out as a solo artist. She released her debut album, ‘Love Hard’, back in 2012 before the follow-up, ‘Road Less Traveled’, in 2016. Now she’s back with her latest EP ‘Fly With Me’.
The five-song collection opens with the title track, which features a brief section of distortion before leading into a sparse arrangement that’s layered up with click tracks underneath Bonagura’s slightly husky vocals. I liked the dreamy, yearning feel of the song and there’s a richness and warmth in her delivery that particularly stands out on the soaring chorus. Bonagura also delivers some impressive long, drawn-out notes towards the end of the song and the song’s poppy touches add to its hopeful vibe.
One thing which stands out to me on the EP is the variety of styles Bonagura employs on each track. ‘Jealous’ is a playful, tongue-in-cheek number with a sharp, funky groove and some lively vocal tricks from Bonagura, as well as some soulful elements and a summery vibe that seems made for dancing around the living room. Elsewhere, the gentle, cinematic ‘One Kiss’ is packed with details like references to confetti from a Coldplay concert and has a yearning, wistful feeling enhanced by the lush strings and the big note Bonagura hits towards the end.
For me the highlight of the EP is ‘FOMO’ (which stands for ‘fear of missing out’). The nostalgic, piano-led track sees Bonagura opening up about what might have been with a former lover, and has some brilliant lyrical touches including the reference to London’s Albert Bridge – perhaps unsurprising from Bonagura, who’s been a frequent visitor here in recent months, performing at C2C and Highways Festival. Its stripped-back feeling really brings out the raw honesty in her lyrics and her emotional, touching delivery absolutely tugs at the heartstrings.
The project closes with ‘Know You Better’, an acoustic number which puts the emphasis on Bonagura’s high, sweet vocals and heartfelt lyrics as she sings about wanting to learn everything about a new partner. It’s simple but incredibly powerful and you believe every word that comes out of the speakers as she draws you into the song.
Overall ‘Fly With Me’ is a great release from Alyssa Bonagura, showing off her songwriting talents and attention to detail as well as her diverse influences and the depths of her vocal range. She’s been winning over plenty of fans here in the UK with her music and this seems set to draw even more people to her sound, especially if you’re already into singer-songwriters like Michelle Branch. I’m really excited to hear more from her in future and can’t wait to see where she goes next.
Track listing: 1. Fly With Me 2. Jealous 3. FOMO 4. One Kiss 5. Know You Better Record label: Extreme Music Release date: 2nd June 2023