Dancehall-bred. Orchestrated like old soul. Driven by emotive vocals inspired as much by Feist as by Yolanda Adams. There’s a rawness to Bonjay: to the feelings, to the voice, to the sounds clashing. It sounds like something new. Bonjay is Alanna Stuart and Ian Swain of Toronto. Their debut Broughtupsy EP established them with praise from Dazed, The New York Times and The Guardian. This is not background music. From the first coo to the last wayward blip, it demands your full attention. The two have always been a blend apart, in spite—or perhaps because of—their differences. Alanna took her first musical steps representing her Jamaican Pentecostal church at youth gospel competitions. She then went through a brief R&B starlet phase in high school—releasing music under a shameful pseudonym—before her discovery of Canada’s indie scene led to stints singing backup for Bahamas, Feist, Arkells and others, and to her initial forays into producing and engineering. Ian took the road of the DJ/producer-turned-songwriter, evolving from throwing ecumenical dance parties in the attic of a Chinatown restaurant to teaching himself keys by playing along to Talking Heads, Steely & Clevie, and Minnie Riperton records. Their sound exists at the intersection of Alanna’s intuitive, character-driven songwriting and Ian’s passion for intricate arrangements around unconventional, real-world topics. It’s a deep, holistic partnership: Alanna and Ian co-write, co-arrange, co-produce, and co-mix every song. Bonjay’s full-length album, Lush Life (Mysteries of Trade), delivers on the promise of Broughtupsy. Following a self-imposed break from the public brought on by a period of intense creative exploration, Bonjay emerge a more formidable musical presence: stronger command of voice and body, more nuanced storytelling, greater depth of instrumentation. 

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