Profile Feature: Gerard Bonner
Noted Work: Co-founder and Associate Editor of Gospelflava.com , hosted an entertainment news segment called “The Gospel Beat” in various markets, served as a radio personality at Rejoice 100.9 radio for 5 years, which also received Stellar Award nominations during his tenure. Launched Bonnerfide Radio in September 2009, which is a 2010/2011 Stellar Award nominated Internet Radio station and airs 24 hours a day/7 days a per week. Winner of the 2o10 GMWA Crystal Mic Media Award, 2011 Central South Distribution REACH Anouncer’s Achievement Award, and honoree at the InSight For Initiative Inc. Genius For Men Honors. Bonner has hosted a myriad of industry events and is hosting the Bonnerfide Radio Anniversary Party for the 3rd year during this year’s Stellar Awards Weekend.
Gerard Bonner has been involved in the Gospel music industry for 15 years. He has been able to blaze a trail in the Internet Radio medium garnering over 1 million downloads of Bonnerfide Radio broadcasts and paving the way for independent artists to be placed on an equal playing field with major artists. He is one of five co-founders of GOSPELflava.com and continues to build the legacy of the site, while also establishing Bonnerfide Radio as a mainstay in the world of radio. Bonnnerfide Radio provides a variety of music, life enrichment programming, and partners internationally bridging the gap between America and the UK with God inspired music. We caught with him to get his take on Stellar Awards weekend and what he thinks artists, and those breaking into the industry should know.
GOSPELflava.com: Where are some places that you think new artists/musicians should be during Stellar Awards weekend?
Gerard Bonner: Stellar Awards weekend is a time when everyone that you need to connect with in the Gospel music industry are extremely accesible. It’s a great place to be for up and coming artists. The Urban Soul Cafe event will happen on Thursday and Saturday Nights. It’s a great place for independent and major artists to be. On Friday night you have the Stellar Awards Pre-Show, which is a free event and a great place to meet publicists, managers, executives etc. They should definitely consider the Bonnerfide Radio Anniversary party. It’s a different style of showcasing great up and coming and established talent. Anyone you can think of in the industry may be there, and you also get to enjoy some of the industry’s hottest artists. The Stellar Radio Awards is a great place to be because you have the who’s who in Gospel radio at that event. It’s a key place to meet and become more familiar with those that will be intergral in the success and visibility of an artist.
GOSPELflava.com: What would you say executives are looking for when considering new artists?
Gerard Bonner: Presentation is extremely important. You have to make every opportunity to market yourself count. Clear communication of your message and purpose are essential. They want to know that you are able to market yourself, are business savvy, and have a fan base. Do you have a following? Are there people around you that believe in your vision? I would suggest that new artists know their venue and audience when given a chance to showcase their talent. It’s important to know who you are trying to connect with and how to most effectively do it. Making sure that one’s recording material is physically and musically aesthetic is key. For example, if a radio personality or executive is handed a demo that has no contact infomation, or looks poorly constructed, it is a direct reflection of the artist. Being nice and not overly aggresive is always a plus as well as being able to effectively network. It’s important to build relationships with people that are influential in the way that you are looking to be. One’s personal interactions play a huge role in how they are received when considering their talent. Follow up is also very important. Know who you are talking to, what they do, and how they fit into yourin your network as an artist.
GOSPELflava.com: Tell us what you enjoy about The Stellar Awards weekend and Nashville.
Gerard Bonner: Over the years I definitely have enjoyed The Stellar Awards taping. I particularly like the things that typically do not get to air. There are lots of great perfomances, tributes, and lots of folks coming together in a positive way. My favorite event during the Stellars weekend is the BMI Trailblazer’s of Gospel Music Awards. There are groundbreaking perfomances and some great moments happen during that event. It’s one of my all time favorite events. Some of the ancillary events that happen are also great. Last year there was a great concert featuring independent artists as well as some labels that host showcases of the artists on their roster. The Stellar Awards weekend provides an opportunity for the gospel music community to come together and celebrate one another. When it comes to food in Nashville I enjoy Monell’s and Pancake Pantry, you even run into folks there!
GOSPELflava.com: Tell us about one of your best Stellar Awards memories.
Gerard Bonner: In 2009 Donald Lawrence won the “Artist of the Year” award and he decided to sow his award into the life of Tye Tribbett. Kirk Franklin followed up with some amazing words of encouragment and spoke about how people hold on to things and how they don’t let those things go. These events seemed to be the catalyst for catapulting Donald Lawrence in a different direction. After that we were introduced to the amazing project “The Law Of Confession” and other ventures that have distinguished him as such a successful example in this industry. Those events also seemed to shift the direction of the Gospel music industry. Then there was the spawning of social networking, which made room for new people and new ideas. We now see more new and an ecclectic array of artists being given a platform.
We hope you were able to grab some great points from our chat with Gerard Bonner. We have a few more profiles on the horizon as we gear up for the 2012 Stellar Awards on January 14th, 2012 in Nashville, Tennessee. Keep checking in on the site for more.