Bonnie Gordon is an actor, voice actor, and musician extraordinaire. Having previously been a Starfleet ensign at Star Trek: The Experience in Las Vegas, she now voices the ship’s computer on the animated series Star Trek: Prodigy. And as part of the Library Bards musical comedy duo, she sings pop culture songs rewritten with nerdy lyrics, from Spider-Man to the Princess Bride. Now she’s back on Kickstarter to crowdfund a solo jazz album, Con Artist, which will blend cover songs with her own original compositions.
In this interview, Bonnie and I talk about what it’s like to be inducted into the annals of Star Trek canon and to continue the legacy of Majel Barrett-Roddenberry; her brief stint reading for Kate Mulgrew’s character of Captain Kathryn Janeway; her creative method for writing parody songs; what motivated her to pursue a solo album, and musicians she’ll be collaborating with; and the defining moments in her life that she hopes to capture in song with Con Artist.
This episode is a collaboration with the Transporter Lock podcast, where it can also be found as episode #84.
Stream the audio edition of this interview below or from Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Google Podcasts, Amazon Music, Spotify, Overcast, Pandora, Pocket Casts, iHeartRadio, TuneIn, RadioPublic, or the Internet Archive. Click past the jump for a transcript and links to resources mentioned in this episode.
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- Con Artist on Kickstarter
- Bonnie Gordon
- Library Bards
- The Quest series coming to Disney+
- Dr. Erin Macdonald, Star Trek science consultant
- Star Trek: The Experience
- How to do a Fargo accent
- Women at Warp
- Grey Griffin (aka Grey DeLisle)
- Makeshift Circus Collective
Voiceover: Welcome to the Polygamer podcast, where gaming is for everyone. Join us as we expand the boundaries of the gaming community.
Ken Gagne: Hello, and welcome to the Polygamer podcast, episode number 119, and Transporter Lock, episode number 84, for November 29th, 2021. I’m your host, Ken Gagne. Two years ago, I backed a Kickstarter for an album by the Library Bards, a comedic musical duo consisting of Bonnie Gordon and Xander Jeanneret. The resulting album was a delightful mix of pop songs with lyrics rewritten to be about everything from Spider-Man to Firefly, The Princess Bride, to the Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers. Other than repeatedly recommending the album to all my friends, I hadn’t dug further into the Library Bards until just last month when half of the group, Bonnie Gordon, exploded across my newsfeed, not once, but twice.
Ken: First, Bonnie was back on Kickstarter crowdfunding a solo album, Con Artist, which of course, I immediately backed. Second, I co-host a Star Trek podcast, Transporter Lock, where we were excited for the recent debut of the new animated series Star Trek: Prodigy. And whose name should be in that show’s credits, but Bonnie Gordon as the voice of the ship’s computer on the USS Protostar. That’s when I discovered that Bonnie is an accomplished voice actor from cartoons to anime to video games such as Street Fighter V. She’s the kind of person I want to talk to on Polygamer and on Transporter Lock. So, join me in welcoming to both shows the actor and musician, Bonnie Gordon. Hello, Bonnie!
Bonnie Gordon: What an incredible intro! I am blushing. Wow!
Ken: Alas, it is an audio podcast, and we cannot see the blush.
Bonnie: Oh, it’s fine. Paint a picture. Paint a picture, darling. Use your imagination.
Ken: Well, Bonnie, you are such an effervescent individual. I have to remind myself that we’re not already great friends.
Bonnie: Oh, you know what though? Here’s the thing. When it comes to the nerd and geek world, especially when it comes to people that we interact with on Twitter, and social media all over. I feel like we’re just a bunch of nerds geeking out together, and friendship is pretty much that anyway. I feel closer to some of the people I interact with on Twitter than I do to some of my friends I see on a regular basis. So, the amount of FaceTime is irrelevant. I welcome our friendship with open arms.
Ken: Aw, thank you. So, I listed just a few of your impressive and diverse credits. I want to get into so many of them, but let me start by asking, what do you feel people most know you for? Is it Library Bards like how I discovered you?
Bonnie: Well, people first discovered me on a show called The Quest. It was a fantasy reality show on ABC, and it was on Netflix for a short time as well where they took a bunch of nerds and flew us to Austria, and we lived in a fantasy realm called Everealm, and we were all competing to be the one true hero and save the realm from the evil Verlox. I mean, I could go on explaining what the show was about, but let’s just say it was amazing. And if you haven’t seen it, go try and find it. I think it’s still on Amazon Prime and on the abc.com website, and streaming app. However, season two will be coming up on Disney+ sometime next year. So, that’s exciting. It’s such a fun show and it’s all about being a hero and being true to yourself.
Bonnie: I was on that show as one of the contestants, and that’s what started… It kind of jump started my career. I was already into performing and voiceover and theater and whatnot, but my career hadn’t really taken off until that show and finding just that really core fan base of nerds that propelled me to continue creating and pursuing something within the geekdom of life. So, yeah, I think I was first discovered on that. I think most people know me voiceover wise from Street Fighter V. That’s a pretty popular game with Capcom. Either that or the Fire Emblem. I think most people would recognize me from there. But obviously, my most amazing credit to date would be Star Trek: Prodigy. And that’s what a delight to finally be Star Trek cannon. I feel like I’ve been just hanging out in the shuttle bay for so long trying to get myself up onto the bridge, and now I finally made it.
Ken: It’s true. It’s true. You are the ship’s computer on the USS Protostar and you auditioned for that originally two years ago, and you didn’t find out until this year that you had gotten a part. Is that correct?
Bonnie: Yes. Well, it was such an incredibly long and tedious process because animation takes such a long time, and this show if you’re watching it at all, it’s so incredibly detailed and the animation is so beautiful. Because animation takes such a long time they started casting way before COVID happened. I originally got brought by the Hageman Brothers to do scratch for Gwen, and then later I even got to do scratch for Janeway. For those of you who don’t know what scratch is, they’ll bring in actors to read the lines of the characters before the actual more famous actors come in to lay down the actual tracks. That way the animators have something to animate to. It’s not just lines on a paper. It’s actually having an actor read it brings it to life.
Bonnie: So, I started doing scratch for Gwen and Janeway, and other random characters throughout the series. And throughout the time of me coming in through that process, they were looking to find a permanent role for me. And when the audition for the ship computer came about, I knew I would jump on that really quickly. So, I’m so grateful for them. I’m so grateful to Ben, the director, Brooke, the voiceover director. I mean the whole team. When I say it’s such a pleasure to work with them, I’m not just sucking up. I’ve never worked with such an incredible creative team like this, and everyone loves Star Trek in it. Everyone, even if they’re not… Even if someone in the team isn’t of full Trekkie, they still love the message behind Star Trek. I think now I can say everyone on the team loves Star Trek considering that I’m sure the whole cast is watching.
Ken: Do you get to actually work with your cast or are you all recording your parts separately and remotely?
Bonnie: With COVID, everything changed within the voice-over realm. It used to be, you could go into a studio and the entire cast would be there and record together. Now, everyone’s recording remotely from home. I’ve been lucky enough to go into the studio at Nickelodeon a few times, but it’s very rare, and I’m usually the only one there with just the audio engineer and everyone else is on a Zoom call. But for the most part, it’s all through Zoom from home in my bedroom. Every now and then you’ll hear my cat meow and we have to redo a take because… Or a car driving by, a plane flying overhead, and makes recording from home a little bit more stressful because there’s so much noise that you have to make sure to background noise and unless you have the space and the money for a full on studio booth in your home, you got to make do with foam on your walls and blankets on your windows, and that’s what… My bedroom is like a dark cave.
Ken: What kind of setup is that? Do you actually have a dedicated studio or do you just go into your closet and shut the door?
Bonnie: I don’t even go into my closet. I wouldn’t be able to fit into my closet. It’s just my closet is a very long hallway wall. So, it’s not very deep. It’s just very long. So, there’s no place for me to actually record in my closet. So, I have a corner in my room with soundproof foam along the wall, and up through the ceiling and then I have a blanket over my window to help with some of the sound coming through the bedroom window since I’m next to a busy street in North Hollywood where cars try and drag race. And then I just try and be as quiet as possible. I feed my cat precisely 15 minutes before a session so he won’t meow throughout asking for food.
Ken: And what is your cat’s name?
Bonnie: Illapa. He’s named after the Incan god of thunder and lightning, the Incan Thor.
Ken: Gotcha. So, you’re looking for a very quiet environment when you’re recording. I hope that the night Star Trek: Prodigy debuted was a little bit more raucus. Was there a big viewing at your house or a party that you were invited to?
Bonnie: Well, there was a premier party. I wasn’t invited, but that’s okay. There was a premier party that I think Paramount put on and with the core cast and the creative team. I was keeping track with that. I actually live, I was going to live tweet the show earlier in the evening, but then if you know of the wonderful, extremely intelligent Dr. Erin Macdonald who is the science consultant for most of Star Trek, she was in town. The night that Prodigy premiered, we were celebrating, and did our own little celebration. And then I ended up live tweeting it later after having slightly too many drinks with Dr. Erin, and it was a blast. I think I went back to those tweets and went, “Are these okay?”
Ken: So, how does it feel? I mean, you’ve seen and heard yourself in final works before, video games, anime, but how does it feel to be cannon in Star Trek, and to watch the cartoon and hear yourself as the ship’s computer?
Bonnie: Words can’t really describe it. I tend to ramble and talk a lot, and when you ask me to say how does it feel? I’m at a loss for words because it’s so overwhelming in the best way possible. Star Trek is such an important part of my life, and I’m such a fan of Star Trek. And to be for following in the footsteps of the legendary Majel Roddenberry is just… Again, I’m speechless. To hear my… One of the best compliments I get with when it comes to Prodigy is a lot of my friends have been tuning to watch, my friends and family, and they’re watching, and they’re getting lost in the story. They’re getting lost in the animation and the visuals and just the heart of it all.
Bonnie: And they’ll realize that a scene just passed where the computer was talking, and they’ll completely forget that that was my voice because they’re so into it, and they’ll have to rewind it and re-watch it and be like, “Oh yeah, that’s Bonnie.” But I think the best compliment for me, for my performance is that you don’t hear Bonnie speaking when you hear the computer. I mean, how horrible would that be if you’re just acknowledged? If you hear my weird cadence of a voice coming through like red alert, red alert. Thank goodness no one recognizes my voice as it. So, that’s been the coolest compliment to get is that we were watching and we completely forgot it was you, and they feel bad about it. And I go, “No, that’s, that’s a good thing. I want to feel a part of Star Trek. I want it to feel like I’m already part of the universe.” And you can imagine my voice as a computer within the universe.
Ken: Yeah. No, no, I totally get that. I used to sing in a men’s choir, and I once had somebody tell me, “Oh, Ken, your voice came through crystal clear.” And I’m like, “It shouldn’t because I’m in a choir. It was not a solo.” And so, if they were to recognize your voice, that’d be similar. You want to blend in to the world.
Bonnie: Exactly, exactly.
Ken: And two other ways in which you were made canon just this month on November 8th, you now have a Wikipedia entry.
Bonnie: I know. Someone made that for me. That was so sweet of them. I was so excited.
Ken: I mean, anybody could have made it at any point, but sometimes they get deleted. if the person is not “notable.” So, now you are notable, Bonnie.
Bonnie: I’m a notable
Ken: And even more important as of November 5th, you have an entry on Memory Alpha.
Bonnie: I didn’t know that. I’m going to go Google myself. This is great.
Ken: So, even before the Wikipedia page showed up, you showed up in the Wiki for Star Trek, and it was a little incomplete. I added some stuff to it today.
Bonnie: Thank you. Well, gee golly.
Ken: Well, they had somehow overlooked the fact that you were part of the closing cast of Star Trek: The Experience in Las Vegas.
Bonnie: I was back in 2008. Oh, man. I feel old.
Ken: No, I went to the Star Trek Experience back in ’98, and my heart is still broken that I can’t go back.
Bonnie: Oh, it was unlike anything. I mean, I could do an entire podcast just talking about the Star Trek Experience, but I won’t, I shan’t.
Ken: You should because it was wonderful, And you were a star fleet officer on the enterprise at the Experience, correct?
Bonnie: I was. I was only, I think 21, 22 at the time. I’m 35 now. Do the math, if you want. Or no, please don’t. Actually, don’t do the math. So, I was fairly young, and maybe 22, 23, who knows? Who cares at this point? And I looked really young as well. And so, I could never be a higher… I never really gotten very many pips. I was always an ensign on the bridge because I couldn’t look the part of a lieutenant commander, but no, it was so much fun. We all got trained in multiple roles, and I was the kind of person who would change my accent every show because it was an ongoing show where every 20 minutes a new audience would be walked through into the transporter room then onto the bridge, and through the turbo lift, all that. And I would change my accent every new show coming through, and I would get in trouble a little bit for that.
Ken: Not all the accents were appropriate for that era?
Bonnie: No, I think I remember doing… I think the one that got me in trouble the most was I was working as I think Ensign Thomas was the character I was playing or something. I don’t know. I don’t remember the names. Oh, this makes me sad. You’ve been on it before. But for those who haven’t, the listeners, you would get loaded into a room as if you were about to go onto a ride, kind of like a video simulation ride in your little lines. Kind of like a Disneyland where you’re in line waiting for a ride and then all of a sudden all the lights start flickering, and things start going crazy, and you don’t know what’s happening. And the lights go out and you hear the Transporter sound, and then the lights come back on and you’re completely different. You’re in a completely different room. You’re in the Transporter room, and it was done with a vacuum effect.
Bonnie: It was one of the coolest things ever, truly magical. The awe on people’s faces when the lights would come back on was just so fun to watch. But I got in trouble for doing the [Midwestern accent] “You are no longer in the year 2008, you’re in the future. Commander Riker, from transporter room, we’ve got them, sir. We got to get these people to the bridge,” and I got in trouble for that accent. I don’t know why. I mean, I have a feeling that the Midwest still exists in the future, right?
Ken: Well, you should not have gotten in trouble for that, especially because my Transporter Lock co-host is from Fargo and she would be delighted to know that that accent still exist in the future.
Bonnie: Oh, sure. Like you are no longer in the year 2008, and they were just looking at me like I was crazy. I’m exaggerating it now. I didn’t do it that thick. Oh, we got to get you to the bridge, don’t you know? Let’s go. Everybody get in line and… Oh, no, I sound like a caricature, but I would have fun with bringing different accents and voices and keeping the job entertaining for not just myself, but for my coworkers trying to get them to break character. So, probably not the best thing to do, but it was fun. It was a good time.
Ken: So, clearly that was you as a live action star fleet officer. Do you think we’ll see you live action in Star Trek again someday?
Bonnie: Oh, man. That is the dream. Again, I love the fact that Star Trek is so loyal to actors that play, especially character actors. Look at Jeffrey Combs, look at just some of the actors that have just played so many multiple characters throughout the series including Majel Barrett-Roddenberry. I mean, she was in it from the beginning, and a dream of mine would just be having the chance to audition for one of the live action shows, especially I love wearing prosthetics. I love special effects makeup. I would love a chance to play some kind of alien species. That would be just so much fun for me. And I do a lot of different voices and I would love to tackle doing a different alien language or something challenging like that. I just think it’s just so… Star Trek has so much different, I don’t know, opportunities for character actors that I’m hoping for the day to one day audition, if anyone out there listening.
Ken: And would you rather be in a more optimistic show like TNG, a darker show like DS9, and animated comedy like Lower Decks? What your preference?
Bonnie: Look, beggars can’t be choosers. Lets treated. Be real. I would take any anything, honestly. Just the opportunity to continue to play pretend in a universe that means so much to me. I mean, I think it would be so much fun to play a darker character too. A lot of people know me for comedy and for being that happy go lucky. I’m a very Ensign Tilly in real life as myself. So, I see people anytime discoveries on everyone texts or tweets at me saying, “Oh, you’re just like Ensign Tilly.” I’m like, “I know, but there’s more to me than Tilly.” So, I would love an opportunity to play something different that people haven’t seen me do before.
Ken: I feel like the lighter and happier a person is the scarier their Mirror Universe counterpart is going to be.
Bonnie: Exactly. Exactly, thank you. You are correct. I don’t even want to know what my Mirror Universe version of me is.
Ken: Oh, gosh, Mirror Bonnie. That is a terrifying thought. Do you have a favorite of the Star Treks that are on right now besides Prodigy?
Bonnie: Oh, man. I do love Discovery. I love the representation. I love how it’s very different from anything that we’ve seen before that Star Trek has done. And I’m just a huge fan of people like Anthony Rapp. So, to see him being such a success, it makes me very pleased, especially since he’s a fellow D&D nerd, shout out to my D&D folk, and just I love Lower Decks. I think it’s so funny. I’m so glad we have something like Lower Decks that really punches in as many little Easter eggs and inside jokes as possible. It’s really just, I almost feel like it’s like a love letter to Star Trek. It’s almost like Star Trek fan fiction in a way where they put in so many clever moments that everyone can enjoy it, but the true Trekkies, I mean, there’s layers to some of those jokes, and I just love that they really think it through. So, shout out to Mike McMahan for creating that show.
Ken: Yeah. Lower Decks is very nuanced. It moves very fast and it’s definitely a show designed for not just “true Trekkies” but long term Trekkies. People who have really absorbed these 800 episodes and are going to get the references. And sometimes there are ones that even go over my head.
Bonnie: And I was doing some re-watches throughout COVID, and stuff. So when Lower Decks came on, I was dying at some of the jokes because I had just re-watched some of the things that they were referencing. I was almost just like, “Am I being watched right now? Are they writing this for me because I feel like this is personal now.”
Ken: I got to say, “I hate to make you repeat yourself, but I listened to your Women at Warp Podcast, and you do an excellent Captain Janeway.
Bonnie: Oh, thank you. I think that was why I got lucky enough have to do scratch for her because doing someone like Janeway for the animators to really get her nuances, and her delivery, you have to have it read in a way that she would speak. So, I got to do my Captain Janeway, which is basically like Katherine Hepburn, but the captain of the USS Voyager. We’re going to do it. We’re going to go into space, and we’re going to have coffee, and everyone’s going to like it. It’s just a fun voice. Probably a little bit raspier than I normally do, but I just love Kate Mulgrew so much, so it was an honor getting to read her lines before she got to read them. I was like, “I love you so much. I’m passing on. Here’s your part.”
Ken: So, have you gotten to work with her on Zoom?
Bonnie: No, I wish. Oh, man, don’t I wish. I don’t even know if she knows who I am or if she knows I did scratch for her. I have a feeling she’s the kind of actress that can just walk into a booth and just read it and doesn’t need to hear any scratch or timing because she’s that perfect. So, Kate Mulgrew, if you’re listening, I adore you, and one day I shall give you a large hug with your consent.
Ken: I’m shivering here. It’s amazing. And also if you think about it, hologram Janeway, as she is credited in the opening sequence, holograms are an extension of the ship’s computer. So, you are Captain Janeway.
Bonnie: You are right. In a way, we’re all Captain Janeway in our own way. And there’s a little Captain Janeway in side of all of us, but I’m going to take that and go with it. Yes, Captain Janeway, and I are tight. I mean, the computer and I, although I did… I don’t… Spoilers if you’re not cut up with the five episodes that are out now, but I did… I loved the moment where she’s trying to access parts of the computer and I got to do a access denied, negative, access denied. She was just kind of like, “Come on.”
Ken: Wow! Not many people get to defeat Captain Janeway, but you are one of the few.
Bonnie: Exactly! Who has the power now, captain?!
Ken: Are there other Star Trek characters you impersonate?
Bonnie: Oh, gosh, I’ve never… I’m pretty sure I could probably do a decent Tilly, but I’d have to… With Janeway, when I knew that I was going in for scratch for her, I re-watched a lot of Voyager just to make sure I could get her timing, and her vocal range. So, I would have to probably go back and watch a few of anyone else I wanted to mimic. I love doing impressions, and voice matching. So, I’m sure if someone gave me homework, I could probably go copy a few others. I feel personality wise I do a pretty good Neelix.
Ken: Personality wise.
Bonnie: I’m always thought if ever I was in Star Fleet, I wouldn’t have much skills when it came to science and security, but a morale officer, oh, I could totally do that. I could do the morning announcements. And I’m also a horrible cook, which Neelix is too. So, I feel like we have a lot in common.
Ken: Well, I look forward to that Star Trek. I look forward to you in that role.
Bonnie: Neelix and I together again for the first time.
Ken: That’s right. Bonnie Gordon and Ethan Phillips on tour.
Bonnie: Oh, gosh.
Ken: So, let me ask you this. You’re playing the ship’s computer. And as you mentioned, it comes from a long legacy that starts with Majel Barrett-Roddenberry. And there have been a lot of ships computers over the years, her making up the majority of them, of course. There’s also a long history of in our own world ships being personified as female. And we also have things like Siri and Alexa and Cortana, which are all women’s voices. Is it problematic that we’re objectifying ships as women?
Bonnie: I don’t think so. I mean, the entire bridge crew in the original series besides Uhura was made up of men. So, it was nice to have a little female vocals on the bridge, but no I feel like it’s funny to me because you’re so right when it comes to Alexa and Siri and Google Voice, and computers in most, 2001 Space Odyssey being an exception, of course, with HAL, most are presented as female. And I feel like it’s because female vocals are a little bit less threatening.
Bonnie: I feel like it’s also maybe a little bit more smoother, more calming. If you had a female voice going red alert, red alert. And then you had a male voice going like, “Red alert, red alert.” Obviously, that’s not how a male computer sounds, but I feel like a female voice is more calming, more soothing. In the Resident Evil franchise when they made the computer the voice of that little girl, the AI was a little girl because having a little girl be the voice it makes it even that much, I guess, difficult to destroy it, if that makes sense, I don’t know. I mean, all for men voicing computers. I mean, don’t take mine away, but sure. Go into other franchises. Go have fun, and go play on ships, and be computers. You do you.
Ken: No, no, no. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to ambush you with that. I certainly didn’t mean to suggest that Star Trek needs more men.
Bonnie: What are you trying? No, I know. I was just kidding. I was really just kidding, but again you leave the Protostar out of this.
Ken: No, of course.
Bonnie: That ship is mine.
Ken: No, that that role is yours, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. That is a great role for you, and I look forward to playing more roles in Star Trek just like Jeffrey Combs.
Bonnie: [computer voice] “Acknowledged.” Yes, as do I. No, but yeah, I get what you’re saying. Most ships are presented female, but you also have to think. I think it’s men doing that as well. Because look at men in their relationships to cars and their boats. It’s usually always named a female name or like, “Oh, she’s a good girl. Mustang Sally or my boat Jenny.” Most men and women name their automobiles, their cars, their trucks, boats, I don’t know AC units. I don’t know, whatever, a female name. Like good girl, let’s go. I think trains are named more masculine names. I don’t know. Now, putting gender to inanimate objects, and I feel awkward, but you get what I’m saying? I feel like it’s actually like a part of society that when we put a name. When you get a new car it’s like, “Oh, are you going to name her?” A lot of people say that. My car is actually named Kermit, so take that.
Ken: I presume it’s green.
Bonnie: It’s lime green and it’s the size of a Tic Tac. It’s very small. So, it’s a little lime green Chevy Spark named Kermit Spark the third, and he’s a delight, and he gets me where I need to go, and he is a horrible ninja car because everyone sees him coming. He is bright green with Library Bard stickers slapped onto the back. So, now you know what I drive.
Ken: Well, speaking of Library Bards, I have a couple of questions for you about that as well.
Ken: As I mentioned in the opening, your BomBARDed album from the Library Bards has all these wonderful songs.
Bonnie: Thank you.
Ken: And I was also watching some of your music videos today, such as Hit Me With Your Best Shot, which of course you rewrote to be The Spock.
Bonnie: Of course.
Ken: And Gandolph, of course, by Taylor Swift. And I’m wondering, do you find a pop song, and ask yourself what pop culture nerd reference can we rewrite this to be about? Or do you start the other direction to say, “Let’s do a Lord of the Ring song. What pop culture song can we rewrite to be about that?”
Bonnie: It varies either way. When Xander and I first started the band, our first album, I had to think about what the first album was called. It’s called Bardcore. I’m like, “What’s our first album named?” Our first album was a lot of more popular hit songs more currently on the radio. For example like Shake It Off, X’s and O’s, Becky G’s Shower. Songs like that, that were a little bit more popular with current times, I guess. And our second album was more classic rock, ’80s, ’90s, everything like The Sticks, and AC/DC, and different bands like that. Aerosmith’s Dream On about Klingon.
Bonnie: So, when we first started the band it was, “Let’s write nerdy parodies.” We were coming up with different ideas. I think our first song we wrote was All About That Space to All About That Bass, and all of a sudden as we were recording it, all of these other parodies came out with the same idea and we were like, “Okay, got to think more outside the box.” I think that’s when Gandolph was made. And then it just went from there. We would take songs that we heard on the radio and we’re like, “Oh, I like this song. Can we sing this? Can it be in our key? Can we add harmonies?” And then we would think of different ideas.
Bonnie: I remember we thought of Imagine Dragons’ Radioactive and I was like, “I really like this song. It’s a fun song. What can it be about?” We thought about different fandoms and then that’s how it turned into, “My princess is captive, princess is captive,” which is a Super Mario link duet. So, yeah, it varies. There are certain things, certain fandoms that I really, really wanted to sing about, and couldn’t find a song that fit until a light bulb moment went off.
Bonnie: I remember we were all at a birthday party at a bar with music playing and we’re sitting there and The Killers’ Mr. Brightside comes on, and I looked over at Xander, and I started singing, it’s the princess bride. And I got so excited because I’ve been wanting to do a Princess Bride song, and I had no idea how to execute it. And that’s when the light bulb clicked. I think I wrote it the next day. So, we really write about things that we love. The Sailor Moon song Xander wrote. He’s a huge sailor moon fan. Princess Bride song I wrote. So, we take fandoms that we’re both very passionate about, and write them. And then a lot of the things that we’re both passionate about we’ll write together, or there are certain songs that I’ll start writing and then get stuck on a few lyrics and hand it off to Xander, and then he’ll start writing something and then hand it off to me, and where we get stuck and have that writer’s block the other will fix. So, it’s a really great collaboration that we do.
Ken: You do realize that for those of us who aren’t cool enough to be invited to birthday parties in bars, sometimes your parody is the first version of the song we will have heard.
Bonnie: Amazing. Wow, I’m honored if that was your first introduction to The Killers’ Mr. Brightside.
Ken: It was.
Bonnie: Wow! Okay. A lot of people think our Sailor Moon song, Moon Prison Power is an original because a lot of people aren’t familiar with Becky G’s Shower. And so, we’ll correct them if they ask, but if they don’t ask, we just go about our day. So, thanks Becky G for making us seem like we’re pop stars.
Ken: So, you have this wonderful collaboration with Xander for that album that came out two years ago, BomBARDed. Now you were back on Kickstarter for your own solo album.
Bonnie: Oh, boy.
Ken: You talk a little bit about this in your pitch video, but can you tell our listeners what motivated you to now do your own solo album?
Bonnie: Well, a lot of people know me as a comedy musician, and that’s totally fine, but I’ve been a singer. I’ve done musical theater all my life. Obviously, theater nerd, and got my start in Louisiana where I’m born and raised. So, blues and jazz has been a big part of my upbringing. I love to sing jazz. I love to sing blues, and I just don’t get the opportunity to do much of that. And I write a lot of original music that I just don’t really share a lot mostly because a lot of people get that imposter syndrome where you don’t really… It was scary. I was like, “Well, people know me for comedy. People know me for parodies. I’m just going to keep doing that because that’s worked.” COVID again put things into perspective for me. When everything locked down, everyone’s shut up in their rooms, and I had a lot of alone time in my own head, which is never good when you have ADHD, and I wrote a lot of new music, new songs, came up with a lot of new ideas for music.
Bonnie: We were on hiatus with Bards since most of our work with Library Bards is through the Comic-Con circuit and all of those were closed. So, we took a hiatus and focused on solo things. And then I had a health scare over the summer where doctors thought I might have cancer, and that was really scary. And luckily everything is okay. I still got to get checked every six months just to make sure everything stays that way. But it put a magnifying glass on my life and what I wanted to leave behind. When you have to look at your own mortality in the eye you’re like, “Okay, if I die tomorrow what am I leaving behind? What is my legacy, in a way?”
Bonnie: That’s so silly to think about, but as a creative person where really I feel like all of my being is creating in music, and comedy, and laughter, and different things about myself that makes me who I am. I was just like, “I have all of these original songs that no one’s heard.” Maybe now’s the time to do it. And so, that’s what motivated me to do the Kickstarter. I was blown away by the support. It’s always in a creative field, again, with the imposter syndrome, and all this it’s always so awkward, and so humiliating when you have to ask people for help, and ask for money.
Bonnie: I wish I was in a financial place to where I could do the album all by myself, and that’s just not the case. Being in entertainment, you never know when your next paycheck is coming from, and I was unemployed for a while with the place I worked, The Magic Castle in Hollywood, it was closed all through COVID. And so, I was just at a place where I wanted make this album and I don’t have the means to do it, and I was blown away by so much support. I was going to make it really simple and just have me and piano and pray that I could unlock maybe a drummer and a bass player. We just blew through the first few stretch goals of unlocking those musicians within the first couple of days. I was just… I’m so grateful that I have people out there that are so supportive, and that want to hear what I’m writing.
Bonnie: And for all the nerds listening and the people that love Library Bards, there will be some comedy and tongue in cheek on this album. It is very nerdy. So I don’t want people to get discouraged and think, “Oh, it’s a jazz album. I’m not going to like that.” There’s a few songs on there. I have a blues rock anthem about my daily goes with ADHD, and it’s pretty funny. That song is going to rock. And I have a song about Comic-Con, falling in love with a man who you think the whole song is about this man being a criminal, a con artist, and if you listen to the lyrics closely, you’ll realize that every lyric has a double meaning, and I’m speaking about an artist alley at a Comi-Con. So, really, when it comes to my lyrics, I’m really proud, and I’m hoping that people find something that they connect with in the album.
Ken: And that includes, I understand a Star Trek song, possibly.
Bonnie: Okay. Oh, so for the Trekkies out there. In fact, I actually was talking to the person who’s arranging a lot of the music today about this. I am attempting… Again, I don’t want to get everyone’s hopes up because there is always that fear that CBS will come after me. I’m trying to get mechanical licensing for all the songs, and do this the right way to make sure, A, I don’t get sued, and B everyone gets paid what they’re due and yada, yada, but we’re trying to create a Star Trek medley. It’ll be with a full jazz band, and me singing excerpts, everything from the original series to Faith of the Heart from Enterprise, a horror song from the Charlie X episode. We might try and slip in Blue Skies in there as an homage to Data, and Data’s daughter. I might try and slip in You Are My Shine for The Doctor in Seven of Nine.
Bonnie: Basically, do a medley of songs that some of the songs are actually just old standards, but are important to the Star Trek canon in a sense that people who are fans of Star Trek will know the nods of what I’m doing, and interlace different themes like Voyager and DS9 and whatnot throughout the background arrangements. I mean, it’s going to be a beast of a song, and we’re already starting to work on it, and we’re probably not going to even record it until late January, February for that one. We’ll see if we can pull it off. I think it can be done, and with that being said, I hope it can be done. I hope I make you all proud.
Ken: Your original goal was $7,500 to do all this.
Bonnie: Right, and that was just going to be me and a piano. It was going to be very simple like me and a jazz piano and the money would go to recording and arranging and just the pianist and mechanical licensing. I mean, it was going to be very simple, but as the stretch goals got unlocked, I had to keep coming up with different, new, exciting things. I unlocked a duet with Jason Charles Miller who’s not only incredible voiceover actor, but just an epic country rock star. If you look up his band, he’s amazing. And so, we’re actually… You know what, I’m going to tell you what we’re singing because no one knows this.
Bonnie: I’ve only released, besides the Star Trek medley, I’ve only released one cover announcement, which was I’m doing a slow jazzy version of It’s Not Easy Being Green from the Muppets because this album, again, is all about what makes me, me, and I’m paying homage to the fandoms that have shaped me as a person. And Jason Charles Miller and I are doing a duet. It’s going to be a bluesy rock version of Storybook Love, the theme from The Princess Bride. So, for all you Princess Bride fans out there, you’re the first to know this, and I’m so excited. I wanted to do that song on the album. I was planning on doing it solo, and I’ve been researching a few different ways to add harmonies to it. It just ended up turning into a duet. And so, now Jason Charles Miller will be taking that with me and I’m so excited. It’s going to sound really, really cool.
Ken: That is very exciting.
Bonnie: You’re hearing it here first.
Ken: Well, thank you. That is super exciting to share, and I’m looking forward to it. Two years ago, I had to really downsize a lot of the stuff I owned. And so, I went through my DVD collection, and I realized I had four different editions of The Princess Bride. And so, I’m like, “I really only need one.” So, I gave them to all my friends. I gave one of my mom who had never seen it before somehow. And so, we watched it together, and she loved it, and I thought the movie was great on its own. But now it makes me think of this special moment I had with my mom, which is cool, and I love your existing Princess Bride song on BomBARDed, so now there’s something to look forward to.
Bonnie: Thank you. It’s funny because that song is not very melodically complicated. It’s a very simple song. Most people I think prefer it as an instrumental because the lyrics are a little, can be cheesy. But honestly, when I watch The Princess Bride and that song comes up on the end during the credits, I cry every time. It is so cheesy, but just every time I hear that song, it reminds me of The Princess Bride, which is my favorite movie of all time, and one of my favorite books. So, it was really important for me to get it on the album somehow, so I’m really glad Jason agreed to do that one with me.
Bonnie: The next stretch goal, which we’re almost to. I think we’re about $700 away from will be unlocking a bonus track, which I have made into another duet with the incredibly talented Grey Griffin. If you don’t know who Grey Griffin is go look her up. She has done the voice of pretty much everything you could think of when it comes to cartoons. I mean, she’s the voice of Daphne in Scooby Doo. I think she’s done Wonder Woman. She’s done… She was the voice of the villain on Avatar: The Last Air Bender. She’s incredible. Just go look her up, and you’ll look at her IMDb and go, “Well, she’s everything.” And she’s also an amazing singer and musician. I won’t tell you what we’re doing because I have to write it because it’s really complicated though. It’s going to be like the Star Trek medley in the sense that it’s going to break my brain a little bit, but it’s going to be worth it. And because she and I both do so many different voices, I think we’re going to have a lot of fun with it.
Ken: Are these people you’re doing duets with people you’ve worked with before? Are they friends of yours, or are they just people you admire that you’re cold calling?
Bonnie: Why not both? Honestly, both. Jason, I’ve been very lucky enough to have worked with Jason in the past on projects, and we’re both TTRPG players. We both have worked and done shows on Geek & Sundry. I record a lot of the time doing anime and video games. He has his own recording studio that a lot of the companies will rent out. And so, I’ve recorded at his studio quite a bit. And so, he’s a dear friend and I really do love working with him. And we’ve never really sung a duet together before, and it’s always on our bucket list. So, this was kind of like the perfect opportunity for me to not only get him to sing a duet with me, but to make him sing a duet with me on a song of my choosing on my grounds, on my rules, and use his incredible talent for the greater good, which is my album.
Bonnie: Gray Griffin, not only am I a huge fan of hers, but we have also worked together. We were on a Cartoon Network show called Mighty Magiswords. She was the lead character on that. I played a few roles throughout seasons one and two. So, whenever we got to record together, we’d have just such a great time. And she’s one of the people in this industry, voiceover acting is very competitive, and everyone’s auditioning for the same roles. Everyone’s auditioning. It’s very, very competitive, but at the same time it’s some of the best people in the industry. I think Grey is one of those fellow voiceover actors who really likes to raise people up instead of shoot people down, if that makes sense.
Bonnie: She’s been so supportive of me as a voiceover actor coming from the bottom of the totem pole where she’s at the top. She’s been very supportive and just there’s a of people in Hollywood that if you don’t have a certain level of followers, or if you’re not a certain level of fame, they don’t really want much to do with you, which is very sad. A lot of Hollywood is all about who you know and networking. And I’m very grateful to be surrounded by people who are just so talented and incredible and at the top, but treat people with respect and are not that fake Hollywood feel, if that makes sense. She’s just a genuinely kind person. And I’m
Ken: I’m sure that the people you’re reaching out to see those same qualities in you, Bonnie.
Bonnie: Aww, well, thank you. I hope so. I hope that I always stay true to my roots. If I’m ever lucky enough to get to a certain level of recognition, of fame, and whatnot, I would hopefully use it to raise others up as well.
Ken: Well, you already are. You could have just as easily said, “No, I’m not going on your stupid podcast.”
Bonnie: Well, what good would that do? Wait, you mean I get to sit here and geek out with someone and just randomly talk for an hour. That sounds great to me. Most people are paying me to not talk. Please be quiet, Bonnie. Well, just no more rambling.
Ken: No, no people are giving you money on Kickstarter because they want to hear more from you.
Bonnie: Aww, thank you.
Ken: And you’re almost at the 20,000 mark after you hit your 17,500 stretch goal. After that is 20,000 where you’re going to do a music video. Is that right?
Bonnie: That is true. I’m planning on a music video for con artists. It’s very 1940s film war feel of Bonnie and Clyde because again, it has that feeling of I’m in love with a criminal and I’m going to give you that feeling throughout the music video. But I want to be walking down a dark alley with a trench coat and a fedora with… I have the whole look of the music video in my mind and I know it’s going to be not cheap because I like to dream big, and I’m very lucky to be surrounded by an amazing group of creative people that, of course, will help me make it come true. I’m hoping that it happens. Look, I have ideas for five music videos. Don’t get me wrong.
Bonnie: One of the covers I’m doing. I guess I’m just going to tell you another cover I’m doing. I’m doing I think five or six originals and four or five covers. I don’t know the… It keeps fluctuating depending on how much mechanical licensing will be. But one of the covers I’m planning on doing is Jessica Rabbit’s Why Don’t You Do Right. I want to do a music video for that one as well. But man, I tend to dream big and I’m hoping that when the album’s released, I’ll be able to at least have one music video, hopefully two, that would be incredible to help accompany the album release.
Ken: Because I saw that you budgeted 6% of your crowdfunding toward a music video. I assume that’s whether or not you hit the 20,000 goal.
Bonnie: Right. Well, and here’s the thing. I hate to talk money on this podcast, but when I initially made the goals and stuff I wanted to make sure that I’m paying the musicians and the studio and everyone I’m including on this album what they deserve. Especially with musicians, they always get underpaid. They never really get paid what they deserve. And I’m very lucky and fortunate to know some insanely talented musicians who are wanting to be on this album that I sing in a few bands out here in the area that I have connections with these amazing musicians, and I have a horn section that they’re all just great group of people that are willing and ready, but I have to make sure that I’m not taking advantage of their generosity. So, a lot of the budgeting is going to that.
Bonnie: Also, with the Library Bards, we were always able to use orchestrated tracks. We would hire a person to make the tracks and basically play all the instruments and do it there. This time I’m using live musicians and I underestimated what that is going to entail when it comes to studio space because I have to make sure I can rent a studio that has enough room for a grand piano and the bass player and the drum set and where we can all fit and record comfortably, and it will be multiple days. So, right now I’m working out the budget sheet. I’m not good at this kind of stuff. One day maybe I’ll take an accounting class to help me learn what I’m doing, but it’s a lot of work, and I’m really doing this Kickstarter all by myself.
Bonnie: So, it’s a little overwhelming. Oh gosh, I don’t want to get emotional, but it’s incredible. It’s an incredible feeling, and I’m feeling so excited for it, but I’m also on a slight brink of panic all the time when I think about all the work I have to do by myself, and I want to make sure everyone gets their rewards and their fulfillment and shipping. And so, it’s a lot. You don’t realize how much goes into it until you sit down and write it down. And you’re like, “Oh dear, this might have been a big pie in the sky moment for me.
Ken: Well, the good news is that you’ve already met your goal, and granted that now comes with it some obligations, but you could just totally screw up the rest of your Kickstarter, and you’ll still have an album.
Bonnie: Exactly. No, here’s the exciting part. The album’s definitely getting made. I mean, we’re already working on the music. We’re already working on the charts and the arrangements. And as soon as the holidays are done is when we’re going to get into the studio and start rehearsing and recording. So, it’s happening. I mean, there’s no doubt in my mind it is happening, and it is going to be epic because I tend to… Again, when I want to do something, I tend to dream big, and nine out of 10 times I can make it a reality or at least an optical illusion of a reality, and I have a feeling that this album is going to exceed all of my expectations with what we’re already working on.
Ken: That is amazing. I have another money question for you.
Bonnie: Oh, no. No, no. Okay.
Ken: Well, you’ve mentioned a couple of times the question of obtaining mechanical licenses.
Ken: Is it a question because they say no or because they say yes, but they want too much money?
Bonnie: Well, I’m trying to figure that out. Mechanical licensing, there’s for the songs that are just songs, I’m able to get the mechanical licensing, and I’ve been able to figure that out. A lot of the covers I’m doing belong to IPs. Belong to or owned by like Disney and different properties, and I want to make sure that I’m not… Getting the mechanical licensing is one thing, but I also want to make sure that I am okay in the sense of I’m not going to have a major corporation come after me. Obviously, I’m doing a cover. I’m not using… I’m using all original music and arrangements and whatnot, but I also just… I want to make sure I play it safe.
Bonnie: With our previous albums, we’ve always been protected under parody and we always use original tracks as well. So, it was a lot easier to maneuver because again, parody is parody, and this is completely different. We’re using the melodies and the lyrics the same, and I got to… I just want to make sure I do it right. And again, this is not something that I’ve done before. I mean, if anyone listening does this for a living, please reach out. Slide into my DMs. You have my permission. Because again, I’m navigating this on my own, and it’s been very educational because again, this is a field… I’m a musician, I’m a singer. This is stuff I need to know, but I have never… And because I’ve never done an album before that’s been mine, I’ve never had to do this before. So, this is all very scary, but I’m loving it. I’m loving the journey.
Ken: And just to confirm my own understanding, mechanical license means you have the right to recreate a sample from somebody else’s song. Is that right?
Bonnie: Right. Meaning like a composition or musical work to create a cover song, reproduce, or a sample of a portion of original composition. I sound like a Wikipedia definition, and it applies to the copyrighted work that’s not public domain and whatnot. I have to get the mechanical license and then also it’s a certain amount, a percentage of each album I make. So, for example, if I order 2,000 physical CDs, it would be each song would be, I don’t know, like 10 cents or 15 cents on each album. So, I just got to make sure I’m doing the math correctly. It’s a lot of math and math is not my strong suit. I’m more of a poet than a mathematician. So, I’m just going to make a lot of graphs and a lot of spreadsheets and a lot of fun email threads with random companies, and it’s going to be a blast let me tell you. But regardless my original music I won’t have to worry about. So, my original music is all me.
Ken: Well, that brings me to another question, which is you said in the Kickstarter that con artist is your chance to really showcase your voice and songwriting skills while still celebrating the things that make you, you. And you referred to the Muppets and to Star Trek, but there are also going to be original songs on there that aren’t about these very important franchises. So, Bonnie, what makes you, you?
Bonnie: Wow! Oh, we’re going deep. Again, I’ve had a lot of these original songs for years. So, a lot of them I wrote when I was in a… Not in a weird place, but a lot of them is when I was writing things. If something happened to me in my life a way from me to heal would be to write it on paper, to write music for it. For example, a good friend of mine who I performed magic with at The Magic Castle with Jonathan Pendragon, my friend Jacosa, she passed away a few years ago, and the night that she passed away I wrote the song Jacosa. It was kind of like my way of grieving as well as a gift to her family because I didn’t know… Words could not express what I was feeling, and I wanted to show them how special she was to me, and how special I thought she was to the world, and how the world should see her.
Bonnie: So, I wrote Jacosa, and that was a gift to them, and they have given me permission to rerecord it and put it on the album. So, I’m very excited for people to hear that, and I’m going to dedicate the track to her as well, and donate proceeds to the album to a foundation or I can’t really… A company that she helped create in Atlanta that would teach underprivileged kids circus performing like trapes and aerialists. It was almost like big brother, big sister where she would mentor children and teach them different variety acts and things. And it’s a way of them learning and having something to do with peers, and it’s something that’s different and fun for kids to learn. So, I wanted to make a donation to that corporation that she helped co-create. It’s going to be to the Makeshift Circus Collective is the company.
Bonnie: I also have a song called Bar Hopping. It’s a blues song that I wrote and every verse takes place in a different bar. I literally went bar hopping and wrote a verse on a napkin in a different type of bar. So, one verse is a sports bar. One is a dive bar. One is a piano bar. One is a nightclub, and I would just write down what I saw. And so, it’s kind of funny. It’s called bar hopping, but the alternate title is everyone’s flexion looks better in a bar. So, that one’s a fun song as well. Let’s see, oh, the originals. I have a song I wrote called Hold the Fire, and it was one that I wrote while being on tour. You’re getting all the inside scoop of the album. My goodness, I haven’t even released this to the Kickstarter people yet.
Bonnie: I know. So, I guess I’ll be making that post soon, but Hold the Fire is a song that I wrote. I went on tour for a month, a month and a half with this traveling show that would perform at ren fairs. This was a long time ago, and it was a bunch… I want to be, obviously, politically correct and not use the word gypsy, but they actually would describe their show as that because the creators of the show were nine generation Romanian trick writers, and their families were actually, that come from that background. So, they were actually okay with us describing it as that. Romanian, Italian, all their horses knew the commands in all these different languages, and it was an incredible show to be a part of.
Bonnie: They were juggling fire, doing back flips off the horses, doing all these crazy stunts, and then sword fighting, jousting. We performed at all these different random county fairs and ren fairs. And I was kind of like the MC, and the… I don’t know what you would describe me as. Like the gesture, I guess, the MC, the comic relief of the show. It was kind of like my first real crush. I went on this tour because I fell for one of the fellows who all the women fell for him. He had this charisma about him, and the song is called Hold the Fire because he would literally juggle fire and machetes and random things like that. He was also a very talented musician.
Bonnie: We’re actually still really good friends, so it’s okay. If he’s listening, don’t freak out, but no, he actually knows the song is about him as well. So he’s excited that it’s actually getting recorded now and it’s called Hold the Fire. The whole part of the song is like some of the lyrics are, he’s as wild as the fire he holds in his hand, he’s as free as the birds on their wings, he’s as hard to hold onto as small grains of sand, he’s as beautiful as the songs that he sings, stuff like that. So, it’s very pretty melodic song, but it’s all about falling for someone that they’re so much of a free spirit that you’re never going to have them and you just have to be okay with that and let them go. The tag of the line is if you love him at all let him go, type of thing.
Bonnie: So it’s me. I wrote the song to all the women out there that fall for the people that are… Or not all the women, but just all the people in general that fall for someone that the love isn’t really-
Ken: In the cards.
Bonnie: … reciprocated, or they’re a free spirit and they don’t want to love you back or they’re on their own doing their own thing, and it’s okay. If you love them, let them go. So, Hold the Fire. It was always like one of those. I wrote that while we were on the tour, and watching him interact with all of these women who would just be so mesmerized by his charisma and the way he just could take a stage, and you’re just like, “Well, there it goes?”
Bonnie: Yeah. So, I wrote that, and then it reflects back on me to where I feel like I’m in that same way where I’m kind of like the free spirit in a sense that the song changes in the end where the perception changes where now I’m singing about myself, and I’m not singing about him. And so, basically, if you love me at all, let me go. So, I’m singing then the whole perspective changes to where I was singing it to someone else explaining to them why I couldn’t share the same feelings for them. I don’t know, it’s-
Ken: Whoa, that’s complicated.
Bonnie: It’s a deep song, I guess, but I don’t know.
Ken: No, I’m looking forward to it. This is going to be a lovely variety of songs of going from Star Trek and Kermit to these tributes to your friends and lovers and gosh.
Bonnie: Yeah. I’m really excited. Oh, and I have a song old called Enough that is about imposter syndrome, and it’s a song that I wrote during COVID to my younger self. Basically, it’s like a love letter to my younger self because growing up I was the weird nerdy kid that I wasn’t pretty enough to hang out with the popular girls. I didn’t feel talented enough to do anything or smart enough to be the best in the class and everyone gets those feelings, no matter how successful you are in any field.
Bonnie: Imposter syndrome, I feel is a part of everyone, and in the entertainment industry it is burdening, and there’s so many times where you just want to give up and you don’t, and you just… I wrote this for my younger self, and also to all the people out there who suffer from that little monster inside their head that just says they’re not good enough, and the whole point of the song is to be like… It goes through the journey of this little girl when she’s a young girl seeing all the popular kids out in the cafeteria sitting together and not feeling like she belongs, and then to where she’s older and trying to audition for certain things and all she’s getting told is you’re the wrong type, you’re the wrong size, you’re this, that. And then end of the song is it’s all of this rejection and all of this pain has made you so much stronger. You’re so much stronger than that voice inside your head. And the monsters inside have nothing compared to the strength that you’ve carried by. Even though the imposter syndrome is so strong, you’ve kept going and that you makes you a warrior. Just keep battling ahead, and you are enough. Basically, the whole song is trying to prove to myself and to anyone listening, you are enough.
Ken: Wouldn’t it be nice if we could be strong without pain and rejection?
Bonnie: Right, yeah, that’d be great. I mean, sure. I feel like I’ve just… I feel so sorry. I feel like I’ve just commandeered this podcast rambling about the tracks of this album. I’m so excited to finally talk about some of the things I’m putting on this record. But again, I feel like I’ve just taken over your whole podcast.
Ken: No, your rambling is leaving me more excited for this album than when I started.
Bonnie: Perfect. I’m so glad. And hopefully listeners will get excited too. We still got, I think 14, 13 days left of the Kickstarter. So, if you want to jump on and be a part of that, please. I’ll be posting updates throughout the entire Kickstarter process. And as soon as we get into the studio posting behind the scenes videos, and I’m probably going to make little special videos introducing each member of the band that I’ve collected. And yeah, I’m just so excited it’s getting made. I can’t even tell you. Putting my work out there, it’s like wearing my heart on my sleeve. It’s definitely making me feel very vulnerable, but at the same time it’s liberating, and exhilarating.
Ken: Yeah. I’m sorry that you had that health scare, but I’m glad that some good has come of it that it was maybe what you needed that final push to put this aspect of yourself out there.
Bonnie: It’s a great way of thinking it, and honestly I have so many friends who’ve struggled through even more, and seeing their strength especially through COVID where I think all of us just… It was so… I mean, I feel like everyone struggled both with mental health and everything from financially to socially, to psychologically to where I feel like we’ve all just been through battles, and I feel stronger coming out on the other side of it, and I hope other people do too. I mean, we’re technically not through the pandemic yet. I don’t think we ever really will be with the way things are going, but at least things are going in the right direction where we can at least start to fill some kind of normalcy again.
Ken: Well, that’s actually one of my last questions to you, which is the album’s scheduled to come out in March of 2022, which is just four months away.
Bonnie: I know. Don’t remind me.
Ken: You also tweeted that you are now booking performances at pop culture events and cons throughout 2022.
Ken: And I think your tweet jinxed it because just a few days later, Omicron.
Bonnie: Yeah. When I said cons, I didn’t mean another variant.
Ken: So, how far in advance are you feeling comfortable booking events when everything can change on a dime?
Bonnie: Well, it’s rough because I already have things booked for 2022, and I know that anything could change, especially a lot of the international bookings with international travel. For me, I am fully vaccinated, and I’ve also been boosted, and I’m going to continue to get boosted for as long as they recommend it. I feel like if we all just stay healthy, wash our hands, wear our masks, we can continue to do events. We got to be careful. I think people are starting to drop their guard a little bit, and that’s a little… It can get a little scary. Yeah.
Ken: Yeah, I am also vaccinated and boosted, and I still wear my mask. And I was, and I think still am looking forward to going to PAX East in Boston, my hometown. It’s scheduled April 21st to the 24th, and they’re requiring vaccines or proof of a negative test.
Bonnie: I think that’s going to be the future of every event from here on out. It can get so dangerous because if just one person has it, especially at an event like a con, it’s going to spread like wildfire. I mean, think of all the con crowd. We joke about con crowd and getting sick from conventions because people get colds and flus all the time from conventions and now this would just amplify it even more. I am still very excited to book for 2022. I’ve been reaching out to a lot of different conventions and different events and cruises even. So, keep a look out on my schedule. I’ll be hopefully doing more and promoting a Con Artist. The Library Bards will be doing some as well. I don’t want people to think that the Library Bards are ending. We’re still planning on doing events, and gigs together. We’re just focusing on so much solo stuff right now, and it’s hard for us to make sure our schedules overlap correctly.
Ken: Did you and Xander to have a talk about whether or not to launch Con Artists on the Library Bards’ Kickstarter account as opposed to creating your own?
Bonnie: Well, when we launched the Library Bars Kickstarters, we used a lot of… When you’re doing it, you have to put in personal information and banking and all that other stuff. And so, I was putting in all of that stuff. So, now the Library Bards Kickstarter page has all of my personal information. So, if I tried to make another Kickstarter with my name, with my personal stuff… Basically, it takes a whole other process of getting verified on Kickstarter, and they have to verify your bank account information, and your identity, and all of this. And it was just easier just to put it up with Library Bards because then it’s all under my name anyway in the end. So, it didn’t make sense for me to have to try and start a whole new page.
Bonnie: Everyone knows. A lot of my fan base was excited about the solo album because of Library Bards. And I wanted to make sure that they kind of also felt include in the process. Like with our Library Bards fans, they’ve been supporting us from the beginning, and I wanted them to realize this album’s still nerdy. You’re still going to find some fun Library Bard qualities about it. It’s just going to be the way I want it to be.
Ken: Well, I think it was also a very good marketing move to use the same Kickstarter account because Facebook, Twitter, I follow you on those. They have their algorithms that filter things out.
Ken: But as soon as the Library Bards launched a new Kickstarter, as somebody who backed your previous campaign, I immediately got an email notification.
Bonnie: Oh, interesting. Oh, good to know. I don’t know how this works.
Ken: That is how I found out about your latest Kickstarter.
Bonnie: Wow! Okay! Thanks, Kickstarter! Thanks for spamming my fans, but I’m so grateful that I have so many different followers and friends and fans from different walks of life. Everything from Library Bards to The Quest, Star Trek, tabletop RPGs, voiceovers, just everything that I’ve done, and accumulated with my career that I feel like this project accumulates all of that. It accumulates my love for all of it. And I’m so glad that everyone’s just jumping on board and going on this adventure with me because it’s going to be a ride. Let me tell you.
Ken: And for those who want to join you on that ride, or follow you, or just in general partake of your many diverse talents, where can they find you and your work online?
Bonnie: You can find me all over social media @BonnieBellG. That’s my personal accounts. And you can find the Library Bards @LibraryBards. I just started doing TikTok. I’ve been making fun TikTok duets. That’s been a blast. So, if you want to hear… With Library Bards, you hear a lot of my pop rock sound, but if you want to hear a little bit more of my jazzy vocals, you can go to my TikTok and see some of the fun duets I’m doing with random TikTok artists. I’ve been finding some fun things to sing with, and I have a YouTube channel as well. We have the Library Bards one with our music videos, and I have a personal YouTube that I have some music up. Not too much originals, but during COVID I got bored and I made some fun videos and mashups. I did a lot of mashups. It was my way of trying to figure out how to video edit as well. So, go have fun watching those.
Ken: Fantastic. That reminds me the other night I just all night whether I was cooking dinner or doing laundry or whatever, I had the song, All That Jazz in my head. And I finally figured out it’s because I listened to your TikTok.
Ken: It just got stuck in there. Well, there will be links to all of that in the show notes. Bonnie, thank you so much for your time and best of luck with Con Artist.
Bonnie: Thank you. And thank you for having me and letting me just geek out with you about life and everything. I’m just excited to be able to be a nerd and to attempt to make a living at it. So, thank you for letting me share that.
Ken: It’s a good time to be a nerd.
Voiceover: This has been Polygamer, a Gamebits production. Find more episodes, read our blog, or send feedback at polygamer.net.