Singled Out: Bonnie Whitmore's Fighter

10/31/2016
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Bonnie Whitmore

Bonnie Whitmore just released her new album "F*@k with Sad Girls" and to celebrate we asked her to tell us the story behind the song "Fighter". Here is the story:

A couple of years ago I was trying to Skype a writing session with my friend Aaron Lee Tasjan. We had written a lot together, but always while in the same room, so this was the first and only attempts at this. It was also one of the only times we didn't actually write a song, but just talked. I think we were both going through some deep realizations at the time and was just kind of nice to have a conversation instead of trying to pound out a song. The truth of the matter was we both knew we were doing what we needed to do, but realizing that we might be the only ones that saw that. He had just moved to Nashville and I just broken up with my boyfriend and was in between places. When you're in between where you want to be and where you want to go, you tend to get reflective and sometime feel defeated.

Aaron and I have been friends and co-writers for a while, but that was kind of the first time I felt we let our guards down and was being real with each other. It's so weird when you can see the other so clearly, but we aren't able to see ourselves in that way. By the end of this conversation I felt somewhat redeemed and resolved in that I was doing what was right for me, even if I didn't have the proof of it yet. I am thankful to him for that.

The truth of it is this, I'm always going to be this person. I feel that I am supposed to be doing what I'm doing, and really can't think of myself doing anything else other then create music. When that epiphany hit me, it is both soul fulfilling and soul crushing. It's not easy to choose a path with such uncertainty, unpredictability and poverty. I'm lucky I've found useful trades like "side man" or other work that gets the bills paid, but at the end of every day, what I want is to write and sing my own songs. I want it more than getting married or having kids, more then buying a house or taking a vacation. I just want to be doing what I loved most, even when it didn't always love me in return.

I've spent sometime in Nashville, and I liked it fine, but Austin always felt like home. So when I came back, I didn't want to just do whatever came my way, but work at being part of the community that inspired me. The Continental Club is like church, and that's in part is because of Jon Dee Graham. He's not the only one, but he's a major mentor to me, and a friend. On Sundays he'd have Jon Dee and Friends in the Gallery in which I got to be his friend and sometimes sub for him when he was out of town. Being able to swap songs with a living legend is mind blowing in it's own right, but what Jon Dee does so well is write these brutally honest and earnest songs with not a single throw away word. Nashville may have influenced my ability to craft a song, but Jon Dee and others like him pushed me to want to write from a deeper place and not to be afraid to be vulnerable. I'd listen to him sing this song by Dan Stuart "Dreaming of Muhammad Ali" and it spoke to the need I had in me to get up and try again. It seems to get harder and harder to have the strength and courage to be a good person to others and to yourself. It's a need in all of us to want to be do better.

I got off the skype call, and wrote Fighter. "When you're looking in the mirror, do you like what's reflected back? I don't always recognize it. Wonder when we lost track." We all get wrapped up in day-to-day life, and then suddenly one day you don't recognize who you are anymore. You start reflecting back on who you use to be. A time when you were so sure of what you wanted, and who you were and not knowing now if that's who you want to be. "I remember when I was little. Knew exactly who I suppose to be. Eight years old, was gonna be a big star. Not sure now what that really means." To steel a line from Aaron Lee song "Success ain't about being better then everyone else, it's aboutd being better then yourself." When you can measure yourself to your own standards and not to the expectation put on your by others, when you can find satisfaction in your worth and can be truly honest with yourself, then I think you can find the courage to be who you are. "I am a good person, and I try to always be one, and I admit that I've done wrong willingly. I can't strive for perfection, cause I've earned each scar I'm wearing and that's not all that will be left of me. It's just me." Each line was painful and for a while I could not play this song without breaking out in tears. Now to sing this song gives me strength and courage. "Reaching down, that inner fighter, knowing this time it could crack." It's okay to get knocked down, that's part of life, but it's not ok for me to not enter the ring. Don't be afraid to live your life. To borrow another line, "fear is the enemy, that's all you need to know." - Jon Dee Graham.

Hearing is believing. Now that you know the story behind the song, listen for yourself and learn more about the album right here!

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