Franklin’s Alyssa Bonagura is appearing on stages across town and around the globe.
With so many people moving to Franklin these days, it’s not often you meet someone who has actually lived here all of their life. But independent singer-songwriter Alyssa Bonagura has, and she adores everything about it. “Franklin’s a magical area because of the history. And the people are just so lovely. It’s really special to me.” Her parents (former country recording artists from Baillie and the Boys) still live in the house she grew up in, and she calls Father Ryan High School her alma mater.
The 28-year-old adds that the best part about this place is that you never know who you’re going to run in to. And that certainly holds true for her. Steven Tyler (yes, THAT Steven Tyler of Aerosmith) approached her after hearing her play one night. He wanted her to send him one of her songs, “I Make My Own Sunshine” from her set. And it all happened on the evening of her 27th birthday! “Having Steven Tyler show up at my show? It was just crazy! And it was a really special surprise for me.” Tyler then recorded the song on his first ever solo album, We’re All Somebody From Somewhere, and Bonagura was the only solo writer on the album that would later debut at #1 on the billboard Country album charts.
The former tap dancer has traveled all over the world from attending college in England to performing throughout Europe. She says, “Every place I go to gives me a new experience and I learn some things. I think it’s really important as humans to travel.” But her favorite place? Franklin. “I love traveling so much, but I have to tell you, there’s nothing like traveling back home and landing in BNA and going home to Franklin.” Bonagura adds that her preferred place in her beloved hometown is her backyard. In fact, the video for her song “Rebel” was shot in her backyard. She told her director that she wanted the video ‘to be really me and the best place to do that is my backyard.’ “That’s where I go when I just need to regroup.”
Her latest album is titled The Road Less Traveled, and even though she’s actually traveled many roads, the album is so named because she went down her own path with it. There were no record labels or managers involved – just peers, friends and family were the voices around her. “It was a labor of love.”
Bonagura made her Opry debut at The Ryman on December 23 and she says it was an energizing experience. “I love meeting new people and I love performing. I just feel really blessed that I get to do what I do every day.”