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Tracy Bonham: A '90s Rock Star, Reborn

The Grammy-nominated singer has just returned with an album reflecting her new outlook on life.

By NPR Music



A lot has changed in Tracy Bonham's life since the release of her last album in 2005.? She moved back to Brooklyn, N.Y., married Rolling Stone executive editor Jason Fine and even picked up yoga. All of those changes are reflected on her latest full-length album, Masts of Manhatta.

Classically trained in violin and piano, Bonham made a name for herself as an alternative rock singer after taking up music studies at the Berklee College of Music in Boston. That's where Bonham started her band and began performing.

Inspired by the Walt Whitman poem "Crossing Brooklyn Ferry," Bonham's new album contains songs of love and self-discovery.? "[Manhattan] was actually called Manahatta by the native people before the Europeans came," Bonham says, "meaning 'the land of many hills.' " She says the poem struck her as a celebration of both the city and the discovery of balance and stillness, reflected in her life at the time.

"This time, it was about my marriage and the balance in life that I'm constantly trying to find between the city and the country," Bonham says. "I was writing about that balance, trying to find stillness and peace while living in a chaotic world. It ended up being my favorite record and my favorite experience making a record."

The singer also credits yoga with sharpening her music.

Listen to some cuts from her new album

"With yoga, I'm a lot happier in my life, and I think the music reflects that," she says. "I've gotten to know myself better. And I think when you know yourself, you're more connected to your spirit. That just leaves room for a lot more fun, a lot less second-guessing, a lot less beating yourself up and a lot more playful time."

Bonham and her husband are in the process of adopting their first child. Family life hasn't slowed her down, though: She's in the process of writing a new record and says she plans to release an EP of cover songs soon.

"You continue to have your career, and you continue to have your passions while having a family," she says. "And I think you might even actually be a better parent for it."


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