Hello BONZIE, it’s a pleasure to interview you. You’re undoubtedly a prodigious artist, with proof of this breathtaking career launched at the young age of 15, when you released your debut EP The Promise in 2013. How and when did you realize you were a musician and decide to embark on a professional career?

Thank you! I’ve always loved to create, and music was my favorite medium from a very early age. I guess I just naturally started writing songs and wanted to share them. I don’t think I realized I was pursuing a professional career until others told me. It was just plain fun.

You wrote and directed the “alone” video. Tell us a little about your process during the film’s genesis: did you have the idea of an animated film before you even wrote the story? How did you discover Miyo Sato’s work and why did you choose to work with her?

I had already been talking to Miyo Sato on Skype for some time before the pandemic, with the idea of perhaps working together one day. At the end of 2019/beginning of 2020, we used a translator to communicate, as my Japanese wasn’t good enough at the time – his mother tongue being Japanese and mine, English. I’d discovered her work through her short films… they’re totally hand-animated, she finger paints on glass or using sand, and they all have a very tangible, heartfelt quality. I loved that you could almost physically feel the animation.

I spent the next few months studying Japanese in depth, and by the time we started work on “alone”, we didn’t need a translator! Everything fell into place: we were living through a pandemic, she was in Japan, on the other side of the world, and her animation style was hand-painted, whereas the song is fingerpicked. There were a lot of dichotomies and, conversely, a lot of parallels between us and between our works of art, which made for a fortuitous marriage. We talked a lot about how our meeting seemed like a kiseki 奇跡, a kind of miracle.

“alone” was publicly projected on a wall in Nagoya, Japan (as part of the Streaming Heritage Festival) for an entire month. What kind of feedback have you had from viewers? What impact has this event had on your presence on the Japanese market as a musician?

To be honest, seeing the video projected onto a huge building in downtown Nagoya was absolutely insane. Miyo, her family and friends all went to see her and filmed, she was really prominent in the town center, I was shocked! It’s crazy to have the impression that your project, which you’ve been working on in a very private and intimate way for many months, is suddenly several meters high in a big city on the other side of the world! I was also tagged on Instagram by people in Japan who had seen the video, which was also such a surreal feeling.

I was both honored and filled with gratitude, to see that the video could be enjoyed in a city halfway around the world, but also to experience first-hand how real this feeling that music and art are universal is. I appreciate everyone who saw the video! I plan to tour Japan as soon as the live scene is more secure!

How do you see the film as a vehicle for music? Is it possible, in this day and age, to release music without the support of visuals, preferably high-impact visuals? And do you think the music itself is no longer “enough” to trigger the listener’s imagination?

I’m part of the camp that likes to listen to records without visuals. I think a good album should evoke images in your mind without completing them, materially.

Sounds, words and melodies have a world of their own, even if you can’t see it with your own eyes. That said, anyone who has seen a film with phenomenal musical supervision, or an incredible score, knows just how much a strong visual and musical combination can influence us emotionally.

We’ve all seen that scene where the music strikes just the right chord at just the right moment in the script, and completely engages us. I don’t think the visual is necessary for the music to touch us, no, but I do think the combination of the two can be a powerful art form. That is, if the visuals are created by a musically intelligent visual artist like Miyo!

“alone” is indeed a breathtaking video, extremely poetic and beautiful. In other words, the visual and aural experiences are mutually exalting. How did you decide to put this film on the festival circuit?

Thank you! Honestly, I’m just really proud of this work! We’ve put a lot of love into it, and my hope is that it will reach other people. I think it’s an emotionally relevant subject for our time, and I feel like it was all meant to be. I’m very happy to see this work living its life now that it’s finished and published, and I’m extremely grateful to festivals like the World Film Festival in Cannes for recognizing it and bringing it to people’s eyes and ears.

About Post-Covid Cinema:

I’m convinced that the love of cinema will persevere beyond the structural influences of the virus, and continue to find new ways to connect with audiences as the future unfolds. I don’t think we’ve left theaters for good. On the contrary, I think this era has taught us that humanity’s need for arts like music and cinema is greater than we ever imagined.



BONZIE has been praised in VICE, Vogue and Brooklyn Vegan, as well as in the pages of the New York Times, and “alone” is among the New York Times’ best songs of 2020. The song “alone” has received over 1.1 million views on YouTube. She co-produced her new album Reincarnation with DJ Camper and Yeti Beats, producers known for their work with Doja Cat, Jay-Z and John Legend.

ITV 2023

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