Nini has a unique sound that is rooted in alternative pop but stems into genres like RnB and bossa nova; making it an album that is expansive and engrossing. Bonnie Banane successfully makes a widely accessible and widely enjoyable album by combining not only genres but the languages and influences of French and English, forming a hybrid artistic creation.
Banane’s romantic French voice paired with her upbeat and catchy melodies ensure that Nini is suitable for all occasions. The RnB influences come through strong in tracks like PMS which carries a heavy beat and sing-rap lyrics, and, just like classic rap singles that are all about flow, PMS is definitely about another type of flow that carries very resonant feelings.
The album is consistently changing pace going from the opening single Instant Karma which is whimsical and peaceful with its soft and pretty piano melody and high-pitched, reverberating, fairy-like singing, to Franchement – which I consider to be the most lively out of the skilful bunch – consisting of a myriad of beats, whacky sounds, and lyrics that you could easily imagine being featured in a movie-montage scene. Overall, this album is certainly feel-good, and matches any mood (or person) you may come to experience.
Hi Bonnie, congratulations on your upcoming album Nini! To set things in motion could you please introduce yourself to our readers?
Hi Metal. Thank you. I'm Bonnie Banane, French singer, composer based in Paris. I’ve been around for a while now, just trying to do my own thing and to make the world a prettier place!
Throughout the album, you mix and shift between languages. Some track titles are in English, but the lyrics are in French. How do you decide what will be sung in English or French? What effect do both individual languages have on the sound of Nini?
When I first started back in 2012 I was only writing in English, then I started to dare to write in French. It was paradoxically harder to write in my mother tongue. It’s harder because it’s more sincere, more naked, more understandable by my peers. Now I just do however I feel I don't think about it too much. I don't follow any rules except that it has to match the music and my mood. I have several moods.
Nini is an alternative-pop album, but are there other genres throughout? Hop-là and Hoes Of Na have rock and electronic tones, so I am wondering if pop has always been your genre of choice?
Pop has always been a bad word for me. I never intended to do pop music in the studio, I first started doing more alt RnB. Now I don't care what genre people think it is. I’d say it’s hybrid? A little bit of every music me and my musician friends have listened to.
What is the main theme of the album? The press release discusses how the album tracks relate to awareness and revelation. What are the revelations you were coming to whilst writing and producing Nini, and what was the process behind putting your journey of self-reflection into words and sound?
There were different phases. At first, I was obsessed with places. The places we love each other in and abandon each other at. Addresses, area codes, specific venues. Local stuff you know. Then I had a dream about dying, like starting over again elsewhere. It was kind of a revelation to me. The theme has always been love. Whether it’s triumphant or failing. Also I've been authorising myself to express my anger more in this one. It took me a while. As for revelations, it’s true that some of my lyrics sometimes come from voices within that I hear in my sleep and it’s so clear that it wakes me up.
The opening track Instant Karma is incredibly whimsical, listening to it feels like a walk through The Secret Garden. However, compared to the other tracks it seems quite timid in nature. Why did you decide to put this track first instead of Franchement, for example?
Instant Karma feels like I have my arms wide open. Come give me a hug. I’m welcoming you into my album. I'm saying what I feel about every single person on earth I love you all in a certain place, in a certain time not everywhere not all the time. I'm addressing the ones that left, I’m telling them I love you anyway I love you even if you left and started all over again far away. Come meet me here in the moment I’m singing this song. This song is our home. Dry your tears.
What is the purpose of 52 “ interlude? Who is the you that you are speaking of? The flow between 52 ‘’ interlude and Red Flags is beautiful! What is the deeper meaning behind Red Flags rather than the surface-level discussion of relationships?
In the interlude I’m talking about my ex and how I felt after our break up in the following days. In Red Flags I’m just questioning whether they exist or not. It’s mostly about the old saying that love makes you blind. I wanted to make an anthem.
Obviously, your French lineage has influenced the album, but what other cultures or countries have had an impact? Have you visited anywhere during tours that have shaped the album?
We French people have been very influenced by American culture overall so it shaped me a lot. I later discovered French music in my twenties thanks to YouTube. I appreciated it. Any trip I do inspires me, people I meet, things I read. Shrooms.
Pas Besoin has a myriad of different vibrations, the same with Toi ou Moi ? (Sacha II). Are there any specific instruments or production techniques that you experimented with on this album?
I’d say this is the first time I have used that many real instruments, the instruments the musicians I worked with possess and the ones in the Motorbass studio where we finished recording the album.
PMS sounds like more than one singer. Did you collab with any for this or is it purely voice modifiers? Is there anyone that you dream of collaborating with for future projects?
It’s voice modifiers, pedals and also a real choir in the back of the bridge with the voices of the three of us composing the album: Janoya, Monomite and myself. One of the things we have in common is that we listened to parliament/funkadelic growing up.  I'd love to work with the amazing Saya Gray and Liv.e.
You have released a number of albums and singles since your breakthrough track Muscles in 2012. As an artist, how have you managed to keep up with the fast-changing world that you speak of throughout Nini? How have you changed yourself and your sound to stay relevant and contemporary?
Honestly, I want to quit making music every week. I feel like there’s less and less space for pure purpose in this. Everything makes you believe that quality became secondary. But I have stubbornness in my genes. I can't help it, I just keep on keeping on. I’ve met new people I want to create music and memories with. I guess I still have things to say, I don't know. I called my album Nini also because I'm trying to pay homage to the little girl I was. Unfortunately, I don't remember who I was. I don't know how much I changed. Maybe it’s the world that changed, not me?