We talked bullying, music and gender stereotypes with Alicia Bognanno, the frontwoman and guitarist of indie rock band Bully
Bully are a band that have quickly developed a reputation for their ferocious live shows (the Nashville Scene named Bully the top local band in its 2014 Best of Nashville issue). Their debut album ‘Feels Like’ is a deeply personal album by an artist bravely mining her own life; it is a coming of age soundtrack that will leave you feeling nostalgic for the 90s. ‘Feels Like’ is all about trying to figure yourself out, it is about holding yourself accountable for your own actions and trying to act like an adult; “Sometimes I wonder if people think I’m a complete mess,” Alicia says. “It’s not easy to put yourself out there like that, but it’s true. Everyone goes through s^&% like that”. Alicia is not only the band’s vocalist, songwriter and guitarist, but also Bully’s producer and engineer.
We caught up with her to find out more.
DtL: Hi Alicia – we love your music here at DtL! Can you tell us how and why you chose to name the band ‘Bully’?
Alicia: We wrote a song which we titled Bully before we had picked the band name, and we thought that song was a good representation of how the band would sound, so we used the song title as the band name. A lot of our songs are about being your own bully and finding ways to overcome that, or learning to appreciate things you are unable to change about yourself.
DtL: Have you ever experienced bullying? If so how did you deal with the experience?
Alicia: Yes – although I think most people have at one point or another. The frustrating thing about it, is it seems like you always think of the perfect response after the event has taken place. I try and keep in mind that people who bully usually only want to bring other people down because they are insecure about themselves, not because you are doing something wrong or deserve to be brought down. Taking the high road and trying your best to not let it get to you is always the best route to take, because after some time goes by you’ll look back and realise they were the ones that were really struggling.
DtL: Our research revealed that 35% of teenage girls believe that their gender will have a negative effect on their career. What are your thoughts on this, based on your experiences in the music industry?
Alicia: Wow…that’s terrible and very sad. If you find something that you love to do and are passionate about, then you will do a great job no matter what your gender is. If you feel like you are being discriminated against because of your gender – in any environment or situation – it’s important that you speak up and bring attention to the problem so the situation doesn’t repeat itself. Don’t ever settle for less than you deserve – especially not because of your gender.
DtL: What advice would you give to young girls who might want to get into the music industry?
Alicia: I would say if that’s what you want to do, you should absolutely do it. The music industry needs as many women as possible and don’t let anyone try and talk you out of it.
DtL: If you could go back in time, what one thing would you tell your younger self?
Alicia: Pursue whatever you want to pursue no matter what anyone tells you – even if you lack experience – don’t let that stop you!
DtL: What tends to inspire your writing?
Alicia: Real life situations and whatever I can’t get out of my mind at the time. It’s also nice to get out and go see other bands, sometimes when you least expect it, you’ll find one you love and that’s always really inspiring.
The track we have on repeat here in the DtL office: