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commUNITY spotlight: Rod Bonner, the musician, producer and engineer

Rod Bonner is part of the Buffalo music scene and beyond. "I don't know what it is about just having my hands free flowing of through 88 keys."

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Rod Bonner has traveled and toured with national artists. "I've seen the world with so many different artists," and he has so much more to do in the music world with his talent.

Bonner, 30, grew up in a Buffalo home where music was appreciated.

"I lived in a house of music. My dad, he's a saxophonist, my mother, she's a singer. She was singing in church. Music for me started in church," he said.

At the age of 3 he was playing drums, and at age 4 he was taking piano lessons, and from there the cultivation of music started.

Credit: Rod Bonner

The City Honors graduate credits the musical staff with seeing his potential. Teacher Linda Appleby he says gave him that push. He continued his education at Berkley College of Music. He has a music business degree.

"I ended up settling on piano. I don't know what it is about just having  my hands free flowing through 88 keys and just to hear those melodies and as a pianist you play so many different roles," Bonner said.

This year he had an opportunity to work with Doja Cat for her Grammy performance.

He has also worked with Cami Clune, a local singer who was on The Voice.

"I'm working with your Cami Clune, and she has a ton of different events coming up throughout the entire year. She's an incredible vocalist so you'll be able to see me perform with her," he said.

Bonner is focusing on production and engineering. He works at GCR and has a production company called All For You Music Group.

"I get my drive in help curating a sound for an artist, taking the time to produce, write, arrange those things build your legacy," he said.

Credit: Claudine Ewing

The energy he gets from being on stage performing will never change, he said, but the "printed vision of whatever you had to say in that record." is important.

His latest work is a single called Front Row. It reflects true soul music.

Credit: Rod Bonner

"I'm focused on trying to help my city in their musical journey," and he still performs. 

You can see him perform on Wednesday evenings at Giancarlo's in Williamsville. 

"We're playing all of your favorite hits you, we will give you, Frank Sinatra, at the beginning and then give you Bruno Mars at the end so we, yeah, it's a great vibe," Bonner said.

Rod Bonner's future is bright.

"I take pride in staying true to my voice and myself. It's very, very easy to conform to what you hear, because it's a cool thing to do, it's viral. But music for me always has been an opportunity in a space for substance. Say what you want, express how you feel, be true, be pure about it."