By Jaci Jedrych
Debórah Bond’s origins are anything but typical.
Bond was introduced to the performance arena by competing in public speaking and debate competitions. After not just competing, but often winning, she decided to use her voice to tell a story through music.
As a teen, she wrote songs in her bedroom and recorded them, teaching herself multitracking from her childhood bedroom in New Haven, Connecticut. Bond moved to the District at 17 years old to attend American University, studying broadcast journalism and vocal performance. Here she gained new friends, learned about uniquely D.C. styles of music like go-go, built a community, and ultimately fell in love with music.
She met multiple groups of musicians who needed singers, individuals who became her “musical soulmates,” and grew by performing with them. While many see Washington, D.C. as a political town, Bond explains that she sees an abundance of beautiful music in D.C. After more than 20 years here in the District, more than the first 17 she spent in her hometown, she considers it more home than New Haven ever was.
Bond finds joy in her work educating young people. She believes music education is underrated, and prides herself on being a voice for the up and coming in the industry. As a teenage musician, she did not have mentors and advocates, so she knows firsthand the importance of being there for others. Further, she knows the importance of knowing and learning from the history of music, instruments, and technology in order to create a distinct style for oneself.
Bond offers both vocal coaching and mentorship for young people in the entertainment industry. Her favorite part of teaching is guiding her students through the tough industry, “helping them to become a star.” Bond strives to understand each individual artist she mentors. She recognizes that everyone has a different journey, passion, and style, and works with her students to bring it out. Teaching is a responsibility Bond does not take lightly.
Bond knows the importance of solid influences because she has a number of them herself. They are incredibly diverse: the Jackson family, Stevie Wonder, Luther Vandross, Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, Prince, to The Police, Anita Baker, Joni Mitchell, and George Michael. She finds herself influenced by dozens of genres, including new wave, dance, party, house, alternative, vintage funk, hip-hop, rock, and R&B. These wide and varied influences allow her sound to be flexible but still unique. Holding true to her identity and unique sound, Bond can make music of virtually any genre.
Bond’s sound and lyrics play together. Inspiration comes from her life and roots– still a journalist at heart, she tells a story with her songs and performances.
Bond creates a rich life for herself, which comes through in her songs. She loves traveling, trying new foods, and connecting with people from all walks of life and cultures. Fashion is another passion for Bond, a way for her to express her energy. She also loves to support independent designers. Bond uses exercise as a release of anxiety and renewing activity. A track and field runner in high school, she still enjoys moving her body and also loves to dance, releasing energy and stress.
As a singer, Bond places a special emphasis on her musicians. She “can’t live without” them, especially her connection to their view and their story. Beyond a “tool” for her music, they are her “lifeline.”
To her students or anyone trying to make it in the D.C. music scene, Bond advises authenticity, being yourself, and owning it. She says that if you have voice, drive, and talent, your art will grow, and you will cut through the scene regardless, so the “key is to not stop.”
Learning from the greats is very important, as is testing new sounds, but above all, trying again and again. Bond has a distinct voice and sound herself, which she feels gives her a certain advantage in staying power, and advises musicians to find what is unique about themselves.
Earlier this month, Bond released a live album she recorded during quarantine, among dozens of other projects she is anticipating. Currently, Bond is on a tour of city wineries, and is looking forward to her next tour in March of 2022. She loves the energy of the audiences, and the connection that being on tour brings. She is also working on an EP to be released this summer, and a full album to be released next year.
Go see Debórah Bond on March 16 at City Winery DC.
Jaci Jedrych is a World Politics student at The Catholic University in Washington, D.C. She loves going to concerts and exploring different genres, and has a passion for arts and news writing.
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