Bonnie Lee Panda, (“Panda, like the bear” she says) is a spirit-rich, performing songwriter and recording artist who writes and sings a soulful combination of modern country and blues. A singer, songwriter, and guitarist, Bonnie Lee writes songs reflecting on the many facets of love, family, spirituality, finding one’s truth, and enjoying life’s journey: to bring happiness, entertainment, and inspiration to others.
Music is her life! It has been that way since she was a little girl singing into a mirror with a hairbrush. People say it’s hard to imagine that the confident girl on stage now is the same girl who made her family go outside the room and listen to her sing through closed doors. Overcoming terrible stage fright, Bonnie Lee’s passion for performing was so strong that she has now become a force to be reckoned with on stage.
Bonnie Lee sang in the select choir throughout high school and co-founded the first thriving a cappella singing group; The Chordials, at the University of Connecticut. The group is still going strong, and is now joined by 7 other a cappella groups at UConn. Bonnie Lee competed in the USA Network’s Nashville Star in 2004 and advanced on to the Regional finals after winning the local finals. She performed live and interviewed on Hartford CT’s WWYZ Country 92.5 FM. In 2006 she was named a finalist in the prestigious Plowshare’s songwriting competition in Phoenixville, PA.
Bonnie Lee took a leap of faith three years ago and moved to Nashville, TN from her small town in Connecticut. With a peaceful knowing, it was time, and with a gentle push from her husband Shane, they moved and planted roots in Music City. She has been drawn to the family-oriented, storytelling, Americana tradition of country music, and loves co-writing here in Tennessee with other passionate songwriters and performers.
Since being in Nashville, Bonnie Lee has written over 100 songs and just wrote her 2nd song for a cartoon made for television, all in less than 2 years!!! She has started recording her 4th album with Australian producer Michael Flanders, due out fall of 2012, and her song, Aint Gonna Break Me will be released on the 2012 Songsalive! CD Sampler.
“Her voice is supple and expressive, one of the best instruments in the folk world,” says John Platt from WFUV 90.7 FM (Sunday Morning City Folk, New York City). Bonnie Lee has released three recordings, starting with Within in 2004, an 8 song EP containing mostly original songs and the hit song, “I Hope You Dance,” featuring Duke Levine on guitar (Mary Chapin Carpenter). She recorded a live album in 2006 at the reputable Vanilla Bean Café in Pomfret, CT and a holiday CD in 2007 called Magical Winter Day. MWD was at number 7 on the FolkDJ charts for December 2007, and her song “Beneath Our Christmas Tree” was at number 3 that year as well.
Bonnie Lee has donated her time and talents in performing at assisted living, hospice and nursing homes, shelters, benefits for recovery centers, for hunger and homeless awareness, and for other worthy causes. She was also signed to a booking agency recently, bringing her educational, musical workshops to second to sixth graders, covering topics like self-esteem, respect, and anti-bullying. Check out www.PandaWorkshops.com for more information.
A consummate artist and student of life, with over 14 years of classical vocal training, and many years of guitar and piano tuition, Bonnie Lee (when she is not touring or writing) also teaches vocals, guitar and piano as well as produces music albums for artists, and songs for film and television. Her focus is bringing her music to the world in hopes to shine a little love and light wherever she can.