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Meet Victoria Bon

Today we’d like to introduce you to Victoria Bon.

Victoria, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
Sure can, and thanks for having me. My musical journey started early. My mother began teaching me piano when I was five years old. Then a couple of years later she put me in a local Suzuki school, where I started learning violin. By the time I reached the second grade, I was the youngest player in my elementary school’s orchestra, and I continued to play in orchestra every year until graduating from high school.

Music was my main extracurricular interest. I used to write songs at home… I’d wait until everyone was out of the house so I could play the piano in the living room without anybody eavesdropping. I tried to teach myself guitar… That didn’t work, so I decided to stick with piano and violin.

Later on, I decided to pursue music in college, studying violin performance. After graduating in 2014, I found that I still had lots to learn, so I sought opportunities to gain skills and connections through local teachers and schools. I also looked for ways to invest back in the community. I volunteered for two years teaching music at The Bridge Homeless Recovery Center. I also accepted a position teaching music lessons at Rojas School of Music. Over time I realized how important it was to me that my music career didn’t only benefit and uplift me, but also my community.

So today, I’m in the process of seeking opportunities to partner with local venues and bring my unique sound to the community. It’s been difficult at times but definitely rewarding.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
To be honest, for a long time I was conflicted about whether to pursue music as a career. I’d always been told it was a hard career to make a living in, especially financially. I felt that a safer choice would be to look for work in something like business or communications… but I’d sworn to myself I’d never work in a cubicle.

So, I decided to go into music almost because it was the only thing I could imagine myself doing, and because I didn’t want to be a businesswoman. But what I didn’t know was that being an independent musician meant I had to be a businesswoman also! College had taught me how to play my instrument, but not how to market myself as a professional and a brand. So, I had to teach myself how to live in that world, how to think that way. In the meantime, I got a job cleaning houses and attended open mics whenever I could, trying to build connections and establish a presence in the local music scene.

Years passed and I didn’t manage to get a career off the ground. Even with encouragement from family, friends, and mentors, many times I doubted that I could follow through with my goals. I remember feeling disenchanted when I’d come home from a gig playing three hours of pop covers, wondering if I’d ever have an audience who wanted to hear my own original music. Adding to my inner conflict was the fact that I was feeling more fulfilled in my teaching position—to me, giving back to my community by teaching was making a bigger difference than playing cover songs for party-goers who were only half-listening. I was tired.

So, I took a break from performing for a whole year. I quit my social media. I abandoned some leads I’d been chasing. In the meantime, I fell in love, got married, reframed my priorities. Then, once my husband and I had settled in, I made the decision: I was going to make a genuine push to establish myself as a musical artist who wasn’t in it merely for self-serving or trivial reasons, but because I genuinely want to contribute something positive to the world. I want to be an artist who deliberately engages the community and facilitates opportunities to create empathy and trust. And I believe music is an essential tool in doing that, so that’s what motivates me.
What do you do, what do you specialize in, what are you known for, etc. What are you most proud of? What sets you apart from others?

These days, I perform as a solo artist most of the time. Since I play two instruments and sing, I’ve been able to accommodate a wide variety of requests—everything from classical violin solo work at a wedding to choir accompaniments to entertaining at a piano bar. Just this past weekend, I played a solo gig at a restaurant on Saturday and then as a member of a chamber orchestra at a church on Sunday. The varied work is a welcome challenge for me since I get to flex different creative and artistic muscles for every opportunity that comes my way.

My signature sound as a solo artist involves creating accompaniments live with my violin using my looper and effects pedal, then singing along with the track I’ve just created. I love to create new, fresh takes on songs people love, whether it’s an Elvis hit or a charting single from Maroon 5. Performing music on violin in this way is fairly unusual—people are surprised to discover how much I can do with just my violin and voice.

In the midst of all this, I still find time to work on original music. I’m currently working on an album to be titled, “A Wilderness of Mirrors.” It’ll be a while before it’s done, but little by little, I intend to release tracks gradually on social media and ultimately host an album release party when it’s complete.

What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
A couple of summers ago I played a song for a group of elementary school kids. It doesn’t sound like much, but it was a big moment for me, and here’s why: When I was in fifth grade, my school, Ruth C. Kinney Elementary (located in East Islip, New York), held a contest. The faculty was looking for a tune to serve as the school song, so students were invited to submit their ideas. My song, “Learning is the Way Here at R.C.K.,” was selected as the winning entry.

Several years passed. Then in 2017, I was contacted out of the blue by my former music teacher, Malgorzata Strzelecka. She informed me that R.C.K. would be celebrating its fiftieth anniversary and hoped I would be able to participate as the writer of the official school song. Because of the distance, she suggested participating via video chat as an option, but I knew that wasn’t going to be enough for me. So, I flew to New York and personally attended the celebration, and the fifth grade Class of 2017 sang the school song for me. Then, I had the opportunity to perform an original song for the kids and their parents and tell them how much the school orchestra and music programs meant to me. It was such a delight to be able to share my story and connect with students at my former school, and I hope to share many more special experiences like this with families and communities and the future.

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