Jamie Bonk is a Canadian guitarist/songwriter living in Vancouver, BC. Best known for his instrumental Jazz releases, he has over the last few years focused on the folk and singer/songwriter genres. Drawing musical and lyrical inspiration from iconic artists like Jackson Browne, Paul Simon, Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell, Jamie lends his own perspective to the rich tradition of songwriting and performance.
He started his musical life at age four on the piano. A few years later after seeing Johnny Cash on TV, he chose to play the guitar. Over the next 10 to 15 years, he took guitar lessons in styles ranging from Folk to Classical (eventually studying with Eli Kassner, Liona Boyd’s teacher) to Jazz. In his early teens, he also started writing and recording his own music.
Following high school, Jamie attended Queen’s University in Kingston, ON and earned a B.Mus in Composition. At Queen’s, his composition studies with renowned Canadian Contemporary Classical composer Istvan Anhalt and Professor Bruce Pennycook were instrumental in helping him win a Silver Medal in the electro-acoustic category of the C.A.P.A.C. competition (1986).
After Queen’s, Jamie did a little bit of everything musical. He recorded his first cassette release, Zippin’ For Now (1988), which helped garner him coverage in Keyboard Magazine and Downbeat. He played in numerous bands ranging in style from free jazz to folk-pop throughout the late 80’s and 90’s, as well as composing music for corporate videos. For six and a half years (1990-97), he was an Associate Guitar Instructor at the Toronto Guitar Institute.
Jamie Bonk, his self-titled debut CD, which was released in 1997 in Canada and in early 1998 in the U.S., received considerable airplay. In addition to being New Age Voice’s (NAV) Radio Album of the Year for 1999, Jamie Bonk was NAV’s Airwaves Top 100 longest charting CD, staying on the charts for 18 consecutive months. Jamie Bonk was also the longest charting CD in the top ten (8 months) and the longest charting CD in the top twenty (14 months). His second album, A Perfect Tomorrow, debuted at number one on NAV’s Airwaves Top 100 in 2000 and remained in the top 20 for six consecutive months.
Both Jamie Bonk and A Perfect Tomorrow were played on many in-flight audio programs. Airlines that have programmed his music include: Asiana, TWA, US Airways, American, America West and Canadian. Air Canada used Jamie Bonk in its entirety as boarding music during 1998. Additionally, his music has been programmed by Pandora, Spotify, Sirius Satellite Radio, XM Radio, AEI Music, DMX USA, DMX Canada, Music Choice, Music Choice Europe, DX Radio Network, Galaxie/ExpressVu and Echo Star.
In 2003, he became a contributing editor for New Age Reporter (now Zone Music Reporter). His artist-to-artist conversation series featured many top name artists in the contemporary instrumental genre.
Jamie’s third album, My World (released August 2004), won two (New Age Reporter) NAR LifeStyle Music Awards for: Album of the Year and Best Instrumental Album – Acoustic. My World blended his fluid acoustic guitar playing with performances from keyboardist Sonya Mitlewski, guitarist Peter Janson and vocalists Ron Scott and Shelley Hamilton. The album featured a cover of the Bee Gees’ “Nights On Broadway” as well as the Ron Scott penned “If This Is Love” and the Janson/Bonk composition “Waiting For Winter”. My World spent two months (September and October 2004) at number one on the NAR Top 100 Radio Chart.
From 2005 to 2010, he conducted an ongoing series of seminars for Apple focusing on digital recording. Using his knowledge as a producer and songwriter, he demonstrated the inner workings of Logic, MainStage and GarageBand. In 2009, he was (and still is) endorsed by Godin Guitars.
Jamie recorded his fourth album, 5 (released June 2007), over a three year period and was joined on the album by two outstanding instrumentalists, flugelhornist Jeff Oster and pianist Loren Gold (The Who/Kenny Loggins). St. Joseph Street (released September 2009) was his fifth album. Named after the Toronto street he lived on for more than 20 years, this four song digital-only EP featured, in addition to his own guitar playing, performances by bassist Henrik Bridger, drummers Dave Patel and Peter Zakarow, vocalist Wendy Irvine and flutist Bill McBirnie. St. Joseph Street drew on a multitude of styles including Jazz, Chill and Pop. June 2010 saw the release of his sixth album, Side B. As the title suggests, Side B showed a different side to his music making — the focus on this record was electronic and orchestral textures.
Along with vocalist Wendy Irvine and drummer Dave Patel, he formed the folk-pop band Sixteen Different Minds and in 2011 they released their debut album, Dancing Castles. Augmenting the core band of Wendy, Dave and Jamie, Dancing Castles included strong performances from bassist Steve Zsirai and vocalists Marsha and Melissa Irvine.
In 2012, Jamie joined the faculty at Metalworks Institute. Over his three and a half years at the school, courses he taught included: Guitar Musicianship I-VI; Songwriting Analysis; Songwriting III; Desktop Music Production I; and MIDI & Synthesis II & III.
Necessity (released November 2012) was his seventh album. On Necessity, he returned with his signature guitar work, but with a subtle twist — on this record, he focused on the electric guitar. The twelve all instrumental tracks on Necessity featured in addition to Jamie, Sonya Mitlewski (keyboards), Henrik Bridger (bass) and Dave Patel (drums). In 2013, he produced his first ever Christmas piece — an instrumental/vocal arrangement of “The First Noël”. The stellar vocals were done by Wendy Irvine with guitars by Jamie and keyboards and all orchestral parts played by Sonya Mitlewski. He is currently working some additional Christmas music for a future album.
As well as his own releases and teaching, Jamie has continued to write music for video. From 2014 to early 2016, he mixed and wrote music for the children’s cartoon “Shelly & Kelly”. The show’s YouTube channel received over 2.6 million views.
His most recent release is an uptempo single called, “Good To Be” (June 2014). The nylon string guitar based track features several musicians Jamie has worked with in the past including Sonya Mitlewski (keyboards), Henrik Bridger (bass) and Dave Patel (drums). His brother Randy directed and edited the “Good To Be” video.
To date, Jamie’s music has been played on over 700 radio stations worldwide.