The oldest of four sons, Jesse was born in Pittsburgh, PA in 1983 and eventually settled in Albany, NY. Born into a family of musicians, including his brother and fellow artist, Cory Bonanno, Jesse began playing piano by ear as soon as he could get himself up on piano bench at the age of three. His parents loved to travel with their sons and Jesse would often be seen “playing piano” on his suitcase while waiting in airports and hotels. Seeing creativity and natural musical talent, his mother let him and his brothers out of their chores in exchange for reading or playing the instruments. In school, at the age of 8, Jesse heard a recording of Pachobel’s Cannon in D. He was overwhelmed with the beauty of Handel’s composition and rushed home to the piano to play the entire piece after hearing it only once.
Jesse attended South Colonie Schools and spent his early days at Shaker Elementary, Sand Creek Middle and Colonie High Schools. He was fortunate to have many talented and dedicated music teachers who inspired and encouraged his music interests. Jesse started playing viola in the orchestra in third grade and continued until his senior year when he composed and conducted an original orchestral piece, “Voyage of a Dreamer”. Jesse performed in various talent shows, competitions, church music groups and orchestras throughout New York State. After being encouraged to develop his voice, he joined a select choir, “Voices of Harmony”. Not surprisingly, he was voted “Most Musical” in his senior year at Colonie High and started a neighborhood band, “Oakwood Drive”. When he wasn’t practicing and performing music, he played a variety of sports and enjoyed being captain of the varsity soccer team.
Just before entering college, Jesse connected to Lee Waddell of Piano Man Productions, who took him under his wing and hired Jesse to play at weddings and various business/social venues. In 2001, Jesse attended The Crane School of Music in Potsdam, NY and studied Viola Performance and Music Business. He performed in symphonic and chamber orchestras, became president of the Music Business Student Organization (MEISA) and wrote his first song, “See You There”. Ultimately, Jesse decided to leave The Crane School of Music and transferred to Clarkson University to study Business Management. He had decided to pursue a different type of music career and more lucrative professional goals. In the spring of 2006, Clarkson University’s “Club 99” booked Jesse to play his first open mike. They gave him the 1:00 am time slot. He sang to an audience of only five people. By the next week, the word spread of his talent and he quickly became a primary act.
While at Clarkson University, Jesse moved to Orange County, California to work at Yamaha as a Marketing Intern. He purchased his first Yamaha synthesizer, Motif ES 7 and used it to self-produce a full-length album, “Say You Will” released in 2006 with the help of engineer, Chris Stein of Oakwood Recording Company. The feedback from this debut album was impressive. Jesse was interviewed and performed on Fox News, B95.5 radio station and ASF Radio featured him as Artist of the Month. In 2008, the TV series, Whitaker Bay (ION Network) featured “With You Tonight” one of the tracks on “Say You Will”.
Jesse Bonanno enjoys proficiently playing a number of instruments.. He is trained on the viola and self-taught on the piano, synthesizer, guitar and violin. His voice is smooth and emotional and comfortable moves into higher ranges. For writing and composing songs, the piano is his instrument of choice. His music is generally inspired by real life experiences and created through feeling and listening rather than formal music theory. His first album, “Say You Will” reflects an easy listening, adult contemporary style. His newest EP, “Check Please” released in November 2008, is more pop/rock in style.
During the day Jesse works as a Oracle IT analyst for Dresser-Rand Co. in Houston, TX.
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