Sunday 11 November 2012

Rhonda Merrick - They Said Bon Jovi Died Today

I do tend to arrive a little late to the party. It's almost the end of 2012, and today I discovered what Rhonda Merrick spent each day of 2011 doing.

Born in New Orleans but currently living here in England, Rhonda Merrick - having decided that becoming a musician was something she really wanted to do - made it her mission to record a song everyday throughout 2011 and as a result has given herself several hours of material to sort, review, critique, and possibly rerecord to a standard suitable for broadcast. Given the nature of her undertaking, the often improv-style of her writing, and the raw setup of her own home-studio the quality of those daily musical moments varies in both the audio and the content, but there's no denying her motivation and commitment, and her thousands of fans appreciated her perseverance and frankness when watching her go through the whole process.

Her music is bluesy, soulful, jazzy, and she lists many of the greats as her musical inspiration: Aretha Franklin, Mahalia Jackson, Janis Joplin, Marvin Gaye. When it comes to what she writes about Rhonda is sparked by everything around her from news reports, celebrities, and self-harm to natural-disasters, sexuality and throwaway messages online. The song that struck a chord with many of her listeners and has since been rerecorded with a video to accompany it, is '27 Club': a song written on the night Amy Winehouse died.

Of the few tunes that I have made my way through so far, the one that I have particularly enjoyed is 'They Said Bon Jovi Died Today'. A song written following a false online report, it speaks of the lies within a relationship and the positivity in moving on, and was the 354th song for that year. I like the Jovi reference, I love Rhonda's soulful vocals, and it feels more substantial and complete that some of her other work.

As far as I am aware, 'They Said Bon Jovi Died Today' has yet to be rerecorded or shared anywhere else except on Rhonda' own website. The link below directs you to the page featuring the audio player and lyrics for the song, though I must sadly warn you that the website isn't the easiest to view or navigate. However, it is well worth ignoring the site's aesthetics and instead just take notice of the music whilst remembering that it is just a demo so the audio is a little rough at times.

'They Said Bon Jovi Died Today' :

I hope to hear more from Rhonda Merrick as she continues to write, perform and release music.

"Audiences like their blues singers to be miserable" - Janis Joplin


  1. What an utterly lovely article! Thank you. You're right 'Bon Jovi' hasn't been touched since the day I wrote it. I was working part-time for about half of the project and I'm a single mum of a very lively disabled little boy. He's the reason I was home. I taught myself to make a website, it took months to figure out how to launch it and I've lost about 4 or 5. It's a trainwreck. Two years on, I've found a web designer I can afford who can transform it all and clean it up! As of this past week-end, I'm in a band and one of my bandmates has a studio to record the raw sessions, but we'll send the wav files out for mixing and mastering. I've had 3 Grammy winning Producers offer to help out and one of 'em offered mates rates! It's an odd place to be, chatting with BBC and NY Times Journalists and riding the bus! I don't know what I'll do with the absolute originals. I think they should be archived somehow, but I don't want to confuse people when we finally get them properly produced and recorded. I have a team to help me figure that out. Please let's stay in touch. I'll send you my debut album when it's ready. I've already had a radio presenter ask to come monitor our progress on the album! We don't start til next week. It's a them album called 'HIM' it follows the love-cycle of a man and a woman. I got the idea from Aretha Franklin and Marvin Gaye's album 'I never loved another man like you'. See you in cyber-space x Rhonda @RhondasSongs

    1. Thank you for taking the time to comment :) Sounds like it is a very exciting time for you and I look forward to hearing the final songs. Yes, I think it would be nice if the original songs could still be available in some form, whilst obviously not confusing people who are looking to buy the "finished product" - perhaps an area on your website that covers your song-a-day in 2011?

  2. 'them' should be 'theme' album

  3. My goodness has it been nearly two years? We've evolved into a band Rhonda and The Great Unknown.
    If you're ever around in a place we're gigging... I hope you'll come say hello.

    See you around. xRhonda