If youíre a fan of contemporary Christian music, then you know Bonnie Keen. As one of the founding members of the popular vocal group, "First Call," she has spent the past decade inspiring audiences with her heartfelt faith and expert vocals. First Callís twelve recordings have received critical acclaim, earning 5 Grammy nominations and 3 Dove Awards, with 11 Dove nominations in all. She has written numerous Top-Ten radio singles for the group, including "Sweet Love", and "Broken Places" and has performed on the well-received "Young Messiah" and "Saviour" tours.
Avid First Call fans also know that Bonnie started out as a Nashville studio session singer... eventually reaching the enviable "first call" status. Producers had her at the top of their list of session vocalists. She was given the opportunity to work with such top Christian artists as Amy Grant, Michael W. Smith and Rich Mullins. As well as such mainstream artists as Steve Winwood and Barry Manilow. Desiring to share her faith in a wider arena, she joined forces with two fellow session singers, and "First Call" was born
But even those who have followed her career from the beginning will be surprised at what they donít know about Bonnie Keen: the books she is writing; her love of acting and the theater; the comedy sketches sheís been writing for years but hasnít found a place for yet. Her personal life too, has undergone dramatic changes behind the scenes, including the devastation of divorce, a battle with depression, and the challenge of balancing her career with her duties as a single parent.
Bonnie admits, "it has been a very powerful experience, and God is getting me ready for something, preparing me to share what I have been through". "The hardest thing for me to realize was that I was a human being, and thatís why Christ died. Other people need to hear that there are people sitting in churches who are hurting."
With a true desire to help others, Bonnie has chosen to share her personal journey through her music and her writing. Her first solo cd, is a culmination of many years of music written to encourage. All ten songs reveal a strong, passionate heart... once broken but now healed by the steadfast hand of a merciful God. The cd also happens to be produced by Bonnieís new husband, Brent King and features the vocal talent of Marty McCall and Russ Taff.
Her first book is a compilation of her journal entries over the past ten years. Through the book, Bonnie hopes to reach out to those who have suffered through divorce, depression, betrayal or just a season of losing faith. "More than anything," Bonnie says, "I want to be a voice of hope and empathy for those who feel pulled toward despair. I want to try to be a point that turns them back toward believing that, as a child of God, they are marked for life." She goes on to explain, "I am at a point now where I am supposed to talk about the thing so many of us have gone through but are afraid to talk about. God has called me to be transparent. That is my job as an artist. To me, connecting with an audience, laughing with them, feeling what they are going through and giving them hope -- thatís what itís all about."
Along with a new solo cd and her next book, Bonnieís future includes more solo engagements, perhaps incorporating monologue, comedy, music and drama. She will also continue to tour and record with Marty McCall as ĎFirst Callí. Along with best friend/writer Tori Taff, there are plans for a book for the general marketplace. But no matter what format her creativity takes, one thing is for sure: her vision for ministry is the focal point of everything she does.
Her Christmas CDs include:
Beyond December (1995)
In The Quiet Of A Silent Night
Child In The Manger
What Child Is This
After December Slips Away
Born A Sacrifice
See Amid The Winter Snow
Heaven's Coming Down
In The Bleak Midwinter
The Little Road To Bethlehem
Evening in December II (1987)
Carol of the Bells
I Heard the Bells
I'll Be Home For Christmas
It All Began in Bethlehem
Both are available from Julie Rose Music, Franklin, TN
Source: The Bonnie Keen Web Site