Lose expectations before listening to Bonne Finken

Not much can get in the way of Bonne Finken and her passion for making soul infused tunes, including cancer. Check out BryAnn’s story on Bonne Finken and how her battle with cancer helped her fuel her passion for music.

Lose expectations before listening to Bonne Finken by BryAnn Becker for Argus Leader

Nothing can stand in Bonne Finken’s way.

The 30-year-old singer/songwriter from Des Moines moved out of her apartment to save money to record her first album, “Soul on Display.” Finken, a single mom, stayed with friends and family for about a year, and the album was released in July.

When some musicians and fans had different expectations for how “Soul on Display” should have sounded, Finken responded with her new album’s title, “Expectation Fall,” to be released this fall.

“Basically, just drop your expectations,” Finken says about the title – don’t expect her sound to be pigeonholed into any particular genre.

Bonne Finken and the Collective will perform Friday at Club David. The Collective consists of Josh Schryver (keyboards/piano), Jamie Mahan (bass guitar) and Adam Ross (drums).

Like many aspiring musicians, Finken always had wanted to be a singer. But it took a brush with cancer for her to pursue it.

“When I got the cancer, it did drive home (the thought), ‘What do you want to do?’ ” Finken says.

Finken was diagnosed with cancer in her early 20s. During her last round of treatment, at age 25, she realized she had a second chance at life. She remembers going through a major surgery in May 2005 and then getting the “clean bill of health,” she says.

“It didn’t hit me that I had a second shot at life,” until after her doctors said the cancer was gone, Finken says. “I got the thumbs up, so to speak.”

Finken began singing in a series of bands: rap group Tandem Dynamics, R&B pop group Final Mix, rock group 3 a.m. and disco band Wheningroovia.

She learned cover songs of artists, including Led Zeppelin, Janis Joplin, Donna Summer and Top 40 musicians, including Alicia Keys and Kelly Clarkson.

When Finken recorded her first album, she pulled from the styles she had learned in those four bands. On the track “Sweetness,” Finken used a hip-hop chorus that she wrote while in Tandem Dynamics. Fans have commented that “Childhood Dreams (Shades of White)” sounds like Janis Joplin.

“I didn’t think, going into it, ‘It will be an alternative rock or R&B album,’ ” she says.

The result is a debut album that crosses multiple genres.

Some people who associated her name with those other bands were surprised that “Soul on Display” didn’t have a sound that matched, for example, Final Mix. “Those were popular bands,” she says. “Somebody knew me as the ’3 a.m. girl’ and expected (the album) to be more rock.”

Finken still plans to stick with her soulful style that may include rap, funk, rock and pop elements in any given song.

“I do feel like I want to keep doing things how I want to do them,” she says. “I feel pressured to (stick with one style), but I’m not going to.”

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