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Backstage With Elias: Vincent Bonelli

This past March, I was working an event at Kleinhans, where I had a conversation with a group of people. One of them mentioned guitarist and songwriter Vincent Bonelli. The chat piqued my interest, and in the coming days, I checked out some of his work. Those same coming days also brought a shutdown of our economic and social structure, which continues to linger. Therefore, priorities changed, and this story went on the shelf.

As musicians adapt to an ever-changing societal landscape, many continue to plough through and produce new music. When I saw that Vincent was about to release new material, I thought this would be a good time to revisit.

Photo by Dave Jarosz

I caught up with the 17 year old guitarist this week to learn more him and his work. “My mom and dad aren’t musicians, but they are music lovers,” he says. He recalled listening to music all the time in the family car. “They would always listen to classic rock, especially the Eagles, and Santana.” Citing Don Felder and Carlos Santana as influences, he continued, “Some of the things I heard inspired me to pick up the guitar.”

It actually started in Pre K, where the Cambria, NY native would always sing, and basically perform.  His teacher recognized his passion for it, and suggested vocal lessons to his parents, as it was apparent this was something he was born to do. They started him on voice lessons, and it wouldn’t be long before he took the next step. “The vocal teacher would encourage me to take up an instrument, to accompany myself,” he says, which would then lead to guitar lessons at the age of 5.

He would continue to perform in school, or wherever. At one point, he would start writing original music. “I started with covers, whatever type of music I enjoyed performing,” he continues, “I started writing at the age of 11, and recorded my first album ‘Lines’ when I was 15. That was in 2018.”

His writing style has much versatility, with hints of country, and r&b inspirational sounds throughout.

His writing style has much versatility, with hints of country, and r&b inspirational sounds throughout. I personally got a strong John Mayer vibe in his music, he agreed. “John Mayer’s singing and guitar playing is a major inspiration for my music.”

Vincent is currently finishing up his latest album, self titled, and is dropping a single today called ‘Steady,’ available on Spotify and and other streaming services.

The senior from Starpoint High School ponders his next steps moving forward. “The plan is to go to college, get a degree in music business, and studio production,” he says, as he plans to make music a full time career. “It is so important to know how to market yourself and connect with your audience. I love performing, and how emotional it is for the audience.”

Vincent also continues as a student of the guitar, still taking lessons, and preparing for coming college auditions. He has great passion and depth for his craft, and strong faith to carry him as he transitions from a young novel act to fully marketable recording artist. Check out his music here.

I think back to that day in March, and I can’t help but marvel at the conversations heard within these halls. These beautiful, timeless, and grand music rooms where greatness has been seen and heard for decades – they in fact do inspire talk of the next generation of great young musicians from our hometown.

More on Vincent at

Photos by Dave Jarosz

Written by Elias Benavides

Elias Benavides

A goofy kid from Buffalo's lower west side who loved to play the guitar and loved live music. Has moved on to sound engineering, stage lighting, anything live music. Now he's writing about musicians on BR too. Why am I talking in the third person?

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