The Bonner Family Influence: How Music Changes Lives

Ever since Harry and Debra Bonner married nearly 40 years ago, they’ve enjoyed creating music with their family. They didn’t know, however, how much it would impact their lives and the lives of others around them.

Throughout their marriage, the Bonner parents found it important to teach their children about Jesus Christ and His teachings, as well as the joys that come from creating, producing, and performing music. 

With this in mind, each member of the Bonner family has embarked on his or her own professional career, with a lot of them having to do with music. Some are vocal coaches or recording artists, and others are teachers or in musical theater. They use their talents to share their love of music and their love of God with others.

Who is the Bonner Family?

The Bonner Family is a group of singers that enjoy creating the sounds of peace, joy, and unity and consists of eight children; Nolong, Yunga, Mauli, Clotile, Yahosh, Conlon, Oyoyo, and Oba; and their two parents, Debra and Harry. 

Debra Bonner, the matriarch of the Bonner Family, is a world-renowned vocal coach , professional soloist, and the inventor of DebraTone. She is the director and owner of the Unity Gospel Choir and the executive director for the nonprofit organization Transforming Flint.

Photo credit: Bonner Family Official Facebook Page

Photo credit: Bonner Family Official Facebook Page

“My mother first came to know Jesus Christ through being a member of a Baptist choir in her hometown of Flint, Michigan, and has been a vocal coach ever since,” said Yahosh Bonner, one of the eight Bonner children.

Before joining The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Debra and Harry were active members of the Baptist church, even serving as Baptist missionaries for two years in Libera, West Africa

Heeding the voice of the Spirit, Debra and Harry Bonner returned from their mission back to the United States. After they returned, they had the impression to move west. So, with $100, a three-year-old, a one-year-old, and being seven months pregnant with their next child, Debra and Harry Bonner relocated to Las Vegas.

It was there that a Latter-day Saint bishop took them in and introduced them to the Church.

While the Bonner Family has always enjoyed creating music together, their wider audience recognition came from an original song they wrote for Mother’s Day. Harry, the Bonner Family patriarch, requested that the whole family get together to sing to his wife and their mother.

Mauli Bonner composed the original song “I Am Here” for this special event. All the siblings came from different parts of the country and spent one day recording it together. Subsequently, the Mormon Channel saw their video and asked if they could share it.

I Am Here” has since influenced over half a million people. The Bonner Family has blessed many lives with their ability to share the gospel through their music. 

The Bonner Family has been working hard on their first ever EP, available in stores now.

“I Say Unto You, BE ONE”

n June 2018, the Bonner Family had the privilege of performing at the “Be One” event alongside Gladys Knight and Alex Boye. The “Be One” event was a First Presidency-sponsored, Church-wide celebration of the revelation that extended all worthy men in the Church the ability to receive the priesthood.

Photo Credit: Bonner Family Official Facebook page

Photo Credit: Bonner Family Official Facebook page

“We are brothers and sisters in every sense of the word. . . . We are His children, created in His image. We don't look alike. That's good. We have individual identities, spiritually and physically, but we are His children,” said President Russell M. Nelson, President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

He continued, “Differences in culture, language, gender, race, and nationality fade into insignificance as the faithful enter the covenant path and come unto our beloved Redeemer. [May we] overcome any burdens of prejudice and walk uprightly with God—and with one another—in perfect peace and equity.”

Debra also had the opportunity to perform with The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square (formally known as the Mormon Tabernacle Choir). The entire family was most recently asked to sing and film the music video for the song “Child of God,”  a song for the new Jane and Emma movie soundtrack.

The Bonner Family’s First Album

The Bonner Family’s new self-titled EP features their expertly crafted vocal harmonies and soulful original songs. Their goal is to truly share the message, “We need Him, and He is here.”

Photo Credit: Bonner Family Official Facebook page

Photo Credit: Bonner Family Official Facebook page

This EP includes six original songs and a medley of some of the most beloved children’s hymns. Each member of the Bonner Family contributes his or her own unique sense of style and creativity to the music. 

My vision is to transform a new generation of leaders,” said Debra Bonner, “who will be encouraged to dream and acquire the tools they need to reach their highest potential through music and singing.”

The Bonner Family’s EP is available now.

Meet Madilyn Paige: Singer, Artist, Role Model

Watch her new music video now!

Meet Madilyn Paige, one of today’s biggest Latter-day Saint pop singer-songwriters. Madilyn devotes her talent to youth and young adults, hoping her inspirational messages will help them see their true worth.

Madilyn’s pitch-perfect vocals, original songwriting abilities, and genuine personality make her the role model we want for ourselves and others. From her love of photography to her hatred of spiders, Madilyn’s relatable nature makes it easy for everyone to feel like her friend.

Raising the Bar on The Voice

Photo Credit: LDS Living

Photo Credit: LDS Living

After living in Japan for a brief period as a young child, Madilyn returned to Provo, Utah, where she primarily grew up. Upon returning to the United States, she started focusing more on songwriting and her music career

Madilyn has stated that inspiration for some of her music comes from the struggles she faced as a teenager, including issues of self-worth, positivity, and learning not to compare herself to others. 

In 2014, at the age of 16, Madilyn appeared on season six of NBC’s The Voice. She was eventually selected for coach Blake Shelton’s team and became a top-20 finalist before being eliminated. 

Madilyn found strength to stand up for her beliefs during her experience on The Voice. When other contestants would drink or smoke after performances or costume designers would present her with immodest clothing options, she upheld her standards and values.

An Influence for Good

Photo Credit: Time Out for Women

Photo Credit: Time Out for Women

Using the experiences she gained from The Voice, Madilyn has been able to use her influence for good. She enjoys speaking and singing at Young Women camps and church firesides as well as being a presenter at Time Out for Women and Time Out for Girls, a Latter-day Saint event meant to inspire and uplift women of all faiths.

In 2015, Time Out for Women participated in The Connections Project. Many of the Utah-based TOFW and TOFG staff, presenters, and their families helped resettle a refugee family relocating to Utah.

Madilyn, as one of the presenters helping with this project, joined this group of women, along with her mom and sisters, in helping reestablish this family in their new home.

“We arrived to an empty apartment, with different pieces of furniture and decorations that people had donated,” Madilyn said in an LDS Living article. “At first, it seemed difficult to picture all the random things coming together, but once we all began to place the furnishings everything just worked.”

She continued, “I love doing things like this, and when I do, I know that for a moment my hands become the Lord’s hands. Being a part of this great service opportunity opened my eyes and allowed me to see those around me differently.”

Madilyn continues her relationship with Time Out for Women and Time Out for Girls by speaking at their events in locations around the world.

A Fast Friendship

Another one of the great opportunities that comes with her position of influence is the ability to pair up with others in fighting a force for good. In Madilyn’s case, that has meant a friendship with another singing competition sensation, fellow Latter-day Saint artist David Archuleta.

Photo Credit: Spencer Ryan Photo

Photo Credit: Spencer Ryan Photo

Madilyn and David became fast friends when he recruited her to sing the song “Seasons” with him. Because of David’s time on American Idol in 2008 and Madilyn’s time on The Voice, they were able to relate to each other on a level no one else could.

With a friendship formed, Madilyn opened for one of David Archuleta’s concerts in November 2017, a night that he recalls included a standing ovation and a roaring crowd. 

David is featured on Madilyn’s new album, Anymore, available now in stores and online. When Madilyn co-wrote all of the music on her album she wanted the songs to feature bold messages about self-worth, positivity, and finding inner strength. Listen to a sample of the album here.

Finding an inspirational role model you can believe in can be a difficult undertaking. But Madilyn Paige doesn’t disappoint. Her music is inspiring, her smile is infectious, and her attitude is empowering. Let her music help you feel your worth. 

Madilyn’s new album Anymore is available now.