Singer and Recording Artist

Mariah Bonner

“My family is artistic and musical, so that was just part of our family culture. I started ballet at seven and continued until I left home for acting school at 18. I’ve always loved to sing and took a few lessons when I was younger. In my teens, I was scouted as a model, and auditioned for and attended the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London after high school. Music was always part of what I was doing and it’s part of who I’ve become.

In 2015, I produced my first short film. I was also in the film. That was the first time I had a chance to experience what it is like to be behind the scenes. I thought I would be overwhelmed, but I realized I had learned so much from being in front of the camera. Now I’m able to see how acting, producing and directing all flow together.

I’m producing and recording my second album right now. And I’m about to release my second music video which I also produced and directed, so it’s been exciting for me to be a singer, actress, director, and stylist. Being part of all the elements that go into creating the art. 

Making the decision to leave Los Angeles was difficult, but I would say that coming back to Baltimore has been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. 

Baltimore is home. It’s where I was born, and it is very special to me. My parents lived near Druid Hill Park when I was born, and my father based his business in a townhouse on Mount Vernon’s West Square. Although we loved Reservoir Hill, now our family lives in Mount Vernon – on one of the most beautiful squares in America!

When I moved back, I was able to meet other artists whom I can really collaborate with. I felt like I came into my own as an artist in many ways.

While the work is still challenging, there are other artists, designers, videographers, photographers, and editors that I’ve met and whom I’m able to collaborate with.

Before I decided to leave Los Angeles, I felt like I kept hitting a wall, that had me wondering if there was something I needed to change. Everybody has that in life at some point, and I wasn’t quite sure how to go about it. It never occurred to me to go back to Baltimore. I just didn’t think it would be an option. 

During that time, I was talking to a close friend who was an actress too and she said, “Why don’t you just go back for a little bit? Take some time off.” Sometimes you get these lightbulb moments where you go, ‘that’s exactly what I need to do’. It was so simple after that. I didn’t know how long it would be, but it’s been three years. 

One of my teachers at the Guildhall would say “cancel and continue.” When you’re on stage, if you miss your cue, you have to be in the moment and go on. You can’t sit there and think, ‘Oh, no. Why did I do that? I’m so sorry. Everybody, hang on while I get myself together.’ No, you cancel and continue. I think that’s the same with life. You have these hiccups, challenges, you make mistakes, you acknowledge them and move on.

The person who has had the greatest influence in my life was my grandmother. She was always kind and gentle and encouraging. She loved movies – she grew up in Baltimore, walking to the movie palaces on North Avenue. We must have watched hundreds of movies together. I entertained her and her sister, who both lived with us, by reenacting the scenes, and she’d encourage me. When I was in Los Angeles, she wrote me letters, which are still precious to me. She went to Milan with me when I was modeling. I was very, very close to her. She always believed in me. She was fun, open to life, she believed in

dreams and going after them.”

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