Rock star returns to teach Bay Area teens the biz

Article Contributed by gratefulweb | Published on Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Bonnie Hayes has toured with Billy Idol and Belinda Carlisle, opened for Huey Lewis & The News, and written chart-topping tunes for Cher, Adam Ant, Bette Midler, Natalie Cole, David Crosby and others, including two hits on Bonnie Raitt’s Grammy Award-winning Album of the Year, “Nick of Time”.  A rock star in her own right, Bonnie Hayes is coming home to teach the art of songwriting at Blue Bear School of Music. This is the same school where she and her highly acclaimed brothers launched their careers while still in their teens. Chris Hayes went on to be the lead guitarist for Huey Lewis & The News, and Kevin Hayes was drummer for the Robert Cray Band.

“Blue Bear was the most important thing that happened to us in terms of our musical development. We started a band -- me and my two brothers -- and we became working musicians.” Bonnie Hayes remembers how Blue Bear’s teachers encouraged them to study music and practice their craft.

Singer/songwriter Salem Ilese, whose hit single “Mad at Disney” peaked at #67 on Billboard’s Global 200 and Rolling Stone’s Top 100 Popular Song list in 2020, began taking classes with Bonnie Hayes at Blue Bear School of Music when she was just 10. Now at 22, Salem has 265 million hits on Spotify, 53 million likes on TikTok and 3.8 million followers on Instagram @salemilese. Salem attributes her musical career to her first songwriting teacher whom she followed across the country to Berklee College of Music where Bonnie Hayes was Chair of the Songwriting Department for the past nine years.

“Everyone has a song in them that’s dying to get out,” says Hayes who also taught at the Song School in Lyons, Colorado. Hayes is coming back to the Bay Area to help nurture the next generation of songwriters, adding, “We want to make successful songwriters and successful musicians, but the soul of it is in the connection to others and the good it does in the world. Music makes communities stronger, and it makes people more soulful, which is what we want.”

Bay Area teens will have the opportunity to work with the legendary Bonnie Hayes in a series of songwriting workshops for grades 6-12 starting on September 22. This program has rolling enrollment so teens can enter any time.