Her name is Bond...Sage Bond. She isn't licensed to kill, but she's been known to steal the show, and after a brush with The Voice she's resolved to knock 'em dead on American Idol.
It's hard to think of the average 20 year old as a veteran anything, but Bond is far from average. "I have been singing for the past seven years," she says. "I started when I was in 8th grade. I'm 20, right now. I feel old. A lot of people think I'm older." The rising star is already quite accomplished and highly-regarded in the Navajo Nation. But, her ambitions and reputation are quickly expanding.
"I'm in demand for entertainment on the rez, she says, "but I went to Denver last year to audition for The Voice, and I try to go to California every year just to do open mics and stuff. I do acoustic alternative and classic rock covers, and metal. People sometimes call it 'metal,' but it's all acoustic. It's just me and my guitar. I get a lot of Janis Joplin and Stevie Nicks comparisons. I started out [with] metal. When I was eight years old, I picked up my electric guitar and I tried to mimic Metallica songs. I started out playing "Enter Sandman" and I do Megadeth covers on my acoustic, now. And I still do Metallica covers when I collaborate with a metal band."
Sage did not start her music career by accident. She has always known what she wanted to do. "Growing up, I was in a musical family," she explains. "My dad plays guitar, and my mom sings. So she would sing all the time, and my grandpa would play guitar and harmonica. Yeah, I always wanted to be on stage. Back in about second or third grade, the teachers gave us this project: What do you want to be when you grow up? I put, 'I want to be in a band, and I want to be on stage.'" Her original songs are very personal and autobiographical, but she feels very comfortable performing in front of her people. "I can talk about whatever," she says. "My songs are often about my dad. When I introduce my songs, I talk about the alcoholism and about the domestic violence a lot of the people out here can relate to because that's happened in their families. Sometimes I get nervous because I see people that look mean, or they look like they're not gonna be satisfied with my singing. But, once I get done with my set, they're like 'Oh, you're a good singer.' I'm thinking that maybe I'm too comfortable, playing just here on the rez. And that's making me nervous to go to American Idol."
Sage Bond photographed by Sal Gomez.
Auditioning for a spot on a nationally-televised show is not as glamorous as it might seem, but does have intrinsic value. "It was fun, but it's a lot of waiting, about six hours of standing there and waiting. You meet a lot of other musicians and singers. People are singing right next to you because they're practicing. It's kinda weird. I felt funny standing there, because I wanted to practice too. But I didn't wanna just hang on the street singing. In my group, none of us made it through. That was it. About six hours of waiting for 30 seconds of audition."
Not getting selected for The Voice was disappointing, but not discouraging for Bond. She plans to submit an audition tape for American Idol soon. "It's gonna help me as far as what to expect. You've got to have the look, and you've got to have the personality. The reason I didn't want to audition before was because of the letdown after The Voice. You travel all that way, and it feels like it was for nothing. But it's not, because of the experience." While she is thankful for that experience, Bond was not satisfied with just being there. "People are like 'if you don't make it, it's okay.' And, I hate hearing that. If I do it, I want to win. I don't want to sound too cocky, but I do want to win." She isn't really sure what song she'll sing for this next audition, but she has some ideas about what the judges may want to see. "Something that shows range, maybe an Adele cover. I know I can do blues. Metal isn't really in demand for American Idol. But if I do make it, I'm gonna try to push it out there."
Bond has been performing throughout the southwest. She was a featured performer at Jir Anderson's Native Guitars series. She recently shared the stage with The Plateros, and was also featured during the Monument Valley Music Festival, alongside James and Ernie, Ethnic Degeneration and many of Indian Country's other premier performers. She will be the headline entertainment at this year's Miss Native American pageant on August 8 in Tempe, Arizona. Her music is available at: reverbnation.com/sagebond or directly from her.