Bon Iver, or Bonnie Bear? The Internet's not sure
February 13th, 2012
05:17 PM ET

Bon Iver, or Bonnie Bear? The Internet's not sure

For the second year in a row, Grammy viewers were left scratching their heads at the Recording Academy's best new artist pick. For some, it was a question of who's more deserving, but for others it's also because they hadn't heard of the artist.

Bon Iver appears to be just as confounding as last year's best new artist winner Esperanza Spalding - or the album of the year winner Arcade Fire - as a number of inquiring viewers turned to the Web to try and figure out the identity of the best new artist Grammy holder.

The only problem is that some of those heard Bon Iver as Bonnie Bear (or Bonny Bear, Bonny Beer, Barney Bear, or Bony Bear - you get the picture).

But viewers weren't just disgusted by what they thought frontman Justin Vernon's name was, but rather that he had the nerve to take the best new artist Grammy from the likes of Nicki Minaj, J. Cole, The Band Perry or Skrillex...all while being named Bonnie Bear (or Bonny, Bony, what have you).

MTV has listed some of the choice tweets that spread across the Internet last night, including, "Who the f*** is this Teddy Bear guy who won best new artist?" and, "Who the f*** is Bonney Bear!? F*** him and his bear!!"

Nearly all outraged fans had some iteration of, "WTF is a Bonnie Bear?!!?," as exemplified by the @WhoIsBonnieBear Twitter account.

One was confident enough to tell a follower who asked via Twitter, "Who's this bum? Bearded guy on stage," that the person in question is "Bonnie Bear." (Which, coincidentally, is the name of a children's cartoon character.) Another confused viewer found the Web to be of no use, since "Bonny Iver doesn't even show up on Google Searches."

Still want more? Of course there are  "Who Is Bon Iver?" Tumblrs.

Filed under: Awards Season • Grammys

soundoff (82 Responses)
  1. google dream

    Fantastic web site. Plenty of helpful information here. I am sending it to some friends ans additionally sharing in delicious. And of course, thanks on your effort!

    June 6, 2012 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Michael

    Well, Bonnie Bear decided to congretulate Box

    February 19, 2012 at 10:13 am | Report abuse |
  3. Matt Barnes


    Learn how to say Bon Iver correctly, or you will suffer the consequences.

    February 15, 2012 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Stephanie Bonds

    bone ee-VARE is French for "good winter". Not bonny bear.

    February 14, 2012 at 10:58 pm | Report abuse |
  5. sara

    Justin Vernon is a musical genius....end of story

    February 14, 2012 at 10:22 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Seriously?

    CNN needs to get some less-ignorant writers to cover the music scene.

    February 14, 2012 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Mary

    You shouldn't have to be well-known to win a Grammy... Billboard already charts the music that's most popular on the radio.

    February 14, 2012 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
  8. arrrrgh!

    I hate Bonnie Bear!

    February 14, 2012 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
  9. JayFo

    Bon Iver is an amazing artist for Emma. Glad he won it besides hes been out for years and now if he goes mainstream, hopefully he doesnt conform to the likes of the media like GaGa or that hideous Nikki Minaj. They are Hideous!! Puke and a waste of airtime. Folk music like what Bon Iver sings, is truly inspirational and for people to misuse his name when GaGa has dressed like a freak for years and who knows what GaGa(IT) is? The United States is so clever for everyone lackluster education and morals haha

    February 14, 2012 at 1:06 pm | Report abuse |
  10. sarah

    Bon Iver: comes from the French "bon hiver", meaning "good winter"
    Many people (including myself until I saw him live and learned better) pronounce the name "Bon Eye-ver", which is incorrect.... and probably leads to all of the other names of stupidity such as "Bonnie Bear".

    His music speaks for itself, as does this article's ignorance and stupidity.
    Pretty life altering stuff, particularly the first album, For Emma, Forever Ago. I'd give it a listen.

    And I'll take him over Nikki Minaj any day.

    February 14, 2012 at 12:12 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Beavis

    Bon Iver is the group's name. Singer's name is Justin Vernon. Kind of like when everyone thought Darius Rucker was "Hootie"

    February 14, 2012 at 10:14 am | Report abuse |
  12. Freetoora

    I really don't like to slam articles, but however wrote this is an amateur (I'm biting my tongue); sorry whoever, if you are gonna cover the Grammy, or write about music for that matter, do your homework, open your mind, and don't call the guy "Bonni Bear", it makes you look like an idiot.

    February 14, 2012 at 10:06 am | Report abuse |
  13. Hipster

    I liked Bon Iver before he was cool...

    February 14, 2012 at 9:13 am | Report abuse |
  14. lildeekayjayaye

    Its good they gave the award to Bon Iver. Now their fan base will grow.

    February 14, 2012 at 9:02 am | Report abuse |
  15. Jennifer K

    People who actually thought "Bonnie Bear" won are exactly what is wrong with music today. *smacks forehead*

    February 14, 2012 at 6:08 am | Report abuse |
  16. DLARGE

    I stopped watching The Grammy's when Marc Cohn Beat Boyz 2 Men 1995. What A Joke!

    February 14, 2012 at 4:23 am | Report abuse |
  17. pete

    this just proves theres a world of great music out there other than whats on the friggin radio!

    February 14, 2012 at 4:06 am | Report abuse |
  18. Probably

    How can these types of musicians be grouped like that? Regardless of the answer; I Love Bon Iver. Congratulations Justin.

    February 14, 2012 at 2:35 am | Report abuse |
  19. InCo

    I know, my memory isn't short enough to forget the Chris Brown/Rhianna incident – which coincidently, happened almost exactly 3 yrs ago I believe. And Brown didn't smack her around, he attacked and beat her. To say he smacked her around implies that he shoved her and slapped her with an open hand. No. He attacked her – he punched her with a closed fist, gave her a black eye, caused multiple contusions on her face, split her lip, and freaking bit her! Add to that his reported temper flares and that incident when he appeared on Good Morning America, and he sounds absolutely psychotic.

    February 14, 2012 at 1:58 am | Report abuse |
  20. Jeepers

    They were on SNL. We usually listen for a bit and then "gong" them with the fast forward unless we like them.

    They got gonged.

    February 14, 2012 at 1:47 am | Report abuse |
  21. erockguitar

    Bon Iver lyrics:
    for the love, comes the burning young
    from the liver, sweating through your tongue
    well, youʼre standing on my sternum don’t you climb down darling
    oh the sermons are the first to rest
    smoke on Sundays when youʼre drunk and dressed
    out the hollows where the swallow nests

    Nikki Manaj lyrics:
    You a stupid hoe, you a, you a stupid hoe (x3)
    You a stupid hoe, (yeah) you a, you a stupid hoe
    You a stupid hoe, you a, you a stupid hoe (stupid, stupid)
    You a stupid hoe, you a, you a stupid hoe (stupid, stupid)
    You a stupid hoe, you a, you a stupid hoe (stupid, stupid)
    (stupid, stupid)


    February 14, 2012 at 12:57 am | Report abuse |
  22. erockguitar

    How could anyone aged 18 to 40 NOT know Bon Iver?! Wow. Best New Artist? Ya...of 2007. Stop listening to radio "rock" people!!! There is MUCH better stuff out there than what radio tries to throw at ya.

    February 14, 2012 at 12:50 am | Report abuse |
  23. Rangemaster

    Any of these punks happen to notice the giant pixel board behind the artist on stage as well as the obvious text during the "nominated" graphics. Hahaha, clearly the attention and retention skills of some people are seriously lacking to come up with Bonnie Bear. Clearly the other artists music that has been crammed down their throats is impacting their learning skills.

    February 14, 2012 at 12:47 am | Report abuse |
  24. Kel

    Who hasn't heard of Bon Iver? Seriously, he's not obscure at all.

    February 14, 2012 at 12:21 am | Report abuse |
  25. quicksloth

    Who do you consider "original"? Name your candidates. Almost certainly they are derivative of a handful, at least, of previous musicians. "Originality" is a false god worshipped by people with a limited frames of reference.

    February 14, 2012 at 12:17 am | Report abuse |
    • quicksloth

      The previous comment was supposed to be a reply to "Allison" above, who correctly pointed out that Bon Iver isn't terribly "original". That may be essentially true but it's also not very important.

      February 14, 2012 at 12:24 am | Report abuse |
  26. shannon

    This is one of the silliest, narrow-minded articles i've read in a while. As a huge fan of BON IVER for the last two years, I was shocked that he was nominated...and not in a bad way. I was surprised that the industry would finally recognize him for the great artist and story teller that he is. Seriously...people are upset that he beat out Nicki Minaj? Please. In order to write a well-thought out article, it might be beneficial to actually listen to him. So, when you don't understand someone, the idea is to make fun of their name? Bravo!

    February 14, 2012 at 12:00 am | Report abuse |
    • comeon

      The writer wasn't making fun of the name. They were commenting on the how the internet is blowing up b/c most people don't know who Justin Vernon or Bon Iver are. There were 1000s of tweets from people thinking someone named Bonny Bear had won the award. It's a critic on the uneducated masses if anything.

      February 14, 2012 at 12:53 am | Report abuse |
  27. Ralph

    Bon Iver is a great artist. The Grammy's are a joke, much like this article.

    February 13, 2012 at 11:50 pm | Report abuse |
  28. Charlie Sheen

    I love Bon jovi. I also love ultravoxx, did they win too?

    February 13, 2012 at 11:48 pm | Report abuse |
  29. Charlie Sheen


    February 13, 2012 at 11:47 pm | Report abuse |
  30. Steven

    Vernon is a spectacular artist who has been on the scene for many years, however the (new artist) tag he received is baffling as he seemed to continue to fly under the radar as most truly talented performers seem to these days. If anything they should retroactively award him an album of the year for "For Emma, Forever Ago" as it is the pinnacle of his catalogue. As stated I find these article to be a poor example of music journalism as the writer could have at least researched Bon Iver and discussed Justin Vernon's music instead of pasting the tweets of 16 year olds as reported by MTV. (Journalism, or TMZ? This arm of CNN is not sure.)

    Good day.

    February 13, 2012 at 11:34 pm | Report abuse |
  31. stanley

    How many black won last nigh i will not look at that mass know more .

    February 13, 2012 at 11:09 pm | Report abuse |
  32. girl

    This article made me laugh out loud at how ignorant people are to what is pure, raw talent! Justin Vernon is an incredible poet. If people only knew the history behind his first album 'For Emma, Forever Ago,' they would see that Bon Iver is a truly unique and special group worth giving a listen to.

    February 13, 2012 at 10:44 pm | Report abuse |
  33. Susan

    I'm amazed that this article was actually posted on cnn. I really hope that the author isn't supposed to know anything about music; popular or otherwise. If not, job well done!

    February 13, 2012 at 10:42 pm | Report abuse |
  34. JR

    Nikki Minaj shoulda won best new teen pop rap artist

    February 13, 2012 at 10:26 pm | Report abuse |
  35. Zach

    Im sorry but who ever wrote this article is obviously not in touch with with Americas younger generations i didn't know any of the people or bands that the author said should win. Bon Iver is awesome and i know how to correctly say his name and its defintly not Bonnie bear if thats what you really need to work on your hearing. overall i thought this article was very rude to a new and upcoming artist. and from alot of the responses i think many agree. Love Bon Iver and ya i love arcade fire too they are one of the best bands out there

    February 13, 2012 at 10:24 pm | Report abuse |
  36. Melissa

    Anyone who has not heard of Bon Iver has not walked into a record store in the past three years and likely receives all of their music information from MTV (which as much music television as Fox News is news.)

    February 13, 2012 at 10:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • mogwai

      You r an !d!ot. I've heard the music, i do not hear the talent. But the rest of the cr@p on the grammys (especially rap & hip-hop) is garbage too.

      February 14, 2012 at 5:56 am | Report abuse |
  37. Kate

    Seriously people? Just because no one listens to that kind of music doesn't mean the group isnt great or that they didn't deserve the award. Bon iver is amazing. Soft, peaceful music. Just because kids like rap music doesn't mean rap artists should win. Nicki Minaj isn't new either btw. Idk about the others

    February 13, 2012 at 10:16 pm | Report abuse |
  38. Allison

    Bon Iver is not new – or even close to NEW! In addition, read the trends lately – "indie" music that is sold in Starbucks is what can win you an award. And if you think Bon Iver is talented, think again. I'm not saying he can't play – and proficiently, but there is LITTLE to NO originality in his music. If his being a weirdo overshadows your judgment, well, ok. Worry not, there are plenty more albums to pick up while you order your latte tomorrow morning.

    February 13, 2012 at 9:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • comeon

      You my friend, are a moron. "LITTLE to NO originality in his music"... please name 1 artist that sounds remotely similar to him? Please. Anyone.
      ""indie" music that is sold in Starbucks is what can win you an award" You know why that is? B/c it is actually very good music. Not just the same crap reproduced by labels over and over,but with a different singers and a new gimmick.
      Thanks for sharing your ignorance with us all.

      February 14, 2012 at 12:46 am | Report abuse |
    • BURN

      ^ Burn

      February 14, 2012 at 2:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Comeon is pathetic

      I agree with Allison. And for Comeon – he needs to know 1. Bon Iver is a trend 2. His lyrics don't relate to him /comeon's life and 3. He lives his life through a band/artist(s) = sad! EVERY band in 2012 that is "indie" sound this way. I bet this stings "comeon" because he knows 3 bands – I bet one Is Mumford and Sons and rides a bike and looks like a dirty bike messenger. PS: PBR isn't a new drink either.

      February 14, 2012 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • comeon

      1. Bon Iver is a trend... that has been going on since 2007? Being from Mpls, where Vernon has been playing for 4+ years, he isn't a trend. I have been a fan since he helped produce the Rosebuds 2007 album Night of the Furies. He isn't going anywhere. Considering he is being asked to produce and being featured on many artist records including Kanye, and his super group Gayngs is selling out venues across the country... he isn't a trend.
      2. His lyrics don't relate to him /comeon's life.... how the heII do you know and why would that matter? Does Ke$sha lyrics relate to you? How about Lady Gaga, Kanye or LMFAO?
      3. He lives his life through a band/artist(s) = sad! That's awesome. And completely wrong. Yep, I played professional soccer b/c Vernon did...nope. Now I work in IT b/c it's gets me closer to the band.
      EVERY band in 2012 that is "indie" sound this way. You don't know much music.
      I bet this stings "comeon" because he knows 3 bands – I bet one Is Mumford and Sons and rides a bike and looks like a dirty bike messenger. See above.
      PS: PBR isn't a new drink either. Right you are. PBR is one of the oldest beers in the US. And it taste terrible. I'd prefer a Surly or a Bells any day of the week over gut rot PBR.

      February 15, 2012 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
  39. JazzFan

    I think it's funny how people are "disgusted". Bon Iver is extremely talented. As is Esperenza Spalding (who i think completely deserved her award). The Grammy's are a total joke now, its just one artist/group completely sweeping all the categories and leaves no room for surprises. It's all so scripted and bias that it's no longer fun to watch anymore. Except for the best new artist category apparently haha.

    February 13, 2012 at 8:33 pm | Report abuse |
  40. Cleon

    Great music, even better musician! Been a fan for a couple of years now.

    February 13, 2012 at 7:46 pm | Report abuse |
  41. haha

    This article is hilarious..Bon Iver..Justin Vernon has more talent in his pinky then anyone else who was up for that grammy combined. Finally the Grammys are awarding actual musicians with instrumental and poetic genius. What is even more funny is the fact that he is not new at all. He has been recording music for various projects for years.. that goes for the Decemberists as well..catch up idiots.

    February 13, 2012 at 7:39 pm | Report abuse |
  42. 800lb

    I've seen Bon Iver, they're swell enough. The Grammys is an odd enough game that it seems not to matter too much who wins. With Skrillex and Nicki Minaj in the same category, what's the point of comparison?

    February 13, 2012 at 7:31 pm | Report abuse |
  43. InCo

    " " says the jealous Canuck. Stop acting like a petty child. Aside from that, I've known about and listened to Bon Iver, great music. Deserving of Best New Artist – no. For the simple fact and reasoning that they've been producing records since '07. They shouldn't have even been nominated for that category – it's meant for NEW artists. SMH. Great music, just placed in the wrong category.

    February 13, 2012 at 7:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • gabriel

      They are deserving of that Grammy. He is newly signed to a major record label. Only artist that are signed to a major company are eligible. His previous albums were not. Think of a rapper releasing several mixtapes and albums. They aren't eligible for a Grammy unless they are signed no matter how amazing the album was

      February 14, 2012 at 7:44 am | Report abuse |
  44. capncanuck

    typical listening and comprehension skills problems for an average US citizens

    February 13, 2012 at 6:58 pm | Report abuse |
  45. some hipster

    bon iver is amazing, arcade fire is amazing. But you probably never heard of them.

    February 13, 2012 at 6:27 pm | Report abuse |
  46. joe

    By the way I don't even like bon iver and he's not a new artist. Arcade fire is awesome though.

    February 13, 2012 at 5:52 pm | Report abuse |
  47. theDude

    I hate the Eagles.

    February 13, 2012 at 5:48 pm | Report abuse |
  48. joe

    The grammys are meant to be a quality indicator not a popularity contest. Justin beiber and Nicki minaj don't win because they make garbage music despite their popularity. The Oscars don't choose transformers as best picture because it made the most money. Sure plenty of garbage won at the grammys yesterday but i'm glad to see independent thinkers outside the major labels get recognition once in a while.

    February 13, 2012 at 5:48 pm | Report abuse |
  49. mike

    These idiots could have just googled "Grammy winners" and they'd have seen the proper spelling. Better yet, they could have just read it right off the TV screen as it appeared during the show.

    February 13, 2012 at 5:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jon

      Exactly. But it's so much easier to whine and complain via tweet and post when you are ignorant.

      February 14, 2012 at 12:16 pm | Report abuse |
  50. angela

    Bon Iver is going to be performing at the New Orleans Jazz Festival AND Coachella this year... how is it that people hadn't heard of this band? As far as NEW artist though, I can understand why people are upset.

    February 13, 2012 at 5:44 pm | Report abuse |
  51. Thorne

    Bon Iver is no where near as obscure as Spalding (a jazz bassist really?). He's been selling out shows all over the country for a while. He isn't even NEW. If someone were to ask me who he was, which they wouldn't because I'm in MN where we know good music, I'd ask if they had listened to Kanye's "My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy"? When they inevitably say, "yes". I'd ask if they liked the songs "Monster" or "Lost in the World". Problem solved.
    Just because he hasn't been forced down our throats like Minaj or is yet another cookie cutter country group, doesn't mean he isn't incredible and well worth getting to know. He's quickly becoming a collaborator oF choice because he's a musical genius.

    February 13, 2012 at 5:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • ben

      Well Said!

      February 13, 2012 at 9:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • retphxfire

      I just like the idea someone who doesn't talk through the melody (sic), copies other music, has to produce a musical in order to make their music interesting (I was beginning to wonder if last night was an awards show for best off-Broadway musical), dressing to annoy, upset or just as a diversion – even when a couple of them can actually sing. It's same old, same old, some performers are popular because the public is TOLD they are by DJ's or publicity. As for Chris how all is forgotten that he smacked around a woman (rihanna no innocent I admit, but really!!??)

      February 14, 2012 at 1:38 am | Report abuse |
    • Mark

      I'm not so sure Esperanza should have gotten best new artist last year. I like her music and I'm happy she won a Grammy, but she had at least one solo album before last year and has played with Joe Lovano Us Five at least since 2009.

      I don't understand why people slam other genres of music such as Jazz. Many recent pop, R&B and rap musicians sample Jazz tracks, make millions and people love them. Jazz musicians generally play music fo the love of music and we should appreciate them.

      February 14, 2012 at 7:21 am | Report abuse |
    • Tasha

      I agree with you Bov Iver is incredible great music and inspirational artist. I am pleased that the academy grants awards to those people who are not mainstream . He also just done some work with Kathleen Edwards another artist who deserves a grammy before Nicki Minaj.

      February 14, 2012 at 9:01 am | Report abuse |
    • obalice

      amen! i'm sure everyone loved how he sounded on kanye's album. they just don't know what music's out there unless it's on the radio or in the soundtrack for some mtv show. glad to see he won. and glad to see he acknowledged the amazing musicians out there who will never get the recognition. big star. nuff said.

      February 14, 2012 at 2:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tracy

      Turn off the Top 40 radio people and broaden your musical horizons. Just because an artist or group isn't played on your bubble gum pop station or make the MTV or VH1 rotation doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

      February 15, 2012 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
  52. sheldon

    When is Zach Condon gonna win something? Beirut is great as well.

    February 13, 2012 at 5:33 pm | Report abuse |
  53. Snarky

    Grammys are a joke anyways.

    February 13, 2012 at 5:31 pm | Report abuse |
  54. Cionna

    Ridiculous. Bon Iver has been releasing albums since 2008. Best NEW artist? I don't think so.

    February 13, 2012 at 5:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • comeon

      1 Album. And J. Cole released 3 Mix Tapes which aren't any different really.

      February 14, 2012 at 12:33 am | Report abuse |
    • MDB

      The amazing thing is Bon Iver won Best New Artist at the brit Awards.... in 2009
      Nothing like winning Best New Artist twice, 3 years apart

      February 14, 2012 at 12:59 am | Report abuse |
    • Brady

      the best way to say it is (bone-E- vare (i makes the hard E and ver sounds like v are )

      February 17, 2012 at 9:35 pm | Report abuse |
  55. sculp

    Bon Iver. great band. listen.

    February 13, 2012 at 5:25 pm | Report abuse |

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