In a world where everyone is screaming and shouting, she catches your attention by being quiet. This artist is acutely aware of the powerful, life-saving potential of the creative arts. She has firsthand experience, because music saved her life, too, and it’s a gift she hopes to pass on. Produced by David Gnozzi of MixbusTv the sound is in great hands and we can’t wait to hear more…
Interview Meikee Magnetic
Where were you born and where are you now?
Bella: I was born in the small town of Brunswick, Georgia. I moved around a lot of places because of my Dad’s job. Now I live in Los Angeles for the past 9 years.
David: I was born in Tuscany Italy, I lived in various places around Europe then came to LA about 12 years ago.
Tell us about the artist Bella Kelly and how long has she been in development?
David: I’d just moved back to LA at a time in which she was ready to make music her career. She’d been acting and doing music since she was 9 but her true passion was music. At that time they were looking for a producer to develop her and start working with her. Two years ago we met at an event in LA, she had nothing but a couple of demos which I heard weeks later. When she was introduced to me and said hi, that was, believe it or not, enough for me to know she had something special. Her voice was, and is, so enchanting and sweet, in a world where everyone is screaming and shouting she caught your attention by being quiet. When we started working together she had no real studio experience so I had her do small features on other artists’ songs to get her comfortable with the process. At first I thought her voice was going to be her winning card but little did I know her songwriting was her real special gift. She started to be very prolific, writing song after song, while raw and green, the things she wrote were incredibly touching and deep. I helped her shape her style and with the technical part of songwriting, at the same time, I had to find her sound. Her soft singing is very difficult to record and translate in a track. Vocal production on my part had to be very different than with any other artist so it was a challenge for me just as much for her. She prefers not to record in the studio, her lyrics are so intimate, she performs better in a familiar environment.
Bella, what does this project mean to you especially during this pandemic?
It means a lot, not only at this time, because music is my escape, the way I express myself and purge my emotions. Music helped me in my dark times, and my ultimate goal is for my music to do the same for other people. This is my main drive so I feel very fortunate and blessed to be able to keep doing this despite the lock down and pandemic. I’ve been able to go to David’s private studio to record and work on songs without any particular issue. I’m a bit of an introvert, I like to stay in alone, or with the very few people I have around me. The pandemic and lock down hasn’t affected me personally that much because most of the time I stay inside the studio and write songs. We did have some issues while shooting the video because we couldn’t get things shipped here on time. My outfits literally arrived the morning of the filming and someone had to chase the delivery truck to get them!
Could you share with us some of your musical background and upbringing?
Bella: In my childhood around 4 or 5, because of my father, I was exposed to Native American music. My sister listened to Evanescence and My Chemical Romance so by default I was listening to that too. Not my favorite kind of music now but I recall liking an artist called Kerli. When I was old enough to pick my playlists, I started listening to Breaking Benjamin, Godsmack, Scorpions, Slipknot, Lana del Rey, old Metallica, AC/DC, Fleetwood Mack, Korn and Motionless in White. So you see, my taste in music is all over the place because I was looking into messages and meaning in the lyrics or something I could relate to more than being a fan of a specific genre. Lately I’m listening to more pop and mainstream artists to study songwriting, analyzing songs and different styles. Especially after David suggested I listen to all kinds of music because it’s always helpful for an artist to think outside the box. Now I listen to Lewis Capaldi, Raya, The Weeknd, Tame Impala and many others.
David: I used to be a professional musician signed with Universal (2 albums), back then I was mainly into rock, metal and nu metal. As a young child I was given my first electric guitar, I always sucked at playing but enjoyed messing around with pedals trying to find sounds more than actual playing. My older cousin introduced me to the classics DIO, Metallica, AC/DC, Strana Officina, Aerosmith and Megadeth. When I actually started playing, I got into industrial and shock rock. Korn, Coal Chamber, Static-X and Smashing Pumpkins was also on my playlist. I listened to all kind of music from Johnny Cash to Imogen Heap and Massive Attack. When I started producing and engineering full time, because of my job, I started listening to basically everything because I was and still am, lucky enough to be working on so many different genres. Today I can mix a reggae album, tomorrow a trap album, rock or electronic album. I think whatever hat you wear in the musical arts, listening to as many genres as you can is the key.
Your music video Throat is well on it’s way to a million Youtube views, such a great track and well produced visually. Was it a challenge to arrive with the strong imagery and concept?
David: Throat is somewhat of an odd ball on Bella’s song list because her other songs are very different. One day she came up to me with this one and we actually changed the plan for the release because of it. We decided to release this one first, and what was going to be the first release as second. First thing to say is, Bella is a chameleon and versatile. One day she shows up looking like the female cenobite, human eating femme you see in Throat, the next day you’ll see her wearing a pink dress and barely any make up. Both of those extremes are her, and anything in between. I think the part you see in Throat finally came out after two years of working together. Her confidence became stronger as she saw her ideas, poems and songs come to life. I came up with the idea for the video because I saw her changing so much during this time. One day she showed up with half of her head shaved and it looked awesome. She did it herself, if me having a mohawk was influential or not we’ll never know. So that instantly made me see that video. This innocent looking girl, with a fairy-like voice, had this dark, strong and fierce side. She wrote the song about anxiety, the whole thing is a metaphor. Anxiety chokes you, hence the hands on the throat and I thought, great let’s make it so you are in control! From there, ideas started flowing, I wanted her to look fierce and strong. I love Hellraiser, so I started playing with the idea of her looking a bit like a cenobite or fighter but starting off with an innocent looking girl in a white dress. Director Vicente Cordero (Industrialism Films) and I started to figure out details, location, props, scenes etc… He basically made my ideas come to life even with all the lock down restrictions. Laney Chantal was the icing on the cake, she made the demon hand you see in the video. Because of COVID, she had to make that out of a kitchen glove, paper tissues and latex. We were very happy how everything looked while shooting.
What can we look forward to next from Bella Kelly?
Bella: Almost all my other songs are emotional ballads and I consider myself a storyteller more than a singer. We have over 20 songs ready to go, I keep writing and working on new stuff all the time. The next single is what was supposed to be my first, it’s called Heartbreak Motel and like David said, it’s going to be pretty different from Throat. A slow emotional piece of music, I feel this song particularly because of the lyrics. We’re planning the video right now with Vicente again, and an expanded team. This one is also going to be very cinematic, even more than the previous. My image is also going to be slightly different but not that much really, just another side of me. The darkness that’s in Throat is more gore-y and fun because we both like horror movies. Heartbreak Motel is intimate, deep and ingrained in something most people, if not everyone, can relate to. Because of COVID, there are no shows to look forward to in the immediate future but hopefully soon enough. So I’m going to be doing a lot of studio work, behind the scenes and probably have a short movie about the filming of Heartbreak Motel video. A third single, Goodbye, is also in line but it’s too early to talk about so I can’t give anything away about that. I’m lucky enough to have a big strong team helping me, David first, Chris, the whole team, so there’s going to be many interviews and podcasts. I will also appear here in there on David’s channel and of course on my social media pages, which were created literally only a few weeks ago.
David: I’ll just say her upcoming music will touch the heart and soul of many people out there. She is able to describe emotions in a way I’ve never seen or heard before. She does all this because music is her calling, she genuinely wants her words to help people, not for fame and glory. She’s an anti-star/star
What does Dark Beauty mean to you?
Bella: When only you, or a few people see beauty where most don’t. When you see beauty in something that most people consider scary or twisted. You have to be willing and able to look past your nose to see that, you have to have a certain depth to see beauty outside of the standards of a pretty face or a pretty body. I think it’s a matter of connection, you see something or someone and you feel something instead of seeing something. Usually these kind of bonds are formed around bad experiences, dark experiences and people who have been thru things recognize each other, or the work of someone that went thru the same or similar things.
David: Something that attracts you beyond the looks, something beautiful with an aura of melancholy around it. It could be a face, a picture, a piece of art that makes you want to know the story behind it. Behind a sad look, or a smile that doesn’t quite tell that person is happy. Everything that doesn’t fit the standards, the happy people and the polished covers. I think what people see as dark whether it’s a look or a feeling is what makes people look inside themselves when nobody’s watching. For some artists it’s what inspires them to come up with songs, pictures, sculptures and art that changes lives.