- Words Notion Staff
Rising artist Bellah Mae takes us through her musical firsts, from being a Hannah Montana stan, to being front row at a Taylor Swift tour.
Saving Gen-Z’s broken hearted with her tales of toxic relationships, Bellah Mae’s the TikTok sensation unwilling to be put in a box. The 21-year-old singer-songwriter has developed an arsenal of sounds, drawing on genres like grunge, pop punk and country, to devise a palette unique to her.
Growing up in Solihull, Birmingham, the artist’s musical adolescence was defined by her early cover performances as Miley Cyrus. Later, at the age of 11, she learnt tracks like Guns ‘N’ Roses’ “Sweet Child O’ Mine” on the guitar, building up a foundational understanding of song structure. And still, elements of rock ‘n’ roll from its ever-broadening spectrum seep into her sonic output today.
Building a huge fanbase through channels like TikTok, Bellah has a profound understanding of music’s ability to connect. Paired with a deep passion for song writing, the artist has all the facets to become a global star.
And so, we chatted with Bellah about her musical firsts, from being a Hannah Montana stan, to being front row at a Taylor Swift tour. Dive in!
First song you ever made?
I’ve been writing music for a really long time, ever since I was around eight years old. I don’t think I can remember a specific song I wrote from those early days because there were so many, but I just remember pouring out everything I had the capacity to feel at the time into little snippets of songs. That has carried through into my current writing process – I’m at a point now where I’m always thinking in lyrics and concepts for songs, it’s like a constantly running tap I can’t turn off.
First song you released officially?
When I was 17, I independently released a song which was actually picked up by Dolly Parton’s manager Danny Nozell. He invited me to Nashville to perform, and it was the first time I got a real taste of the music industry – after that, I was able to enter into rooms of people with such unbelievable talent that immediately escalated my ability to write, create, play and generally see things in the bigger picture. I definitely credit country music and that experience in Nashville for helping me unlock my own style of songwriting.
My official debut single “Boyfriend Of The Year” was released back in October last year. I wrote the track within an hour, it was just one of those songs that writes itself. I actually sent my Dad a message the night it was written saying, “I just wrote a career-launching song”. I wrote it from my personal experiences with a toxic ex, but the number of messages I’ve had from girls and guys sending me paragraphs about their own situations after the song was released is incredible. As a songwriter, it’s confirmation that I’m doing something right – it’s a dream for people to resonate with your songs. I wrote over 100 songs before “Boyfriend Of The Year”, but it definitely felt like the one I had to put out first.
First CD or record you owned?
Shamelessly, Hannah Montana: ‘Hannah Montana’. I am, to this day, a true stan. “Nobody’s Perfect” and “Who Said” completely captured me. I still wake up to “Rockstar” – Hannah Montana every morning.
First time you realised you wanted to be an artist?
I never went to any of the careers meetings at school, I filled out the form saying I want to be an artist. I’ve never wanted to do anything else – I’ve been surrounded by music from an early age (my granddad was in a rock’n’roll band, and my dad was also super musical so there were always instruments around the house). They’ve always been really supportive of me, so maybe delusionally I’ve always believed that being a rockstar is attainable.
First gig you went to?
I was front row for Taylor Swift’s ‘Speak Now’ tour, and it was such a peak moment for the nine year old me. Taylor is such a huge inspiration to me to this day, especially due to the fact she’s known as a ‘songwriter’.
First time you faced an obstacle in your career?
I’ve definitely encountered some teething problems when it comes to understanding the business side of the music industry because there is so much to learn so quickly – but honestly, I’ve been so lucky that I haven’t faced anything that we haven’t been able to deal with yet. I have a really tight team around me, and I’d encourage any artist to be the driving force at the centre of your team – nobody will ever want it as much as you, and that determination should help you overcome a lot.
First instrument you owned?
I was 11 when I picked up my Dad’s acoustic guitars – I learned to play them over time just by watching other people. I was so desperate to write my own music.
First time you felt like giving up?
It would be crazy to deny that the music industry is a scary place, but it’s a far scarier thought of not being in music and the idea of not sharing my music. I try to remind myself every week that I am so lucky to be able to do what I love as my everyday life… that’s such a blessing.
First time you ticked off a bucket list goal?
Oh look, I’m bringing up Hannah Montana again… But, I grew up watching the show dreaming of being a performer, and since Miley Cyrus is from Tennessee, I always viewed Nashville as the place to go for the music I’ve always loved. So being able to go there and perform was everything I wanted it to be, and much more.