A fresh new face on the local music scene, Bella Paton is a precociously talented young starlet whose beguiling amalgamation of classy indie-pop inflected with heart-warming folkish undertones plays equal parts heart-tugger and foot-tapper.
With a stated manifesto, boldly emblazoned on her Facebook page of “I sing, I play, I have no plan B – music is my life”, Bella is clearly an artist both in thrall of and utterly dedicated to her muse. This devotion is also backed up by talent, as evidenced with the recent release of her debut EP, ‘Early’. A sterling three song effort, it displays a maturity in song-writing craft which belies her years and experience in the music caper and will surely lift her into the consciousness of local music aficionados.
We recently checked in with Bella to find out more of her story and what makes her tick.
Can you tell us a bit about your debut EP and your musical background prior to its release?
In terms of my background, I’ve always wanted to do music since I was about seven. I didn’t really have a way to make money from it until I taught myself guitar at 13 and I’ve been playing ever since.
I read the Beatles biography and decided after that I needed to learn guitar. This allowed me to gig, which is how I’ve been making money since I was 14. In terms of my EP, I’ve had some of these songs since 2017, when I first left school. I worked with my friend who is a producer and he had a lot of great ideas for the songs that I would never have thought of. It just sort of came together after that. Then I had to save to give it good promotion, so the songs kinda sat on my computer for a while, but I’m glad they are finally being released.
I was reading that you spent quite a long time in a studio working on the songs. Was this by design or was working with a producer the catalyst for taking your songs to places you may not have originally envisaged?
My friend’s bedroom was actually our studio. We had planned to work on the songs together in his little studio set up and just see what happened creatively. It was definitely the catalyst to taking these songs to some weird and cool places.
How do you recreate your music in the live realm – is it just you or do you have other musicians that you perform with?
That’s been a challenge due to the amount of unusual instrumentation in my songs (have a listen for the church bells in ‘Early’). I have a band behind me and they are all so immensely talented. We have been trying to do the songs justice. Often we work with manipulation of dynamics to create different textures in the sound in order to capture the feeling of the actual recorded songs. We have also made some of the slower ones a bit more groovy, to translate better in a live sense.
Who are three of your biggest musical inspirations?
The Beatles are my number one musical inspiration. They were just four boys from Liverpool and they worked so hard and were just so fearless when it came to evolving with their sound. I’ll never get sick of listening to them.
The Arctic Monkeys are another huge inspiration. They were underground for a lot of their career and if you really look into their story it’s very interesting to see the way they grew, promoted themselves and got creative with their sound. I love everything they make. I’ve had many late nights with my producer, where we just stayed up talking about how cool they are and figuring out what makes them so good.
My third inspiration is Lorde. I adore her. Her album ‘Pure Heroine’ is so mature and explores so many themes beyond her years. I would recommend it to anyone. Don’t even get me started on her most recent album. She is so young and has done so much and going to a live show of hers is like a spiritual experience. Her lyrics are so gorgeous and so honest.
How is the rest of 2019 shaping up for you from a music perspective?
I’m excited for it! I have my upcoming launch shows for this EP and I’m so excited for those. I want to keep gigging and make another EP by the end of the year. I finish up Uni this year so I’ll have a lot more time next year to work on music – so stay tuned!
Bella Paton will be supporting the release of her impressive debut EP, ‘Early’ with two upcoming live performances, so if you like what you hear, make sure you get along to The Basement, at HOTA, in Bundall on 26 July. You can also catch her at The Milk Factory, in Brisbane, on 8 August.