Interview with our ReverbNation Winner, Georgia’s Katie Belle!
1.Who are you as an artist? What is your story?
I first was noticed for my singing in elementary school plays and children’s’ choir at church. The choir director gave me several solos throughout my school year in the 5th grade to the point that some parents complained that their kids were not getting a chance to sing! My mom graciously took this as a complement and one thing lead to another I landed in a large talent competition the summer between 5th-6th grade. I was scouted by an A&R from Columbia Records and was invited to Nashville for a week of total songwriting immersion, recording and interviews. That week in Nashville completely took hold of me hook, line and sinker! No, there was no record deal for a freckle faced 11 year old but I had some very experienced musicians who took me on as artist development. My story is very much wrapped up in that one week trip. I have been raised in the city by parents who were raised in the country. The country influence, lifestyle and the urban edginess of a city is woven into my lyrics of all the songs I pen.
2. Who are some of your favorite artists and musical influences?
I am literally influenced by ALL MUSIC GENRE’s. There is no one artist who have patterned myself after, in fact, that is the last thing I want to do. I may have started this journey at a young age but have always sought to just be Katie. Yes, I compared to other female artists as is common but honestly I listen to music from classic country to current hip-hop and everything in between. I listen to the lyrics, the beats and how production is done. I watch the live performances of contemporary artists and all the awards shows! I am going to list a few artist here but by no means is this a complete list: Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Glen Campbell, Dolly Parton, Maren Morris, Beyoncé, Miley Cyrus, One Republic, Ed Sheeran, Carrie Underwood, Bob Dylan, The Beatles, Diana Krall, Ray Charles, Beach Boys, Chainsmokers I think you get the idea…..
3.What is it that makes your music worth it? To the world? To your fans?
Every artist has worth, I am young and full of energy so you are going to hear that in my songs. I am a teenager so my lyrics are family friendly and all about the things that happen to me on a daily basis. Expect to hear my perspective on “boy problems”. I also was bullied a lot in school so I have some great songs written about being yourself, staying true to yourself and your values. I work with a producer in Nashville who is really pushing me to try different styles in my music, hence, this year I will be releasing songs which are more pop based than country based. It feels good artistically to challenge myself in my songwriting and I love working with other songwriters as well. My current single release, American Wild, is somewhat autobiographical and has been well received by my fans and I’ve gotten many new listeners as well from this song.
4.What is the future of music and the industry?
Music will never die, there is always a future for music! I have grown up in the “digital age” so I have an understanding that whole albums are less and less needed. My program at this time is to continue to release singles. I am still establishing my brand and growing my fan base so to keep things clipping along it works better doing the single release strategy. At some point I will put together an EP, but for the remainder of this year I have 2 more singles to release. I am constantly writing so I have a great pipeline of music. The streaming services have given access to the independent artist, but at the same time there is a challenge to get the attention of your target market. Social Media is a huge tool, along with performances to keep the momentum going
5. What surprises you the most about the music industry?
Nothing, life is always full of surprises, music industry included!!
6. What’s your poison?
If there is one thing you need to know about me, if you are dishonest or deceptive you go on my black list!
7. How is your Art, “your religion?”
I wouldn’t necessarily call my music “my religion” but writing songs is a cleansing of emotions. It’s almost like a really good workout at the gym. You are exhausted but exhilarated at the same time. I believe this holds true for most people, if you have a passion and can work in an area where you are passionate there is going to be an end result of satisfaction and accomplishment. Accomplishments, big or small propel you forward.
8. What are you truly creating with your music that changes the world, changes society?
I feel attached to every song I have ever written even if no one has heard it. In creating my music I pull from experiences which have happened to me and things I have witnessed. Many of my lyrics are inspirational and encouraging. I love supporting others in their dreams and my younger fans message me a lot on social media. I discuss social topics such as bullying, breakup problems and depression. I take this seriously and am so rewarded when I help someone pull through a difficult time.
9. Have you been “lucky” or “gifted” in the music industry so far? Tell us more:
I have developed some great relationships with the main people I work with, but that wasn’t luck! That is called getting out there and networking, putting in the hours and talking to a lot of folks. I don’t call that luck I call that perseverance. It has taken time to cultivate a team that gets me and my vision.
10. What do you really think it takes to make it in the music industry? Tell us 3 keys
In my previous question I mention #1 perseverance and that is essential in any career including the music industry, being #2 coachable and taking criticism is another thing that will help one grow as an artist and this can be applied to any career to! Finally staying #3 diverse and open to all opportunities that can put me out there in front of new groups of people so I can share my story, my music. The entertainment industry as a whole is very deserves and for me I book for modeling and acting jobs as well as music performances. Interestingly, the runway fashion shows I have done I have started booking me as entertainment as well as modeling!! How fun is that! Wearing designer clothes and getting to sing in them!!!!
11. What is the message of your music?
My philosophy has remained the same since the beginning of my journey in music, “God has given each of us gifts, and my gift is my voice and artistry. I need to manage my gift so the joy and creation of my music can flow through others, I want to go the extra mile and use my life in a positive way.”
12. What do you regret the most in your music and what would you have done differently?
so far there are no regrets!! I did give up a lot being homeschooled to pursue my music, my friend group was nonexistent for a while. But now that I have graduated HS and am out actively singing, modeling and acting I am meeting so many people. NO REGRETS!
13. Where do you see your career going in five years? 10 years? Next year?
Over the next 5 years I will continue to work on songwriting, modeling and acting along with staying self-motivated. I have several singles waiting in the weeks to put on my “music release calendar” I take online classes in music management and theory as well as workshop and songwriting sessions. 10 years out….. Only time will tell!!
14. Legacy: At the end of the day, how do you want your fans to remember you and your music?
I love my fans! I want them to know their support provides a foundation for me to build on and I wouldn’t be here without them. I am happy they react excited about my music and upcoming releases and my goal is to give them some tunes that end up on all their playlists!!
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