We had the good fortune of connecting with BELLSAINT and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi BELLSAINT, why did you pursue a creative career?
Since I was a kid, music just felt like it was part of my soul and the most meaningful act of expression. I dealt with trauma as a kid and didn’t know how else to process. Music was cathartic therapy and it still feels like my own personal language. Having a career as an artist was my dream, and I’m grateful I get to do it for a living.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I started out mostly writing for other artists and side projects for media licensing. It was rewarding in a lot of ways, but it started to make music feel more like formulaic commerce than art because I didn’t have my own creative outlet. I’m grateful for that time to hone my craft as a songwriter though. It allowed me to figure out what I did and didn’t want to do for my own artist project.
I’m grateful and proud of how many songs of mine have been used as soundscapes to serve powerful moments in media. It’s exciting to hear my songs in some of my favorite TV shows, like “Riverdale,” “The Handmaid’s Tale,” and “Little Fires Everywhere.” Getting to collaborate with the “Father of Disco” himself, Giorgio Moroder, on a song for a Volkswagen Super Bowl commercial was also an unforgettably surreal experience.
I moved to Los Angeles from Texas years ago. It’s been a difficult journey with a lot of rejection, second-guessing, therapy, and growth. Once I just started focusing on honing my craft and cared less about what people thought (I mean, I still care a little bit), that’s when I hit a sweet spot creatively and personally.
A lot of music industry professionals focus on chasing trends to stay afloat. Most of the time they’re just trying to keep their job so it’s not always a good idea to take creative advice from them (unless it’s someone you really trust). At the beginning of my career, I thought I needed their approval, and I wish I had figured out sooner to just do my own thing. It’s easy to get distracted and lose sight of why you love making/performing music in the first place. I learned to stop asking for permission to be my own person. Not everyone is going to understand you and that’s okay.
I love connecting with people through my music. I used to be disappointed when a song didn’t get the response I was hoping for. But I’ve now accepted that it’s part of the process. I’ve learned to not be afraid of “failure.” You just have to do it anyway and keep going. Sometimes it’s just about timing and consistency. Stop comparing your journey to someone else’s and keep honing your craft.
Empathy and social justice are important to me. I’ve enjoyed volunteering with programs like Girls Rock Camp LA, Awaken Arts (a non-profit that provides art therapy as a means of healing from trauma), and Freedom & Fashion (a non-profit that uses the art of fashion to empower youth and women overcoming sex trafficking, domestic violence, and other injustices).
It’s important to pay attention to what’s going on in culture and branch out of your comfort zone; art should be a call-and-response. I want my art to be a response to what’s happening personally and culturally, trying to focus on the bigger picture.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?|
Los Angeles has so many incredible hot spots, but I tend to stay on the east side, on the outskirts of the central Hollywood crowd. I’d take them to see a movie at the vintage Vista Theater in Los Feliz, and walk over to the Dresden to hear the iconic jazz duo Marty & Elayne.
Downtown has some great spots too – Perch is a nice rooftop bar with a beautiful view. The Edison is a prohibition-era, renovated power plant with amazing absinthe & craft cocktails. The Broad is also an incredible contemporary art museum in that area.
If I’m feeling up to going closer into the Hollywood area, Good Times at Davey Wayne’s is a fun ’70s retro bar with a backyard BBQ, and has fun live music. I haven’t been out at a bar in over a year so just talking about some of these places makes me miss going out.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I’d love to dedicate my shoutout to my 2 sisters (I’m the middle child). I wouldn’t be alive without them. We’ve stayed really close, and are all three artists in different fields. I’m grateful for our sisterhood and how supportive we’ve been of each other’s journeys.
Other: Spotify Artist Profile: https://open.spotify.com/artist/1ASbcqMhp2Xsx8xQ2NQK0p?si=d32GdlmZSLOtnZUDpHJs3Q
Photography by Natasha Wilson