An Interview With BELLSAINT About Her Newest Music, Getting Featured on TV And More!
Posted On 26 Apr 2018
Get to know BELLSAINT, whose sounds are reminiscent of a modern day Nancy Sinatra meets Sia and Adele! This siren is on the edge of becoming a household name. Her new Single “Karma” was just released and it has already created major buzz. She is the VOICE behind the hottest TV shows, most recently having her single “Fight the Giants” featured in the new NBC show RISE, that premiered on March 13th. https://soundcloud.com/bellsaintmusic/fight-the-giants-1/s-G0viO / https://www.facebook.com/NBCRise/videos/346921479049429
Her latest music video KARMA out soon was created by the same team that did Betty Who’s music video ‘Ignore” which was an all female crew, and she landed an exclusive deal with Club Monaco for her video clip.
The recording artist’s songs have also been featured in Tyler Perry’s BOO2, which she attended the premiere https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wsxoh3mUU0g , Bella Thorne’s hit show on Freeform “Famous in Love,” Vampire Diaries, Pretty Little Liars, Volkswagen Super Bowl commercial and the new Adidas Commercial. While she may just be dipping her foot in the water of making a career out of being an artist, BELLSAINT is no stranger to music. BELLSAINT (Caroline Brooks) began polishing her craft and earned her stripes writing for other artists, including Natalie Imbruglia and The Script’s Danny O’Donoghue. In time, she collaborated with renowned producer/songwriters Giorgio Moroder (Daft Punk), Paul Williams (David Bowie, Daft Punk) and David Hodges (Kelly Clarkson, Christinav Aguilera, Carrie Underwood).
She just wrapped a West Coast tour w High School Nation and SILENTO (bringing music to the ears of public school kids that rarely get the opp http://www.highschoolnation.com/tour/ ).
Refinery 29 just included her and the track in a timely feature on The Best Song Lyrics of 2018 – and she is No.3 alongside some huge names. http://www.refinery29.com/best-song-lyrics-2018
Galore Mag just called the song a necessary addition to the #METOO movement – https://galoremag.com/bellsaint-karma-new-single-necessary-addition-metoo-movement/
Learn more about BELLSAINT in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time! So where does this interview find you? What’s on tap for the rest of your day?
Thanks for having me! I’m heading to the studio to finish up an upcoming single I’m pretty excited about.
Overall, how do you think 2017 was for you and your career? What are you most excited about for this year? What is one big goal you have for 2018?
2017 was a year of finalizing deals and releasing music as BELLSAINT for the first time. I spent most of the year honing in my sound, branding, and live show so 2018 will be full of new music releases and concerts. I’m honored to be working on a song with the incredible Paul Williams and my goal is to have it finished and released in 2018. Getting to write and arrange with him has been a huge inspiration.
Growing up, did you ever think that this would be the kind of life that you would have? Has music always been a big part of your life? Can you recall your first ever musical experience?
I always hoped I would get to write and perform music for a living, but I don’t think it sunk in as a reality until things started lining up the past few years. Music has always been a big part of my life. I started writing songs when I was 7 on a battery-operated CASIO, and have been performing basically since I could walk. The first ever musical experience I remember is playing a skunk in a kindergarten musical. I was mortified (because I was a skunk) and I think I forgot most of the words.
How did you come up with your artist name? How do you think it sums up who you are as an artist today?
My original artist name was BeLL; I wanted to change my name to Bell when I was a kid bc I idolized Beauty and the Beast and didn’t spell very well. I ended up adding the word SAINT to the end of it because I wanted a completely unique name that no other artist had. I also liked the imagery it conjured up. The word BELL feels vulnerable and the word SAINT feels strong & empowering. I want my art to reflect both.
How do you think that your hometown has influenced the kind of artist that you today?
I grew up in Tyler, Texas where a strong work ethic and humility were consistently taught & instilled in me. I believe it’s helped make my music and artistry be an authentic means of reflecting and connecting with humanity rather than just for my own ego or vanity. At least, that’s the goal.
Let’s talk about your newest single “Karma.” Where did the inspiration for this track first come from? Can you remember the first time you heard the song the whole way through? What was that like for you? How do you think it prepares listeners for more music from you?
I wrote this song in response to working with someone who consistently bullied and belittled me. It was obvious there wasn’t mutual respect. When I finally stood up to this person and ended our working relationship, I received several threats. The timing couldn’t be more perfect to release this single in the midst of so many brave women coming forward and speaking up during the #metoo & #timesup movement. I feel so empowered & inspired by it. I’m hoping this shift will deepen & further our conversations of respect and consequences for harassment and that it will continue to empower women & people everywhere.
The first time I heard “Karma” all the whole way through was after producer/co-writer Rob Kleiner and I finished writing and recording it. We were both proud of the final product. It was an absolute pleasure working with him too. He’s worked with some of my favorite artists (Sia, Andra Day, David Guetta) and he’s extremely down-to-earth and inspiring to work with. It was also surreal getting to record my vocal on the same mic Sia used.
I believe it prepares listeners for my other music in that it mixes modern, fresh elements with organic retro instrumentation stemming from my earliest influences (namely, Nancy Sinatra and Johnny Cash).
What was it like shooting the music for “Karma”? How creatively involved were you with the making of it?
Shooting the music video for “Karma” was a blast. I was so excited to collaborate with such an elegant brand like Club Monaco. Not to mention, working with directors Mariana McCune and Mark McCune was inspiring. They are great people and great at what they do. We wanted the overall message and vibe to be simplistic in conveying the idea of karma. We wanted it to be emotionally authentic and not petty. They came up with the idea of shooting in the desert and to have it ultimately be performance shots of me showing the different emotions behind processing harassment – anger, wanting revenge, the pressure of needing to stay quiet about it, and coming to terms with speaking truth and letting karma do the rest of the work. It was their idea to signify this by having me mail a letter in the middle of the desert. What is specifically in the letter is open to interpretation. Not to mention, Erin Douglass’ camera work was efficient & incredible and producer Aly Parker was amazing. Overall, it was a really uplifting and motivating collaboration.
What was it like having your single “Fight The Giants” recently featured on the NBC show, RISE? Your songs have actually been featured in a lot of hit shows. What show do you think you have been the proudest to be a part of? Do you remember the first time one of your songs was featured? Where were you when you heard it?
I was honored to have my song featured in the Rise promo. I was already looking forward to seeing the show because not only is it from the producers of Hamilton, Friday Night Lights, and Parenthood, but I’m a big Josh Radnor fan. I’m grateful and excited about all my song placements, but I think I’m proudest to have my music a part of this show because I’m a fan-girl of all those productions, and of Josh Radnor.
The first time one of my BELLSAINT songs was featured was “Bang Bang (Remember My Name)” in the promo for Freeform’s Famous in Love, starring Bella Thorne. It went on to be featured in one of the episodes and so did my other single “Landmines.” I remember watching the link they sent to me for the first time on my laptop in my bedroom and I was so excited and grateful.
You have written for so many incredible artists so I am curious what collaboration has really stood out to you the most? When you know a song is for someone else, how do you go about writing it and not attaching to it personally?
I had the privilege of collaborating with Natalie Imbruglia in London a while back and it was such an inspiring experience. She is a lovely person and artist and I’m honored she trusted me enough to be vulnerable. I stayed in her guest room and we wrote a song a day in her living room. We would take breaks and just walk around Notting Hill and talk about life. I loved getting to know her on a personal level and getting advice from her experience as a woman in our industry.
When I know a song is for someone else, I know my role is to be a vehicle for the other person to get their ideas across and not be the voice. It helps not get attached to it when you go into it knowing the role you’re playing. It’s an enriching experience when you like and believe in the artist. I’ve written songs for myself that have gotten interest from other artists; it ultimately depends on how connected to the song I am and if I like the artist who’s interested.
How was your recent West Coast tour with High School Nation and SILENTO?
It was a cloud of energy and I’m grateful for the experience. Silentó has such a big heart for the kids and I really loved his performance and how well he engages with his fans. His passion rubs off on you. The kids were so fun and supportive. It was a lot of hard work, and I’m grateful for the experience!
What do you think makes for an ideal show for you? What has been a favorite performance of yours so far?
An ideal show for me is one with great sound and an enthusiastic audience. The one I did at SXSW for the Grammy Museum last year is one of my favorites. I love being in Austin (where I went to college, UT Austin), and I got to meet amazing people from the Recording Academy and Grammy Museum.
We are living through a very trying and politically charged time right now so I am curious how you think being a musician gives you the most joy in life today? How do you think that music is going to reflect these challenging times?
It is the responsibility of an artist to put out art that authentically reflects them and the times they live in since we have the gift of a platform. Music is a great connecting tool during this time when we’re so divided.
Who are some of your favorite artists or rather, what musicians have continued to inspire you and your music? What musicians would you absolutely still love to work with in the future?
Some of my favorite artists that inspire me right now are Sia, Chance the Rapper, Kendrick Lamar, Lorde, Childish Gambino, Kacey Musgraves, HAIM, Jack White, and The Killers. Their artwork, brand, and music is authentic and relevant. I would love to collaborate with any of those musicians.
At the end of the day, what do you hope your fans take away from your music? What would you say is the overall message of your songs?
I want my fans to feel what I’m feeling in my songs and connect. I want to empower listeners and make them not feel as alone. I want to instill confidence and pride in their imperfections and know it’s okay to not fit in.
Would you like to share anything else about yourself or your music with our readers?
The only other thing I’d like to share is to check out Los Angeles’ Rock n’ Roll Camp for Girls. It’s put on by an incredible group of women who promote female collaboration and support. The entertainment industry thrives on women competing with each other and this organization is all about the empowerment of women. I’ve volunteered as a coach the last 2 years and it’s life-giving & life-changing. I’m grateful for the shift that’s been happening and the growing awareness of the systemic sexism in our society. I’m grateful to do what I can to support the incredible women (and men) in my life.