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Bellah

When you press play on Bellah’s Adultsville, what you are in store for is apparent. The opening track sets the tone for the 7-track EP (10 tracks on the Apple Music Edition).

The EP follows 2020’s The Art of Conversation, which came during the lockdown and showcased the personal and artistic growth that has taken place since then.

Her 2021 single, Evil Eye, was the shift to this next stage of Bellah’s career, and everything that has followed has shown her to be a strong force to be reckoned with. With the release of three singles, immaculate visuals to go with it, a social media strategy that is on point, and a vision that has been strong. Throughout Adultsville, she is genuinely showcasing R&B in the UK in a different way.

Drawing from experiences that have occurred throughout the last few years of her life Adultsville is very true in the state of “adulting” touching on various themes from letting go, love, and a whole range of things that really make you feel as if Bellah is addressing something that may feel all too real to those that hear the project. 

Speaking with her after the release of the EP, I got a chance to catch up on everything from making the album, how the process of change impacted the project, building the project’s creative vision, collaborating the next phase of her career and more.  

 

 

Where did the project begin for you? 

Once The Art of Conversation was done, I knew I wanted to start making my next project. So I linked up with Ari PenSmith, who wanted to executive produce this project. So we talked about it for ages, locked it in early last year, and just went for it. I was like, I want it to be as true to what I’m going through as possible. I want it to be as current as I possibly can make it. 

 

Ari is very well-known in the R&B space, how did that link up come together? 

We worked on two songs on The Art of Conversation, so we had a relationship prior, and I know he said he wanted to spearhead this project. So when we finally got down and sat and talked about it, we had the concept before we started making the songs properly, so we knew and mapped out what we wanted to do so that we could execute it properly.

 

You started building the project whilst we were still in the pandemic, what was it like making the project during that time? 

It was hard. Not only was it hard to create because I had to create for my experiences, but going through those experiences was hard. Going through those things was hard, and then having to capture it, the sessions and the moments were magical. Still, I always feel like I wasn’t there until we had the project, and then I look back, and I’m like, Oh my goodness, we have all these incredible songs because when you’re going through traumatic things or change or things that you don’t feel good about, you’re not necessarily always present. And so I thank God for those little moments of magic in the studio where we got to, you know, lay it all down. Even going to the studio was hard because I was fighting imposter syndrome. I was like, I can’t do this. I can only be honest and say it was hard but gratifying. I’m going to remember this period of my life forever. 

 

Compared to The Art of Conversation, what do you feel has the most significant change from that point to where you are now? 

The most significant change is change itself. I have a new set of people around me, a new taste in music, new friends and new responsibilities, especially After evil eye. I have just completely different boundaries. This time in my life was an unexpected change. Like in primary school, they prepare you for secondary school, secondary school for college, and college to uni, but when you’re out of uni, you no longer have that preparation. And for a very long time, I was constantly living my life. And then, there was a massive shift, almost like graduation, in my life, and I was unprepared for it. And all of the little changes came at a cost, which I wasn’t used to. It was like, do you want this new stage in your life? If you do, you have to kill off the old one. The old one may cost you your friend; the old one may cost you a boyfriend. It’s just going to cost you something from your old life for you to move into this new stage. Otherwise, you’re going to repeat this level until you’re even ready to willingly sacrifice what was asked of you when you weren’t prepared, you know. It’s like a video game; you keep repeating the level until you learn the lesson and then move on to the next phase and do whatever you must do in the next level. But yeah, I feel between the last project, the most significant change was change. 

 

 

Evil Eye was the first introduction to this Adultsville chapter, and so what was it about that song that made it the one to lead with?

Honestly, I feel like that was all God. Honestly, I couldn’t have planned it better myself; I didn’t plan it, I was just on my way to a session, and I got a call, and the rest is history. I’m just glad that I was prepared enough to have that song. You never expect something to do well, which isn’t very optimistic, but you never know what it will do. You never know what song or piece of art you put out will do well for you. The one you think will be one might not do well, and the one you’re like, I didn’t know much about it might be the one that goes crazy. So I’m just glad that people received and took it in, it is a beautiful song, and it’s just one of those things where you intended it to be great, and it was, and you can’t beat that feeling, and I feel like it gave me a platform to create Adultsville.  

 

As a whole, the creation of the EP has a strong sense of cohesion that ties everything together. What was it like building the team and bringing everything together? 

I think it was just people I trusted with my art that I brought on board with this project. Like Paula, Narcography, who did all the photography, she’s incredible and has incredible vision. Same with Ray Fiasco, who directed the videos, Yomi, even all the producers’ Sons of Sonix, Jonah Christian, Ari, and P2J. People that I know their baseline is delivery, their baseline is we do this, and we do this excellently. So it was just nice for them to want to work on the project and be here executing everything with me. And just helping me create the vision, to be honest because I can give them the songs, but for them to translate it is an entirely different ball game. So I’m grateful and humbled that they even want to be on Team Bellah 

 

Speaking of Ray and the visuals, I noticed a storyline between all the ones you released, PrototypeIn The Moment and Garden. How did you collaborate with Ray to put that visual story together? 

Once I had the tracklist, I went to Ray and said this thing is called Adutsville, and this is what I have in mind. I always send him a mini mockup of treatments, and he goes away, becomes Ray, and then sends it back to me. So, we sat down from October last year, and I was like, this is what I want to do. And thank God we execute it. It was just about getting those videos filmed, put together, edited, and perfecting the rollout. He’s such a fantastic creator to work with because I love collaboration. I love collaboration. I can have an idea if I know that you’re incredible enough to add to my vision and expand on my concept. I want to work a lot. So, yeah, that’s how it was. I sat down with him and had a conversation, and that was it from there. 

 

 

What have been the stand out moments in the producing this project?

One of my favourite moments making the EP was travelling. I loved travelling, and I went to Mexico, and then I went to Atlanta. And I love being out of the country making music; it’s one of my favourite things. So I was grateful when the project was finished choosing the songs. And again, like I said, going through the experiences I had to write about was just hard. Yeah. Yeah. 

 

Another piece of the puzzle is the live show I know you have coming up next month. So just in terms of building that and putting that together, how has that been?

I love live music; I love performing. I started on the stage. That’s my home. I have to be in making music mode when I’m making music. I have an incredible band. And when we did the setlist yesterday, we looked at each other like, this setlist is excellent, and this will be a good time. I’m excited for everyone to hear it live, and for the live aspect of this project, I can’t wait. 

 

Last but not least, in the next phase of your career, where do you want to see yourself going from here?

I want continuous growth. I want to be an international artist, and I want to be someone who is a household name. I want to make history, and so however I need to do, that is what I’m going to continue to do. I think music is so unique and is such an incredible way to be able to express yourself, and I don’t take my gift for granted one bit because I know not everyone can do this. So to be able to do it full time as a job, you know, is such an underrated blessing. So yeah, I’m working; I’m taking over the world. I don’t know what that looks like, but I’m working on it. 

 

Adultsville is out now, follow Bellah via @ibebellah

 

Interview Seneo Mwamba

Photography Narcography

 

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