By Avery Zendejas
Chase Bell is one of those musicians that literally lives and breaths music and songs. Bell, whose music spans a wide range of styles, is a dynamic performer, able to play a number of instruments, sing with one of the most memorable voices out there, and is a prolific songwriter as well. Bell says music and songs are always in his head and in his heart. He is driven to make the world smile through music.
Bell comes from an entertainment business family. His mother, Tessa Bell, is a film producer, and his sister, Emma Bell, who sometimes performs with him, is a well-known actress. So entertaining was in his blood in a way. Bell has strong ties to Italy, where he performed and recorded for several years, and it is still a place he gets to when he can. But L.A. is home and he can be found performing in local clubs a fair amount when he isn’t in the studio recording or writing more lyrics and music. Bell has even had his music featured on a television show, FOX’s “Lucifer,” and he has also been heard in commercials and other Lifetime movies as well.
We caught up with Bell after he returned from a trip to Florida to produce another recording artist.
HB: How did you get started in the music business?
CB: My whole life was involved in music, so it was obvious that I needed to make music become my business or else I wouldn’t have been able to live well doing another job.
Music was always being created by me. I remember doing odd jobs in Norway to make enough money to live and gig in London when I was 19 and when I was painting people’s houses I would sing melodies and everyone thought I was crazy. However, the music wasn’t actually business until I started to make money out of my music which is when I really focused on that conversation here in L.A.
HB: You spent time in Italy, how did that come about?
CB: I lived in London for a year after realizing music college wasn’t going to make me into anything besides a jazz guitar teacher. Raise your hands if that interested you. Me neither. While I was in London I noticed all the higher profile performing musicians were Italian, not New York/New Jersey Italian like I was used to, but actual Italians who pronounce “Versace” as it should be pronounced and not the way you just heard it in your head.
I saved my money and hired three Italians to produce an album of my music and I paid them well and they opened doors for me within the community of music in London. No, you can’t listen to the album and you wouldn’t want to.
My Italian girlfriend at the time had a sick father and went to Italy to help him and I went with her. While there I simply fell in love with Rome and if you go to Rome and don’t fall in love with it you’ve spent too much time hanging out with Americans and asking for a “Caesar salad” which doesn’t exist in Italy.
While in Umbria, which is the gorgeous hillsides between Rome and Florence, I met a musician and he turned me on to another musician who turned me on to another musician and within a week I had eight musicians in a room ready to play my music.
HB: What do you like about living and performing there?
CB: At first performing in Italy was a blast with our group of seven Italians and the American which was named “Chase Bell & White Licorish” because we kind of wanted to do a modern 70’s funk thing. We performed in the main plaza of some small cities near Rome and had crowds of 500 to 3,000 people. Our album “Skywords” got onto radio in Italy and so we had some buzz on that.
However, as many people have noticed, Italians know how to feast, but not how to work. It’s true that that last statement is over simplistic but I lived there and many times Italians would complain about how the economy is so bad while eating on a Monday afternoon what we would eat on Christmas. After a while I distanced myself from Italy because I got some commercials with Revlon and the band did not handle the job well so it made me step up to the plate and learn how to do all the musical stuff without anyone’s help out of necessity.
HB: Do you have plans to go back?
CB: I am currently producing an artist in Miami who wants to record with a full band and possibly we will go to produce some songs in Italy with a live group in a beautiful studio between the hills of Perugia, right in the center of Umbria. Who knows maybe it will happen, maybe not.
HB: So how do you describe your style of music?
CB: As an artist I am a Pop, Rock, Funk artist and songwriter. I am releasing a song per month until the end of the year and the style is like “The Killers” meets “Lenny Kravitz.” However I’m also a daily music producer and composer producing artists from Hip Hop to Pop to Afro-Funk and that is as much a part of me as my own songwriting is, and I put just as much into it.
HB: Who influenced or influences your style the most?
CB: Every song that you hear from me has different influencers, there is way too many amazing artists and music in the world to simply base your music on a finite amount of artists. “Hard Rockr” for example is my newest song released with a music video in May and was influenced by Kendrick Lamar’s producing with his hard-hitting rhythms.
HB: You are also a prolific writer as well as a performer. What inspires you to write?
CB: I will go weeks where I write 1-5 song ideas every day and you can only keep that up if you are determined to make a great song, not necessarily inspired because inspiration is fleeting and comes then goes. But determination can be like a low flame which eventually will cook anything you put on top. I am inspired every time I listen to a song which makes me re-imagine how music can make someone feel.
HB: As you said, you also produce other artists? Do you prefer producing, writing or performing the most?
CB: That’s a terrifying question because they are all so vital to me.
HB: What do you have planned on the horizon? Any new music, performances, videos?
CB: I am releasing a Rock Pop song per month and will try to do a music video for each one. We will see if I can pull that off. While these Pop Rock songs release, I am starting a more Top 40 Pop oriented album/Ep of my own music which I am very excited about and will again re-invent myself and my music.
Twitter: @chasebellmusic Instagram: @chasebellmusic