Artist Interview: Andrew Belle
Andrew Belle is the kind of musician that makes other musicians sick to their stomachs. For many aspiring artists, it’s a lifelong goal to hit the big time in the music business. They might spend their entire lives from childhood well beyond middle age trying to get a record deal. They fight and scratch and starve and suffer waiting for that big break.
Belle didn’t really have to go through all that.
Instead, he graduated with a business degree from a four-year university and, on a whim, decided he’d give songwriting a shot instead of pursuing a normal 9-to-5. One year later, he was touring the country, receiving accolades from all directions, and recording a successful album.
“It was kind of a serious thing to just jump out of college when all of your friends are getting jobs with insurance policies and retirement plans,” Belle says. “It’s a little scary to not have that, so I always kind of had a plan in the back of my head, a sort of What If thing.”
His way of viewing his music career wouldn’t stay so conservative, however.
“As I was getting into things a little bit more,” he adds, “I was chatting with one of my songwriter friends, and he told me to never have a plan B. If you have a plan B, you’re never going to make it. Might as well save your breath and don’t waste your time. That really influenced me, and from that moment on I decided not to have a plan B and that I was in it for the long haul.”
The long haul has only been a couple years, but in that time Belle has come quite a long way as an artist. Growing up in a religious family, he wasn’t even allowed to listen to secular music or, obviously, watch a lot of music videos. He hopped into the music thing, he found himself relatively unprepared and extremely inexperienced. Learning on the job, he says, wasn’t always easy.
“Learning how to perform was a lot like how I learned how to song write—I just watch the artists I admire and emulate them, at least to a degree because there’s a point where you have to make it your own,” Belle says.
“I’ve been doing it for a couple years now and I’ve played way more shows than I ever thought I would, and every show I learn something new—strategies and techniques of singing, stuff like that. It’s not something I think I’ve conquered by any stretch, but I’m learning things here and there and definitely enjoying the fact that I’m getting better as I tour more.”
To think that a young man as talented as Andrew Belle is still really only learning the trade is more than a little mind-boggling. Already he’s been added to the Ten Out of Tenn tour and named “Best New Artist, Chicago” by MTV, and he’s only been doing this for a few years.
Still, Belle is trying to keep his burgeoning career in perspective. “Typically, long-term and music business don’t go hand in hand,” Belle jokes, “But it is something that I think about. We’ve had a lot of success relatively early, and part of me just wants to continue that success.
“I just think about keeping it to the basics—do what I do best, which is songwriting, and try not to let the success that we’ve had intimidate me into thinking that now I have to do better or sell twice as many records. I just want to do what I do best—writing thoughtful, interesting music and keeping that the focal point. Hopefully if I do that, things will continue to happen for us.”
Considering the fact that he’s still so new at this and already is so good and so distinctive and so humble and so hard-working and so grounded, it seems inevitable that he’s at least got a few more albums in him. If he continues to grow the way he’s grown since leaving Taylor University for the music business just a few short years ago, more success is inevitable.
We’re looking forward to it, and if we had to venture guess, those spiteful, sick-to-their-stomach veteran musicians are likely looking forward to it, too. Listen to “The Ladder” and tell me I’m wrong.
“None of this was planned, really,” Belle admits incredulously. “It all just kind of happened, but I’m glad for the way that it happened.”
Grab “The Ladder” at Amazon or iTunes by clicking the links below!