Kathy Bell - 10 Questions Music Interview
Kathy Bell began music at a early age with a dream to perform and sing at the Grand Ole Opry. As she sat on a bench with her dad at the end of a show she fondly recalls saying, "Pop, I want to perform there," and his comment was, "Maybe one day." By the time she was 10 years old, Kathy was playing the piano and singing at the church where her grandfather pastored. In high-school, she played flute in band and sang alto with the choir. Shortly after, she began writing songs and going to Nashville, Tennessee to the songwriter festival. She competed (in costume) in Karaoke competitions and did well which led to her current career as a Karaoke Host, Wedding DJ, and a fun loving, clean, comedy act called "Ma Bell." Was there something (an experience) or someone in your life that was the "catalyst" for you to start writing music? Tell us about it.
I began writing and listening to music a lot when I found, unexpectedly, that I almost died due to many complications from 2 surgeries. I found that my finances, relationships, and emotions had the wind taken from my sail. I was in a very dark place when I wrote my first song. I learned music brought me joy through the pain. Music lifted my spirits when I needed so desperately to smile. I always knew music was a part of me as my grandfather was a pastor for 57 years and I helped by playing and singing in church. I knew at a young age my dream was to perform on the Opry, but it wasn't until later in life I began pursuing my dream.
Let's get this out of the way. What is the CRAZIEST thing that has ever happened to you in your music career?
Oh boy .. I have had many but I began by performing in costumes in Karaoke Contests that's where I really learned my passion was in music. Many experiences giving me more confidence but the one that stands out the most was I performed dressed like Madea singing Rappers Delight.. not my choice .. it was chosen for me. As usual I moved with the music and lost my drawers causing me to react by making my words up as I went. I was mortified..but as the saying goes.. " The show must go on" There was a lot of people there that night cheering me on.
What has been the high point of your music path?
I since have become a character known as "Ma Bell." I love being her and going out and performing. She is known as a clean Minnie Pearl type act but different. Being Ma Bell has helped me to achieve things I never ever thought possible. First and foremost performing in the Nashville Tennessee area. A big dream I never thought possible. I truthfully would love to perform more. Ma is funny and a clean wholesome act which I feel we need more of.
So, how do you approach songwriting or what is your creative process like?
I keep pretty busy so this is hard. It seems if I can just slow my roll I can write. I tend to write when least expected when something sincere happens in my life or something funny. A lot of what I write starts out as simple notes or poems. Some totally unexpected to the point I am thinking where did that come from?
What do you see as the biggest challenge facing Indie Artists today? Or, if you could ask the music industry to change one thing, what would it be?
I work really really hard as I am a single income. I find I will work as hard as it takes, but I still have so much to learn. Sometimes I send my songs to hundreds of radio stations who never respond. I sometimes get discouraged not because I expect a number one or fame or anything like that? I sometimes ask myself why is this journey so hard? What am I missing? What should I be doing different? I know many other artists/ songwriters feel the same. If I could ask the music industry one thing it would be this: What is it that I'm not understanding to getting my songs heard? How is it I can get my songs on all of these platforms? Who would be a good distributor? I have more than one question, lol. I think I realize this more with "America She's Cryin'" because I feel this song is special. It's what we all are going through.
If you could share the stage with one other artist or band, who would it be and why?
I would honestly have to say Dolly Parton. She has been an inspiration of mine growing up. She has a lot of traits that are just amazing. Her vocals yes, but her stage presence rocks!
What are your rehearsals generally like? Or, how do you prepare for a live show?
Honestly, It's just me and I for the most part use trax. I work many long hours at practice and I try when learning a song visualize my audience. I think how can I make this fun and connect to them? How can I draw them in to where they will enjoy what I do.
Pick one song that was your greatest challenge to write. Tell us about it!
"I'm Done I'm Moving" on because it was there my heart was broken from someone who lied to me. I thought he was my friend. I never would have written it, but my mom pushed me after I wrote the words. It ended up, instead of being sad, making me happy as I realized that the break up was a good thing. I couldn't see it until the song was finished and even the lyrics said now that you've left me I've had to move on; I'm dance and I'm grooving and I'm singing my songs. I think that showed me not everything has to end badly. I end up, when performing this, feeling grateful. I put a lot of emotion into this and even sang it at a rap contest... btw didn't realize it was a rap and the crowd loved the serious anger energy I put into it when performing.
What's coming up in the future?
I had several things scheduled in Nashville Tennessee area that got cancelled due to Coronavirus. I was super excited about and am hoping they will be rescheduled soon. I was to open for Mark Alan Cash at Storytellers, Kevin Shorey Show, and Bonnie and Quick show on NBRN. Things are still kind of on hold for the moment. Really ready to go out!
Tell us where fans can access your music?