It’s amazing to see musicians come together to support each other and create something. I’m so impressed with the people that developed and continued to support both The Hotel Cafe Tour and Ten Out Of Tenn. They’ve both developed into recognizable brands that; bring people to shows, help to sell the artists music and merchandise, guarantee high quality and have inspired people to make films;
My son and I saw Andrew Belle in the Fall of 2009 on one of his early shows with Ten Out Of Tenn. I know a lot of the musicians who were on the tour and we even hung out with KS Rhoads and Butterfly Boucher before the show. I knew Andrew was the new guy but had heard great things. We were both blown away by Andrew’s voice and songs. I’m thrilled to see the success he’s had since then and really look forward to his upcoming album. So, I’m happy to share this songwriting discussion with Andrew Belle.
OSW; What is your songwriting/composing process?
Andrew Belle; My approach is a little different than most songwriters, I think. I don’t write very often. So far there have been 2-3 major seasons where I get really inspired, write 10-12 songs, and then exhaust myself so much in the process of making them meaningful and unique, that I don’t make another attempt for a year or two. It’s sort of sporadic and bizarre, so that’s typically why I am so bent on making the most of every syllable I write down. My process for this last record was: sit down at the keyboard, find some fun sounds on logic pro, play around until I have a cool chord progression, and then crank up the reverb on my mic and start mumbling crazy melodies until something sticks. I usually find my melodies in falsetto (because it’s easier for me to explore up there) and then I end up having to work them back down to my normal singing range. Although sometimes I leave them up there or find way to re-incorporate them in order to keep things interesting.
OSW; What are you most proud of?
Andrew Belle; I’m asked this now and again and I usually sit and try to think of all of the opportunities I’ve been blessed with over the past few years and really I’m just proud that I’m able to make music that I enjoy and support my family out of that. But even that I can’t take full credit for – any talent, opportunities, or even passion to create that I have, exists because God has allowed it to be set into motion.
OSW; Ten out of Tenn has developed into such a great musical movement. Such great musicians and the people I know personally are just wonderful. How did that develop and who started it?
Andrew Belle; TOT was started by Trent Dabbs and his wife Kristen some years back, as a way to showcase the young, up & coming talent that was being made in Nashville. I saw them on a whim in Chicago when they came through on their first big tour in 2008 and was totally blown away. I left the venue that night thinking that I would give anything to be a part of such a stellar lineup. The following year, I moved to Nashville to make my record ‘The Ladder’, and was soon after asked to be a part of a new TOT lineup that was being organized for a tour later that fall. We ended up doing two tours that year and a 3rd in 2011. It’s been such a privilege and an honor to be a part of such an accomplished and talented group of people.
OSW; What is your favorite songwriting lyric?
Andrew Belle; I don’t know if I have a favorite – but this was one of the first lyrics that ever meant anything to me:
The smell of hospitals in winter
And the feeling that it’s all a lot of oysters, but no pearls
All at once you look across a crowded room
To see the way that light attaches to a girl
“A Long December” – Counting Crows
OSW; What advice would you give to young songwriters/composers?
Andrew Belle; Find the first song that ever made you feel an emotion; the songs that led you to fall in love with music in the first place. Study it until you understand what it was that resonated with you; then chase that feeling in your own music, and don’t settle for anything less.
OSW; If you could sit down and talk about songwriting with anyone, who would it be and why?
Andrew Belle; Jesse Lacey. His approach to lyrics and melodies were what drove me to songwriting for myself.
OSW; Do you have anything new releasing soon?
Andrew Belle; My new album, Black Bear, releases on August 20th, 2013.
To view Andrew Belle’s selected playlist and other bonus items, please go to; http://www.ourscattereddreams.com/songwriting-blog.html
All interviews and Bonus Materials will be archived alphabetically HERE for easy access in the future.
Come back on Wednesday for an interview with Peter Broderick and on Friday when we share the interview with Sharon Van Etten. Thanks for reading to the end!! You rock.