Gearing up for the release of her new album 'In The Light' later this year, Melissa Bel is hoping to break into the UK with the record, which charts the journey of how a Canadian girl met her lover in Las Vegas whilst at a friend's wedding.
Changing her life forever, the romance saw her relocate to Devon and the rest is history - but now showcased on this album.
We spoke to Melissa a little about her new album, future plans and more...
For those who may be new to your music, how best would you describe your sound?
I tend to suck at describing my sound, but I'd say it's pop soul with a pinch of singer/songwriter and blues influence.
What challenges have you faced in the music industry so far?
Where do I even begin...? There have been many a challenge so far from honing my sound and finding my identity as an artist, to finding the right team that is genuinely excited about my music and brings out the best in me. The main challenge is probably getting people's attention, let alone holding it, in our world of constant stimulation and information overload.
How difficult would you say this career path is in terms of making a name for yourself?
I'd say it's extremely difficult. When I was making my first album, my 17-year-old self had no idea how difficult it was going to be - I was convinced I'd be famous within a couple of years (laughs). It's been a humbling experience to say the least. There have been a few times along the way where I was ready to give up, but then another opportunity would pop up and keep me going. I've come to realise that I'm never going to stop wanting a career in music.
How important is it for you to have creative control over the work you produce?
It's one of the most important things, if not the most important. I've been in the situation where people have tried to tell me what kind of music I should be making, and I got really lost in terms of my musical identity and why I started in the first place. It was amazing working with Justin Gray as a producer on this album because he really understood my vision for how I wanted it to sound.
Where do you draw influence and inspiration from for your work?
For the most part, my songs are written about real-life things that have happened to me, and sometimes embellished a bit for the sake of the song. Like how films are 'based on true events'. 'Real Tonight' off the album is almonst word-for-word true though, and 'In The Light' is one I wrote in my apartment in about two hours because I was so inspired by having recently met and fallen for my now boyfriend.
If you could collaborate with anybody going forward, who would you choose and why?
It's always been a dream of mine to work with Paul McCartney. I fell in love with The Beatles when I was about five so that would be pretty great. I'd also love to collaborate with Ed Sheeran, he's such a talented writer and vocalist. And I'd love to sing on a track for Calvin Harris.
Tell us a random, funny fact about you that not many people know.
I had headgear for my braces when I was a kid.
Do you have definitive aims or goals for your career?
I've just recently started setting firm goals and writing them down because I keep hearing it's the best way to achieve them. My goal with this album would be to break out on commercial radio, and really make a name for myself in the UK, Canada and hopefully elsewhere! Ideally I'd like to spend the next 10 years making new music and touring, then eventually set up a studio of my own and write for other artists. A more immediate goal is being able to get by without a day job!
Where do you hope to be by this time next year?
Playing the BBC Introducing stages and Glastonbury and Big Weekend; a regular on the radio; working on my next album!
What should we expect from you in the coming weeks and months?
I'll be releasing a new single and video off the album in the next couple of months so look out for that! Will also be playing more shows around the UK, including an album launch party in November!
Melissa Bel releases her new album 'In The Light' on November 4 via Belhop Records.