The undeniably talented British soulful singer/songwriter Bella McKendree thankfully released her stunning four-track EP Waiting to the world back in August on Trellis Records. Produced by Grammy Award-winning producer Brett Shaw, the EP has a truly mature and emotional feel, incorporating raw feelings about personal loss, with Bella admitting “sometimes you just have to confront the dark places so you don’t sugar coat the truth”.
You know someone has that something special when you hear a track for the first time and instantly want to know who created something so angelic, what the lyrics are about and where you can find more of this amazing music, and that’s exactly how I felt the first time listening to this EP.
Around the age of 11, Bella started writing songs accapella and from there, discovered her love for the piano, feeling the need to express issues that she saw around her via music, and her debut EP highlights just this. She was brought up in the heart of the British countryside, using songwriting as a way to form her own identity and to feel a sense of escapism.
Moving to London to start up a band, allowed the music she was creating to have that bolder sound, giving her captivating lyrics such an atmosphere. The chillingly beautiful music allows room for Bella’s vocals to take the stage and project the personal thoughts that she is sharing to the world.
This is mostly evident with single “Grieve“, a painful yet relatable message about dealing with the grieving processes that most people can relate to within a lifetime, completed with a fast paced piano melody and beat giving the song a racy feel, but is contrasted with the vulnerability of the lyrics “nothing I say, nothing I do, will bring back you” making the track really tender.
It isn’t often that you see such bravery from new artists, who often play it safe as they tiptoe into the music industry, but writing about a topic such a grief, in such a personal way, ultimately gives you a reason to listen to somebody’s story and the emotions that they are portraying and ultimately this track is so addicting because of that.
“Don’t You Wanna Be Loved” offers an element of wanting to escape and wanting to be loved for who you are. The music begins with a relaxing feel, soft and subtle, but as it goes on it gets progressively louder and more aggressive suggesting the frustration that she is feeling towards her life.
This theme is continued on to track “Waiting“, which has a very similar sound to group London Grammar, with the soft plucking of guitar strings in the background. There is a very haunting feel to this track with her stunning vocals almost crying out over deep piano notes, sending you into her personal space that she is inviting us into.
There is no sense of hiding anything throughout this EP, she is opening up her mind and her thoughts and sharing this with us. She has an addicting charm and effortlessly grabs your attention and makes you want to listen deeply. She really is a breath of fresh air and an incredible talent that the music industry has been missing and you too are missing out if you don’t give it a listen.
Bella McKendree’s Waiting EP is out now via Trellis Records, purchase it on iTunes here.
Words by Mi Woloszczynska