The musician who wrote her first song at the age of 3 is now considering a second single

Julia Belle in the studio working on her new single, which has a working title

Kate Green / Stuff

Julia Belle in the studio working on her new single, the working title of which is “Time Flies And I’m Miserable”.

There aren’t many careers where 23 feel too old. But entering the music industry in her early twenties, every year she felt like she was too many to Julia belle.

Although her first single was released in August, Belle has been writing music since she was three years old. His first song was a scathing line to the cold-blooded flight of a toy car in the preschool playground.

After 20 years honing her craft playing with her twin sister on the streets of Byron Bay in Australia, her first professionally produced single, titled I can not sleep, Was released in August, with a concert at Wellington’s Cable Top Eatery in central Wellington.

It all started in December of last year, when Belle, now based in the capital, won a contest hosted by producer Toby Lloyd, whose name appears on hits like Stan Walker, Hollie Smith and Shapeshifter, and movies. like Deadly Engines and The Hobbit trilogy.

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Competition arose out of the first lockdown, Lloyd said, after seeing the damage Covid-19 had caused to the music industry.

A former sound engineer at Massey University, he left the job with overtime to pay. Instead of cashing it in, he decided to take his payment in studio time and give a promising artist the opportunity to cut his teeth.

Music producer Toby Lloyd of Tiny Triumph Recordings and Julia Belle in the studio.

Kate Green / Stuff

Music producer Toby Lloyd of Tiny Triumph Recordings and Julia Belle in the studio.

In the digital age, sound quality was important. A song might be the best thing ever written, but with low production quality it would never be seen alongside the highly produced singles that air on the radio today.

In the end, there were two winners; Belle, and a group called Shivers.

“I was looking for amazing songs,” Lloyd said. “Julia’s demo blew me away.”

Lloyd, too, was familiar with the concept of “artist burners”. Young women like Belle would be hired by a record producer, and would have all kinds of opportunities and support, and once they hit their late twenties, they’d be abandoned. He was determined to give something better to the artists he hired.

Belle summed up her fears: “Women only have a certain amount of time to be successful.

“I see people younger than me who are doing better. I have the impression that important people will think that I am too old.

“When you’re someone who doesn’t come from money or nepotism, and you’re just trying to grow up, 23 feels too old.”

Belle's first single, No Way I Can Sleep, was released in August.


Belle’s first single, No Way I Can Sleep, was released in August.

Belle described her sound as “sonorous, dreamy enough,” intended to take listeners to another realm.

Lyrically, it was centered on his own experiences with sanity, introspective and self-deprecating, and painfully relatable. “A lot of times I don’t try to come up with a resolution, I just put it on paper.”

Lloyd would often receive voice memos with short snippets of hastily sung tunes, bits of a song in the making, recorded by Belle on her phone in the middle of her workday.

New Zealand on Air is supporting her with their September tour of New Tracks – a monthly compilation of new music by New Zealand artists distributed on broadcast platforms and online.

His next song, quietly taking shape in Lloyd’s tiny studio on the outskirts of Johnsonville, has the working title Time goes by and I’m unhappy.

“It’s about being 23 and realizing you’re not 16 anymore, but it feels like time hasn’t passed.”

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About Ethel Nester

Ethel Nester

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