Hot New Music Alert: Bella Rios announces new EP, “Sincerely,” (Interview in Post!)

Facebook Twitter Google + Pinterest Linkedin Reddit
Hot New Music Alert: Bella Rios announces new EP, “Sincerely,” (Interview in Post!)

(photo credit: Nick Spanos)

Editor’s Note: Like many industry folks,  my algorithm over the last few days has been slammed full of videos of incredible moments from Coachella Weekend One. The main constant throughout the wave of content? Women. It just goes on, be it Lana Del Rey’s incredible headline set, Sabrina Carpenter’s Coachella debut, and No Doubt’s return. The newer acts mixed in with the forever favorites, current show-stopper Olivia Rodrigo was invited on stage to perform with No Doubt. Reneé Rapp also brought out Kesha for a “remixed” version (we don’t support P. Diddy in this house anymore) of Kesha’s classic, “Tik Tok.” Beautifully, of course, this speaks so much about what the past few years have been like for the music industry. In Beyonce’s words, it’s truly girls who run the world.

One of the next acts you should register on your radar is Bella Rios, who will be dropping her new EP, Sincerely, on May 17th. Included in this sure-to-be, the beauty of a collection of tracks is the anthemic “Ever After,” only a taste of what’s sure to come. I jumped on the opportunity to chat with Rios recently about the new EP, her early roots as a musician, and so much more.

You can find the video below for the abovementioned single and my chat with Rios!

New England Sounds: To start, obviously, with “Ever After,” you released the single the same day as the music video. That was only about two weeks ago. How do you think it’s been going over as your first single release in two years or so? 

Bella Rios: I mean, I’m thrilled. Of course, I was excited to put it out for myself. It’s important to my self-fulfillment, but seeing how people have responded to it has been amazing. I know the song is at least decent because people I don’t know on campus come up to me and say that it’s good, which I didn’t expect. So that’s an ego boost for sure.

NES: You live in Nashville and attend school there, but your roots are in Chicago. How has being in Nashville affected your music style, if at all? Both are music cities, but Nashville is obviously so different from Chicago. 

BR: How did it affect my style?

NES: From listening to the tracks, it differs from what I’ve heard from 2022. It’s 2024, and changes are obviously going to happen in life, but do you think it has had an effect? 

BR: I’ve always listened to many different types of music. A big part of my personal artistic journey was figuring out how I wanted to meld all of the influences that I’ve had in my life together. And see what feels most natural to me, so the progression you’re hearing is not necessarily due to the city. But more to like my own discovery as an artist and what feels authentic, when I write it myself. But different cities have exposed me to different music scenes. When I moved to Nashville, I started becoming a stronger songwriter. Because that industry is so fruitful and natural, and it’s a community in Nashville, I was doing writing sessions in Chicago, but it’s not as much of a warm, friendly town. Not that I don’t love Chicago.

NES: I actually grew up outside Chicago. I was there until I was about 16, so I get it. 

BR: Yeah, like, no hate whatsoever. I love Chicago, but objectively, the people are warmer in Nashville. So I got more confident as a songwriter there because when I would walk into rooms, people would make an effort to make me feel comfortable and say, “Whatever you can bring to the table, just say it. Don’t be nervous”. That brought out more independence within me as an artist and confidence in my own artistic vision. Which I do think was a part of the newer music. Because really what makes this project unique to me is that I’ve said yes to every single step in the process. I trusted myself less in my early stages and defaulted to others I thought had more expertise.

So Nashville has been important to me in that way.

NES: Speaking of saying yes, from the video, I just now watched your IG story about you having this all-girl band, which is great. When did you start forming the band? When did that become part of it? 

BR: When we put together the band? When we filmed that, it was during my winter break. My timing for a big trip like that, going to LA to film and stuff, is tricky with my school schedule. So we were tossing around dates to see when people were available. I knew I wanted an all-girl band. I knew I wanted them to all be badass musicians, honestly, because I’ve never been in an all-girl band before. I’ve played with female musicians before, but I’ve never played a song with a kick-ass drummer, a kick-ass guitarist, and a kick-ass bassist who are all women, which was super empowering, especially with the song’s message. But we started actually figuring out who could be in it as soon as we set a date. Some of the other people I work with had connections to these other musicians, and we reached out to them. We crossed our fingers that they were available on those dates, and that worked out.

NES: Speaking of the EP that you’re announcing, you’ve been working on music right now. But when did you start thinking about the songs that are going to be on this EP, this body of work? When did you really start working on these ones? 

BR: Part of what makes this EP special is that it is an amalgam of songs that I wrote five years ago and songs I wrote six months ago. Because I had a few songs in my back pocket for a long time that I wanted to release, but I needed to figure out how to finish them, production-wise. And now that I’ve found that confidence in myself and in my vision, I’ve been able to finish them more recently. And then a couple of them are super relevant to my most recent experiences, I wrote them in this dorm room. Or actually, in a dorm room a hundred feet away from me.

So, the way I went about picking them, it was pretty easy, honestly. I mean, I have a million songs in a Dropbox, demos that are almost entirely unfinished. Ones that I literally just started writing a guitar riff and didn’t do anything else to them. These ones really jumped out at me; I knew these were the ones I was most proud of when I looked through that gigantic list. And the ones that I wanted to share with everyone else. So, it was a pretty easy pick. I love how they all come together because they really tell the entire story of who I am at this exact moment. Even though I’m still evolving, it also shows how I have developed in the last few years as an artist and as a person.


NES: In 2020, many people wrote many of their songs in dorm rooms or recorded them at home or alone. How do you think that maybe helped the creative process, being in the dorm room? How do you think that helped or hindered? 

BR: I record my vocals with someone in a professional studio, but I’ve written some new ones in my dorm. When I’m not writing in my dorm or at home, I’m writing in my room. I need to be in a place where I feel safe, comfortable, and willing to divulge and share whatever comes out of me as I’m writing. So it’s the perfect place for me because it’s my little secret place with all my lyrics and thoughts. So yeah, it’s my favorite place to write. But recording, I don’t do it myself. I’m technologically inept. Seriously, it’s a problem! The most I can do is restart my computer if I have an issue.

NES: So then maybe it won’t go too well! Then you’re at a point where it’s something where you don’t have years of touring under your belt; it may be hard to give advice at this point. But right now, female acts, queer presenting acts, they’re dominating the Grammy’s, they’re dominating touring. Are there maybe currently artists you look up to or advice you’d give to young people who want to start making music? You’ve been playing music since you were a kid. 

BR: I’ll start with the first part, like who I look up to. I mean, as you said, I’ve been playing and listening to music since I was out of the womb. So, there are so many people who inspire me. Every song that’s ever moved me has impacted how I write and perform to this day. I think about people who are really formative to my artistic development when it comes to performance. My first performances, when I got comfortable on stage, was when I was like thirteen to seventeen, I was performing pretty frequently with a classic rock cover band. I also watched a lot of videos of Stevie Nicks and Freddie Mercury. Like, a lot (laughs). I’m literally obsessed. We did a show where it was only covers of Queen. And so I had to be like the iconic Wembley Stadium moment. It was mortifying, but it was so good for me to get comfortable on stage and learn how to act on stage. So they’re definitely critical to my stage presence, to who I am when I perform now. But, musically, those two are important to me—all the classics, like Led Zeppelin, Heart, all of them. But more recently, or at least more contemporary, I love Olivia Rodrigo, Reneé Rapp, Adele, and P!nk—really, all these big female powerhouse voices. I love ballads and pop-punk princess vibes. So, anyone like that, but that being said, I listen to everything that I personally don’t write. I love Jon Bellion; he’s one of my favorite songwriters, producers, and musicians ever. I have a massive creative crush on him. Alessia Cara, literally so many people, but those are the first ones that come to mind.

And then advice to people trying to get into songwriting or performing?

NES: Maybe considering the oversaturation or being still relatively young, like 19 or 20, when first trying out music. 

There are two things. First of all, put yourself out there as much as you can. I’m an introvert and a little shy when you first meet me. But music is one of those things that brings out my most confident, extroverted, energetic self. That’s part of why I love it so much. And it’s pushed me in every way. In songwriting sessions with other musicians, it’s forced me to put myself out there when I’m on stage. It’s so fulfilling and scary when you do that, but you will grow as long as you keep pushing yourself to do that. As a musician, as an artist, as a performer, and as a person. So that’s the first thing: always push yourself even when you’re scared.

And then the second thing, when it comes to oversaturation, is that if it’s something you’re called to, something that you love, however many other people are doing, it doesn’t matter. First of all, you have your own voice and ability to tell different stories and reach people differently. But also, you don’t need to do it for everyone else. If it brings you joy, do it, obviously! Obviously, I want people to hear my music, but I took about a year when I first got into college where I didn’t prioritize a record. I felt like something was missing in my life, and looking back on that time made me even more motivated to make it a priority. No matter who’s listening and no matter who’s watching, it’s for me.


You can pre-save/pre-order Bella’s upcoming EP here!

About Author


Colleen has been writing about music since 2009. Interviewing bands since the glory days of Warped and has continued to do so for now over fourteen years. As well as doing freelance for other publications, the love for everything rock continues today.