UCR Interview- Belle Jewel

By: Kevin Rolfe

Photo By: Nikolaih Photography

Belle Jewel will be playing at Les Femmes De Velour on Thursday evening February 21 at Velour Live Music Gallery in Provo. I was able to catch up with Belle leading up to the show. She has an incredible voice, and it will be really exciting to see her at this event. Here’s our conversation. Enjoy!

UCR: First of all thank you so much for agreeing to do this with me. I just really love this event and I really enjoy your music. You have a beautiful voice so I’m happy to be speaking with you. 

UCR: First of all thank you so much for agreeing to do this with me. I just really love this event and I really enjoy your music. You have a beautiful voice so I’m happy to be speaking with you.

Belle Jewel: Thank You. I Really appreciate it. I really love Les Femmes too! It’s so fun man. 

UCR: So how did you get connected with Les Femmes?

Belle Jewel: So it kind of started pretty far back. I think I was like fifteen at the time. I did an open mic at Velour and Corey (Fox, owner of Velour) happened to be there. And I just started talking to him and told him that I kind of had big dreams of making my own music one day. And you know performing more often. From there, Corey kind of took me under his wing and he’s always made a conscious effort to include me in Velour showcases and fit me in wherever he can. I think this is my second time doing Les Femmes now and it’s I’m so excited.

UCR: Are you originally from Utah? Or did you move here later and start playing here? 

Belle Jewel: I was born in Utah. I was born in American Fork. But it feels like I was born and raised in Arizona because I have so many roots there. But I moved to Utah when I started college when I was 15. So I’ve been here for some time for sure. Like I said I feel like a Utahn now. But I spent most of my life in Arizona.

UCR: What do you think it is about the Provo music scene that makes it so eclectic. It’s really deep as far as the amount of talent that’s there. You wouldn’t necessarily think “OK this is a great music city”. And of course you can say say it’s a college town but there’s a lot of towns towns that don’t have this much talent. What do you think it is?

Belle Jewel: I think it’s a combination of just luck and people being in the right place at the right time. But I think what makes Provo so special, just looking at it from a music scene perspective is it’s small enough that the artists feel comfortable just reaching out to each other. People feel comfortable asking for help and advice. I think what you get is this kind of sense of family. Like everyone looks out for each other. It feels really comfortable to just go up and talk to another artist which I didn’t realize was a rarity until I spent time in New York and L.A. where it’s very competitive and it’s very cliquey. But in Provo, everyone started at the same place in the same way and people kind of watched each other grow. So again I feel like it just kind of creates this family vibe.

UCR: So give me if you could, just a little bit of the background on how you got into music. Was it just you enjoyed listening to it and then realized “Oh I have this voice.”?What clicked for you that made you think “I really want to do this.”?

Belle Jewel: So my dad is an artist and pretty much ever since I can remember he’s been doing art and as an independent artist to put food on the table.  And he kind of has urged me to pursue like a performance career or an art career or just some kind of creative career kind of in the same way that I feel like a lot of parents would push for kids to pursue like a law degree or a medical degree. I was pushed to be an artist and really supported in that. So ever since I was little my parents were always encouraging me to explore new music and think about the lyrics and learn the melodies and so I would say when I was about 13 I started to think like ‘Hey I think I would have a lot of fun doing this.’ And then as I got older I realized ‘OK if I want to do this I have to start now I have to start honing my skills and. Just kind of figuring out who I am as an artist.’ So that started to take place when I was 14 or 15.

UCR: That’s so cool because you’re right, some parents might want you to shy away from pursuing something in an artistic vein. It’s too bad because there really are opportunities. So that’s really cool that you were encouraged to do that. 

Belle Jewel: Yeah yeah I feel so lucky. They’re super supportive. 

UCR: So going back to Les Femmes, what do you think people who are coming to the shows this weekend should they expect?

Belle Jewel: I think that any of the four shows that you go to you’re going to see I think a really good mix of people who are established in the scene and people who are either new or kind of gig in other cities. They’re going to get a really good mix people who do more of a solo thing and people do who do more of a band thing. I really think that if you have a specific taste in music you’ll find some kind of that this weekend. There are 16 artists total I believe and all of them bring such different things to the table. So there’s a lot of diversity.

UCR:   What do you think the overall message is of Les Femmes?

Belle Jewel:  I think that it’s just that there’s room for everyone like there’s room for every musician to be heard. And because they kind of put a genre on each night. I know that I got put in the pop rock just kind of general category. But within that we have like a rock rock band and we have soul rock and then we have my electronical pop. There’s just there’s such a wide spectrum even within each genre. So I think what La Femme is really trying to promote is like it’s if you want to be heard we want to hear you. 

UCR: Do you remember the very first concert you ever went to? 

Belle Jewel: Yes I do actually. When I was 7 or 8 my grandma took me to a Tim McGraw concert and he pulled me up onstage and kissed my hand. And that was my first concert experience ever. So in my mind I was like “Man, concerts are great! Like that’s such a cool way to meet the artist.” So even though I could say like not every artist has kiss me on the hand like that was a pretty great first memory of a live concert.

UCR: It’s pretty much all downhill from from that point! 

Belle Jewel: Right! How Does it get better than Tim McGraw kissing you on your hand like kneeling down. 

UCR: Do you remember your first time performing live? 

Belle Jewel: The first one where I remember going up on stage and feeling like I was Belle Jewel like I was an actual artist and I was doing what I really liked and was excited about was a gig at SoZo coffeehouse in Arizona. I believe I was I was either 15 or 16 I can’t remember. And I just remember feeling so, this, I can’t even think of the word to describe it. I just knew that it was something that I had to do for the rest of my life in some form. So that’s the first gig that I really have that memory of playing is, SoZo coffee house in Arizona when I was 15.

UCR: So, I’m sure you’ve been asked a billion times about being on The Voice. I don’t want to focus on it too much. I only want to ask you one question about it. What would you say the best and the worst part about being on the voice has been for you?

Belle Jewel: I would say with the best part, there’s kind of two parts to it. The fact that I’m able to put that on my resume like for the public but also the fact that I can look back and just see something that I conquered of that magnitude and you know whenever I get nervous about a gig or I get nervous about meeting up with like a new producer I’m like OK that was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. And I did it. I walked away and I felt proud of my effort. So looking back more than anything I think my favorite part about it is like the best thing about it was just the courage that it gave me and the trust in myself.

I would say the worst part is how hard I had to fight to have my own identity on that show. And that’s unfortunately I think all I can say about that because I’m still under a NDA. I just, I had the fight really really hard to be who I wanted to be. . 

UCR: What would you say is the best concert you’ve ever been to or maybe your favorite concert experience? 

Belle Jewel: So I had a really magical experience when I saw Sylvan Esso live at the Ogden Twilight Series. I have always loved their music and I have always wanted to go to a concert of theirs. But I was not prepared for how much that show made me feel. I think it was just watching those two people like, just so freely expressing their feelings and their music to so many people. It was it was like the most inspiring show I’ve ever been to. I can’t even describe it. 

UCR: Wow! So My last question for you is what would you say has been your best or favorite or most memorable live performance for yourself? 

Belle Jewel: Easily my prerelease concert back in last March for my most recent album. It was at Boxcar Studios and I was expecting about 50 people to come but we ended up having over 300. And it was all just to hear my album. And I remember like I like get so emotional when I think about it. I remember walking up onstage and just looking out to all these people that I knew and all these people that I had never met just there to hear what I had to say. And that performance was so liberating and motivating and gave me so much to look forward to with my career. 

UCR: That’s sounds like the perfect night for an artist. 

Belle Jewel: It was the best! I think about it all the time. 

Belle Jewel will be playing the opening night of Les Femmes De Velour on Thursday, February 21 at Velour Live Music Gallery in Provo. Jumpmonk, The Rubies, and Jenn Blosil will also be featured. You can find Belle’s music wherever you buy or stream music.

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