Meet the talented singer-songwriter and our latest Center Stage artist, Frank Bell. On top of making a big impact among Jango listeners and our staff here at Radio Airplay, Bell was also one of the top 10 winners in the 2017 Love Song Contest for his song Home - Listen here!
Originally a classically-trained cellist, Frank Bell later expanded his instrumental arsenal as a way to further express himself as an artist. As an outlet, Frank began posting videos of his songs on YouTube, which brought him international attention and 800,000 video views (in four days) after being featured on their homepage. Shortly after, he flew to Canada to record his debut EP ‘On Passion and Reason’, a folky, neo-soul acoustic rock album which would later be released independently worldwide with famed Producer Bill Bell (Tom Cochrane, Jason Mraz, and more).
In 2010 Frank was named the HATCH GROUNDBREAKING Musician (HATCHexperience.com), where he recorded a song with Matt Morris (Justin Timberlake, Kelly Clarkson, Christina Aguilera) on a original track aboard the John Lennon Tour Bus. Recent appearances on MTV, at the Sundance Film Festival, a Times Square NYE Concert, IdeaJam moderated by Ashton Kutcher, and Sold-out shows in Europe, continue to grow Frank’s awareness and fan base.
Frank is also in tune with global needs. March of 2010, Frank could be seen on CNN, ABC World News with Dianne Sawyer, and other international news outlets, for a “We are the World” collaboration he participated in to aid Haiti relief efforts. In March of 2011 Frank led multiple ventures for Japan Tsunami Relief. He continues to work closely with non-profits and other charitable organizations as his career progresses, believing fully in social responsibilities and helping to raise awareness of what’s going on in the world.
Since August of 2010, Frank found himself back and forth Bozeman, MT, where he teamed up with Producer, Deej Hofer to begin recording the highly anticipated full length LP “Everything Falls Into Place”, which was released October 11, 2011.
In March of 2014, Frank was announced as the official Music Brand Ambassador for Skype which since has led to his participation on a panel at TED 2014 with fellow artist Amanda Palmer, and Imogen Heap.
In the following years, Frank turned his focus inwards, stripping down his sound and rediscovering the foundation of his passion: connecting with people through song. Spending extended periods of time in NYC, Boston, and at sea, Frank has been hard at work listening, building relationships, and refining his voice to speak to an increasingly diverse and disparate community. Always a heartfelt, insightful lyricist, his next big challenge is finding the words to match the world we live in today.
We enjoyed chatting with Frank, learning about what inspires him and what he's got in store for his promising career.
Home was actually written spur of the moment. I was in Bozeman, Montana recording the record “Everything Falls Into Place” with Deej Hofer in studio, when he received a very sobering call. When he returned, the air was a bit thick/somber and music seemed to be what was needed. From that evening, Home was written. I love the message - something I have to remind myself sometimes; we are not alone. Home is a love song that can be sung to anyone and is for everyone.
Describe your sound in one ramble-on sentence
The sound a bendystraw makes when freshly bent aligned with the crisp sound of a newly opened can of orange soda mic’ed through a ‘57 vintage Fender Twin Amp coupled with both the juxtaposing excited feeling when picking up a loved one from the airport, and the wistful longing when taking them for their return flight - burgundy-colored melodic hooks riding inside gritty lavender grooves.
What's your earliest music-related memory growing up?
Hahaha, well if you were to ask my mother, I’m pretty sure she would mention my proclivity towards banging on pots and pans on the kitchen floor as a baby. I totally wanted to be a drummer. Other highlights, include my introduction to the music of Barbra Streisand, Michael Jackson, and Bob Marley at a young age as well for sure.
If you were to cover another band/artist's album, which would you pick and why?
An entire album? Wow, I’m not sure to be honest. A few years ago I was on a sailing trip, and had this brilliant idea to cover Taylor Swift’s 1989 record just for the hell of it. Those songs were admittedly insanely catchy… Lo and behold, by the time I got back to land, I got word that Ryan Adams was doing it… Haha I was definitely disappointed he beat me to the punch! I can’t think of an entire album at the moment, though I’d love to maybe put out a cover album singing songs from various female artists I respect. I think could be fun!
Do you write/compose your own songs? Briefly describe your songwriting process
I do indeed, along with writing for and with others as well. There’s really no method to my madness of writing… Unless it’s for a client, or with a deadline, I usually just let it happen organically. Sometimes it starts at the piano, sometimes it starts with a guitar - sometimes inspiration strikes while on the subway, or mid conversation with a friend. I usually carry a moleskine notebook and pen with me wherever I go, and though I often use my iPhone’s voice memo app I actually rarely go back and listen to what I recorded… Maybe I’ll find some long lost treasures!
Can you give give us a little hint on what's to come in 2017?
Definitely excited for what’s to come! I’ve recently started dabbling with some film scoring, a musical, and some pretty fresh collaborations I’m excited to eventually announce! I most recently launched a GoFundMe Campaign in hopes to record a full length solo acoustic record, with video documentation to go with it. It’s been since 2011 since I released an album, and figure it’s about time I get on it! I released two rough solo recordings along with the campaign. To listen to them and help us reach the goal, check out http://www.gofundme.com/frankbellmusic
What do you like more: Performing live or recording in the studio?
There’s definitely perks to both! There’s something about performing live though… It’s a bit more dynamic, and you never really know what’s going to happen you know? I love being able to engage with the audience and feel off their vibes. Something about living in that moment where anything is possible, is both cathartic at times and magical.
Any embarrassing on stage moments you'd like to share? C’mon, don’t be shy.
Hahaha, I don’t embarrass easily actually… If I can think of one instant, it might be from a few years ago… I wrote a song about someone and premiered it the the night she brought her significant other to a show… That Might have been kinda awkward… I survived! :)
What's one thing people should know about you?
Oh wow - I don’t know… I’m human? I can’t think of one definitive thing that anyone should know about me.
What do you enjoy doing outside of music? Does your hobby rejuvenate your creativity?
I LOVE to cook. I think there’s some sort of connection between food and music (other than the fact that both keep me alive). I love going into the kitchen with random ingredients and “playing jazz” - improvising and sharing the final product.
What do you like the most about Radio Airplay?
I like being able to control which songs and the frequency of rotation. Feedback is also always lovely, Interesting to see which stations my music do well on. Haha, It got me listening to more Ed Sheeran ;) Also these lovely features aren’t bad. Thanks guys!
Do you have a you'd like to share with us?
Well going back full circle, Here’s a performance from one of the SofarSounds shows I did. Was in a lovely art gallery/home in SoHo. I remember it being HOT as hell as evident by my profuse sweating. I think it brought out a fun performance of one of my favorite songs :)