"Lauryn Hill meets Pink meets Chelsea Handler"
That's what Boston-based artist, Lisa Bello's bio reads on Facebook. "I am as independent as they come," said Bello. "I’m a single mama, Aries woman that can fight (in case anyone was wondering) but can also laugh at herself with ease. I tend to want to do everything myself and only ask for help after the fact if ever."
Read on then go check out her 3rd studio album that dropped today at lisabello.com, which is both insightful and soulful. Bonus points for some fire features.
Amy: I first discovered you through Instagram in a series of "how I'm pulling up" posts. I was amused, started following and soon realized you were this uber-talented artist and activist with something to say. You seem to really put yourself out there, both professionally through your music and personally as a mother and collaborator. When did you start making music and are there specific causes/issues that inspired your career?
Lisa: First of all, I LOVE that THAT is how you found me. My signature “how I’m pullin up to your girl” series got some traction and some boo-ing from the men but it’s by far my favorite tag line and I meant it sincerely.
I have been singing since I was a teen. My father is a musician, as is my brother, so it’s something that comes naturally to me. I didn’t start recording my own stuff until I was in my early 20's. I was an athlete before anything and that’s why I turned down multiple girl band/group offers as a teen. I just wanted to play hockey. I loved singing and writing but I felt like I could do that later on and kept putting it off until it just ate me up inside. I knew I was missing a part of me and once I really went all in I felt whole.
Amy: As a Boston-bred artist, how has the City shaped your sound and point of view as a musician?
Lisa: This city has shaped my heart and my backbone in this game. I grew up going to my dads performances and always being around music and musicians. There was never a time where music wasn’t around my life in various forms.
Amy: Who are some of your musical inspirations?
Lisa: Aside from Stevie Wonder being my absolute favorite artist, New Edition is a group that influenced me the most and yes, I play favorites because we are from the same city. Mary J. and Amy Winehouse are two powerhouses that inspired many of my performances as well. My list is very long but it’s eclectic. Tom Petty and Too Short may go back to back in my playlist. Both inspiring me for various reasons. I am made up of a rainbow of these genres and sounds and it’s what inspires me to make my own magic.
Amy: COVID has clearly devastated the entertainment industry, but if there's one thing I know about Massachusetts artists, it's that they have grit, are resilient and will figure out a way to make it work. You have an album dropping this month. Can you tell me about the process of writing, producing and recording during a pandemic. What kept you motivated?
Lisa: Writing and recording this album took two years so when the pandemic started I had a good chunk of it done. The problem was absolutely finding motivation amidst the depression when we all realized that live venues were no longer open for longer than I had expected. My fear of not having a tour nor a place to perform crippled me. My push came after one of my best friends died suddenly in August. Justin and I spoke about putting our albums out into the world but I was too down to complete mine. That is until his passing. I doubled down the week after his death and vowed to drop the album before the close of 2020. Proud of myself for completing that goal.
Amy: Food has been a central theme of 2020. Did you discover any new foods or recipes this year? Where was it from or how did you discover it?
Lisa: I am a vegetarian (5 years deep) and I am always looking for new recipes. My girls at the Wholly Shift dropped an ill cookbook (thewhollyshift.co) and the Green Bean Casserole is my jam. Easy and tasty as hell.
Amy: If you could collaborate with any musical artist, dead or alive, who would it be?
Lisa: I want to collaborate with the Wu Tang Clan. Based purely off of respect and vibes, I would give anything to have a studio session with them.
Amy: If you weren't making music, what would your dream job be?
Lisa: My dream job would be as a tattoo artist
Amy: How many tattoos do you have? Do you have a favorite?
Lisa: I have no idea how many tattoos I have but i am about 85% covered in them. My favorite is between the portrait of my son and my New Edition Bobby Brown button on my sleeve.
Amy: Name one other local artist our readers should be listening to right now?
Lisa: Bia Javier is about to drop an EP and she is often slept on. She needs more shine. Her voice is magical.