Hey y'all, Bella Raye here.
I believe, with my whole heart, that if you actually want to invest in an artist, if you desire to see an aspiring musician prosper in this crazy music industry, and if you truly pull for a songwriter to do well, especially a woman in country music songwriting, then you need to know where they are coming from. Music was there for me when no one else was, and I think that it is very important to know how I got to this point in my life. This was not an easy write, but as stated above, it is necessary that my fans and friends all understand the true purpose of my musical ambitions. Please take time to read this, and thank you for believing in me.
This is my story.
I was born and raised in a real small, southern town called Bristol, right in the tip top of East Tennessee; home of NASCAR and the Birthplace of Country Music. A town so small that I could get from point A to point B in 30 minutes at most, and usually never had to worry about sitting in traffic for more than 5 minutes any given day, any given time. I went to elementary school, middle school, and high school all within a 2 mile radius from each other, and had the same friends for twelve straight years. I participated in ballet, soccer, basketball, swimming, gymnastics, dance, you name it, but only one sport really stuck, and that happened to be volleyball. I played volleyball from age 9 to age 18 and loved every second of it. Away from my guitar, you could find me on a court hitting a ball across the net and bonding with my teammates in the locker room before games. I was studious, participating in several other extracurricular activities such as a bluegrass band called Slim Pickens, the Madrigal's choir, and helping out with fundraising organizations on a before and after school basis. I ended up graduating early, as a valedictorian and TN Scholar, with a 4.0 GPA, and then walked across the stage with the rest of my class to receive my diploma.
How did I find my voice with my music in high school you may ask? Let's back up.
I mentioned that I had the same friends all the way through grade school, and while that could be seen as a blessing to some, to me it was actually, for a lack of better words, quite an inspiration for my song lyrics. My influences for songwriting came from Taylor Swift, Maren Morris, Kelsea Ballerini, and many more. I enjoy songs with raw emotions behind them. Songs with a purpose and lyrics that make your heart sink whenever you listen to them. These artists have all made me feel things sometimes that I did not want to feel, but that I definitely needed to recognize. Songwriting, for me, was, and still is, a way that I can express my emotions and inward feelings, that are personal to me, but could make sense to any girl figuring out who she is as a young woman.
High School was four years filled with fun memories of football games, sleepovers, driving around with your best friends in the brand new car they got for their sweet 16, and finally having your first kiss with that boy you had your eye on since the first day of freshman year. But for me, I had all of that and more, yet it felt like I had nothing or no one. I was captain of the volleyball team, dated the star of the football team, and at one point another boy who I thought held the stars, but really didn't love me at all. I had the grades, I was friends with the "in" group, and both of my older siblings made a name for themselves at that same high school that I followed quite well. But none of that mattered because when I lost some of my best friends, when my heart was broken time and time again by the people I thought would love me forever, and when I woke up in the morning my stomach hurt so bad that I didn't want to go to school, all of those things that sound so dreamy to everyone else were the things that chained me down the most. I would come home from work, school, wherever I was and get a text from someone telling me what the new name I was being called around school was, and I would just come home to collapse in my momma's arms (thank God for that woman, by the way y'all) begging her to let me drop out of school and just play music all day. That obviously didn't happen, so I would go back to my little bedroom, grab my guitar, and write a song about whatever hurt me that day. I would never tell that person what they did hurt me as bad as it did because I never wanted them to feel like I did inside. I was forced to grow up very fast, my friends, and because of that I am so thankful to have had my family backing me through all of those experiences and downfalls, and to now, watch me grow as a singer/songwriter in the great city of Nashville, TN.
So, when I say music was there for me when no one else was, I hope that makes better sense now.
I would never go back and change what I went through, the way it made me feel, or what all of those haunting memories did to me as a young 17 year old girl, because all of those words said to me, actions done to me, and looks thrown at me, have made some pretty amazing songs that I can't wait to show y'all.
Let me leave you with this piece of advice:
Never, ever, ever let ANYONE tell you that your dreams are too big or that you need to find a plan B because hardly anyone ever makes it doing what you are trying to do. That's bull. Work hard, build up your neighbors, and turn your tunnel vision on because one day you're going to shine, and all of those people who laughed at you when you raised your hand and spit out that big dream of yours in that first day of class, are going to wish they held your hand to the top. I promise you that.
I am working for my dream not only for myself, but for every young boy and girl who have had a dream and were crushed so bad that they didn't continue with that dream. For every girl who was taunted by her "friends" on how she stood out from everyone else, and had a dream so big it scared her to speak about, I am their voice, and I don't plan on giving up until everyone hears it.
Thank you for taking the time to read My Story. Hopefully now you can understand more about why music is the only road for me, and why I work so hard every day to achieve this dream of mine.
Don't let anyone dull your sparkle. Stay shiny, beautiful one.