As I write this, I hope everyone is staying safe and properly social distancing during these unprecedented times. With that said, can you name a more perfect time to find new hobbies, practice some self-care and…discover new music???!!! Now, back to our regularly scheduled programming…
YERRRR! NEW ARTIST ALERT: Her name? Gen Bello. Oh, you’ve heard of her? Well, she’s probably already on your playlists, so you can move on to the next article. But…if you haven’t heard of her, then you should keep reading…
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I recently had the pleasure of sitting down with Gen Bello for an interview and I was able to catch one of her shows in the city. Before the interview, I was expecting to meet an artist and I ended up meeting an insightful, intelligent and introspective human.
Hailing from Washington Heights, NY, Geneses started dabbling in music in the fifth grade.
Me: When did you realize you wanted to be in music?
Gen: I’ve always been into Art…always loved singing, always loved dancing…I started singing in the fifth grade and I was into it…I just felt super in my element. I feel like it’s for me. I feel like this is my purpose.
She continued to talk about the inspiration that cultivated her sound…
“My favorite artist was Alicia Keys…I loved Alicia Keys, I was obsessed with her growing up. She’s just mad confident, just powerful, I just love women like that.”
In this, she found inspiration to do her own thing.
Thus laying a foundation for a transition from doing covers of songs on Youtube and acapella in College to writing her own songs after she finished school.
“I’m just really hard on myself, I’m a perfectionist. I wanna be great, you know? I was just going through shit and I just needed to start exploring writing. I needed to be my own artist,” She stated.
Me: What kind of stuff did you go through?
Gen: “I was more into theatre and I kept on with that all throughout high school, and then I went to college. And college, college was just a lot. It was just a big culture shock. I grew up in Harlem, and I’ve never been to a white space my whole life. It just hits different…everything was just…just different, you know? I went to college for my family. Most of the time I was there, I wanted to drop out. This wasn’t for me, but I did it for my Mom, my family.”
Through the struggle and strife of being a minority, in a predominantly white college, Geneses was able to channel her stress through the lyrics and melody of her music.
Me: Do you write all your own songs…Like all of them?
Gen: Yeah. I need something that represents me instead of singing other people’s shit.
And in 2018, she released her debut EP, Imprints, which houses her No. 1 track, “Sidelines.”
Me: Your two projects [when comparing her new single, desires, and her debut EP, Imprints] are so different, what changed?
Gen: “Well, my first project, that’s my baby…That’s like my first time really exploring writing and exploring my sound…Cause I feel like I spent a lot of time unsure of what I want to be? I don’t want to stick to a genre”
Wow. And stick to a genre, she did not. Her first project echoes of the lo-fi sounds that are so deeply embedded in modern R&B (some foundations of which were laid by Alicia Keys), which are physically manifested in the likes of Jhene Aiko and Kehlani. However, she switched it up to the upbeat sounds of 2010’s Pop, in her upcoming album: Era 2.
She carefully recollected when thinking about a critical difference between her two projects,
“I’m doing a lot better emotionally than I was. I think that contributes to my music being more fun. It’s a different vibe. I love music and I want to dabble in different things. I hate listening to an album and everything sounds the same. I’d rather do something where you’re going to have an experience. I just want it to be an experience for people.”
Before the craziness of the pandemic set in, I was able to make it to a show that she recently performed at. Located at DROM in the East Village, NYC, Geneses took the stage for a little over 20 minutes.
In this set, she absolutely KILLED IT. Sheesh! I arrived around 8:00 pm and she went on around 9:40 (The headline set of the night) and by the time she went on, the crowd just about tripled in size. “CAN I GET A YERRR?!?!,” she screamed. as the crowd chanted back “YERRR!!”
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People vibed with her from the jump. This aligns with how she views her purpose for her own music. The purpose for her craft. She imagined this, she wanted this.
“I want people to connect with my music. I want people to have experiences with my music.”
With an immediate stage presence, her voice seemed to get larger as the night went on. She performed a five-song set including “Sauce,” “All That Talk,” “Desire,” “Sidelines,” and “Lowkey.”
People were dancing and having a good time…YOU ALREADY KNOW THE VIBES!! As we venture further through 2020, there are so many unknown variables; however, one thing is clear, Gen… It’ll definitely be a new era.