Some of the best independent musicians from around the world hit the red carpet on Sunday, April 28, for the 2019 Indie Music Channel Awards, including local singer Hailey Belle.
The ceremony, which was held at The Grammy Museum in Los Angeles, recognizes musicians of all genres of music, including rock, pop, country, classical, R&B and Christian contemporary.
Belle, 18, was nominated for various awards, and said she didn’t think she was going to win, but ended up being awarded the title of “Best Female Pop Artist of the Year,” as well as “Best Female Emerging Artist of the Year,” which is typically awarded to artists whose careers are on the rise.
“To be recognized in this way among such talented artists from around the world is awesome,” Belle said.
Although Belle was just recognized for her singing, she actually said she wants to transition more into songwriting.
“I’ve been singing my whole life,” Belle said. “It’s just something I’ve always done, but I didn’t actually start pursuing anything until I was 11.”
Belle began writing her own songs at age 11, when her singing teacher suggested it.
“It was never something I wanted to do,” she said. “I always thought I would just sing other people’s songs.”
It wasn’t until Belle wrote her first song, “China Doll,” which was released on her 12th birthday, that she decided she actually really liked writing.
“Now, I’m starting to be more practical about it,” Belle said. “I don’t necessarily need to be the artist, but being the songwriter and behind the scenes seems more practical for me as a person. I just had that immature mind that, ‘I’m just going to be a star’ when I was younger, but maybe that’s not really what I want.”
Belle’s mother, Nikki Miller, agreed, and said, “She’s never been the kid in the room that needed the attention.”
“I love singing, but I don’t love being in front of tons of people,” Belle said. “It’s not that I get nervous, I just don’t like it, I don’t like the attention.”
It was after others in the music industry encouraged Belle and told her that she should pursue it as a career that she made her decision.
“It’s easy for me to just write out my feelings, it’s almost therapeutic,” she said. “I love it.”
That being said, it took Belle a little bit to be OK with the fact that she was being nominated for such prestigious awards.
“I was always grateful for the opportunity, but I was like, ‘Oh shoot, now I have to talk in front of people,’” she said. “I kind of had the mindset that hopefully I don’t win … But it was still fun and I’m glad I did it.”
After struggling to juggle both singing and school through her sophomore year, Belle decided to enroll full time in the Hart@Home homeschooling program her junior year. This year, Belle attended West Ranch High School while still enrolled in Hart@Home and graduated last week.
This summer, Belle will be attending a five-week summer session at Berklee College of Music after winning first place in a competition for one of her songs.
Next, Belle is planning on working to get her career started.
“It’s just about co-writing and trying to get my name out there in the songwriting world,” she said. “It’s the first time I don’t have school … So I can just focus on what I love.”
Though Belle has hundreds of notes and parts of songs written, she said she’s only really completed about 20 songs.
“I’m super picky about my songs, and I don’t just write a song every day — it takes me a long time,” she said. “It takes a while for me to write one solid song. It’s a long time of writing, hating what I wrote a month after I recorded it.”
Now that Belle can focus entirely on her music, she hopes she can finish a few more songs and release her debut album this summer, which will be an accumulation of all of her favorite songs she has written over the years.
For more on Hailey Belle or to hear some of her music, visit HaileyBelleMusic.com.