Mariana Bell
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Mariana Bell

Charlottesville, VA | Established. Jan 01, 1996 | SELF

Charlottesville, VA | SELF
Established on Jan, 1996
Band Folk Adult Contemporary

Calendar

Aug
09
Mariana Bell @ The Southern Café and Music Hall

Charlottesville, Virginia, United States

Charlottesville, Virginia, United States

Jun
23
Mariana Bell @ Belcourt Taps

Nashville, Tennessee, United States

Nashville, Tennessee, United States

Jun
22
Mariana Bell @ Uncommon Ground

Chicago, Illinois, United States

Chicago, Illinois, United States

Jun
21
Mariana Bell @ House Concert

st Paul, Minnesota, United States

st Paul, Minnesota, United States

Apr
05
Mariana Bell @ The Hotel Cafe

Los Angeles, California, United States

Los Angeles, California, United States

Mar
22
Mariana Bell @ House Concert at Brown

Linden, Virginia, United States

Linden, Virginia, United States

Mar
08
Mariana Bell @ Pro Re Nata Farm Brewery

Crozet, Virginia, United States

Crozet, Virginia, United States

Mar
06
Mariana Bell @ Common House

Linden, Virginia, United States

Linden, Virginia, United States

Feb
23
Mariana Bell @ The Front Porch

Charlottesville, Virginia, United States

Charlottesville, Virginia, United States

Apr
25
Mariana Bell @ Sound of Music Recoring Studios

Richmond, Virginia, United States

Richmond, Virginia, United States

Apr
06
Mariana Bell @ The Front Porch

Charlottesville, Virginia, United States

Charlottesville, Virginia, United States

Mar
18
Mariana Bell @ The Southern Café and Music Hall

Charlottesville, Virginia, United States

Charlottesville, Virginia, United States

May
05
Mariana Bell @ The Hotel Cafe

LOS ANGELES, California, United States

LOS ANGELES, California, United States

Aug
19
Mariana Bell @ The Southern Café and Music Hall

Charlottesville, Virginia, United States

Charlottesville, Virginia, United States

Nov
10
Mariana Bell @ The Dresden

Los Angeles, California, United States

Los Angeles, California, United States

Jul
16
Mariana Bell @ ROOM 5 Lounge

Los Angeles, California, United States

Los Angeles, California, United States

Jun
21
Mariana Bell @ Free Times Cafe

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

May
25
Mariana Bell @ Kerrville Folk Festival

Kerrville, Texas, United States

Kerrville, Texas, United States

This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos

Music

Press


Mariana Bell is killing me. She puts out an album every couple of years, this time just a five-song EP, and impresses me with her progress each time and here she is going off and getting married and I'm not sure I'm okay with it. I await each release with an anxiety which probably should not be there, almost as if I really needed a fresh infusion of Bell-Pop (she is a bit more Pop than most I hear these days) and I think I'm a bit afraid that maybe her dynamics might be thrown off a bit. I'm sure I would be just as worried had she chosen to take a high pressure position with a Fortune 500 corporation or had she decided to have a baby (which I expect next, truth be told) because I am a self-admitted basket case when it comes to my music, which is any music so deeply ingrained in me that it has become part of my DNA. Book and Push are ingrained already. I am preparing a ceremony for the induction of The Caroline EP as I type.

Sometime over the past couple of years, Bell came up with this idea of writing music around the story of a woman named Caroline. She worked on it over a period of over a year, honing the songs until they held the feelings she wanted to convey--- the music pictures, if you will. I watched and listened and waited. The early videos of "Caroline" showed great promise though you could tell it was a work in progress. The videos were uploaded early 2012 and the versions were a bit more animated (faster) than they were to be on the studio version. There is even a video recorded June of last year of Bell and Ari Hest performing what would be the final arrangement of the song at Rockwood Music Hall in New York (Hest guests on the EP). There was something about the voices.....

There is still something about the voices. When I first heard the EP, they carried me away. In fact, I have yet to follow the storyline, the voices being my prime focus. Lyrics? Not necessary at this point. I will get there, I know, but each time I hear "Caroline" and "You Would That" (duet with Molly Rogers, a singer I need to do some research on) and the other songs, I float away. Especially "Caroline", though. I woke up this morning swearing I had heard the song before and double-checked Bell's earlier albums but could not find it. I wanted to. It was so familiar when I heard it last night and this morning that the feeling would not stop. Perhaps I watched the videos a few times when they were uploaded. Maybe Bell visited me in a dream or maybe we know one another from a previous life. All I really know is that I want to hear the song over and over, that "repeat" thing I always bust other peoples' chops about when they play a song ad infinitum and drive me crazy. I know now how they feel, an insatiable desire to listen until they feel at least a mite sated. But I'm not yet. Not sated. Not even close. It is a beautiful song and brings tears to my eyes--- and I'm not even sure it is a sad song at all. Maybe what I am feeling is not sadness. Perhaps I am just feeling reflective. Good songs do that to me sometimes.

You know, sometimes I feel a bit lonely, especially when it comes to music. I discovered Bell (well, found her, anyway) a number of years ago and I've tried to tell people, but I'm not sure they're listening. Not to me, anyway. Which is sad. There is so much outstanding music these days, "The Caroline EP" and Bell's other albums included, it just seems a waste to not search it out. You obviously have a computer or one of them phone thingies. You know how to do a search. The name is Mariana Bell. The album is "The Caroline EP". It isn't hard. Then, if we ever have a chance to meet, we will have something to talk about. It would be a door to an opportunity for us both. Music this good is meant to be shared. - http://www.nodepression.com/


Mariana Bell is killing me. She puts out an album every couple of years, this time just a five-song EP, and impresses me with her progress each time and here she is going off and getting married and I'm not sure I'm okay with it. I await each release with an anxiety which probably should not be there, almost as if I really needed a fresh infusion of Bell-Pop (she is a bit more Pop than most I hear these days) and I think I'm a bit afraid that maybe her dynamics might be thrown off a bit. I'm sure I would be just as worried had she chosen to take a high pressure position with a Fortune 500 corporation or had she decided to have a baby (which I expect next, truth be told) because I am a self-admitted basket case when it comes to my music, which is any music so deeply ingrained in me that it has become part of my DNA. Book and Push are ingrained already. I am preparing a ceremony for the induction of The Caroline EP as I type.

Sometime over the past couple of years, Bell came up with this idea of writing music around the story of a woman named Caroline. She worked on it over a period of over a year, honing the songs until they held the feelings she wanted to convey--- the music pictures, if you will. I watched and listened and waited. The early videos of "Caroline" showed great promise though you could tell it was a work in progress. The videos were uploaded early 2012 and the versions were a bit more animated (faster) than they were to be on the studio version. There is even a video recorded June of last year of Bell and Ari Hest performing what would be the final arrangement of the song at Rockwood Music Hall in New York (Hest guests on the EP). There was something about the voices.....

There is still something about the voices. When I first heard the EP, they carried me away. In fact, I have yet to follow the storyline, the voices being my prime focus. Lyrics? Not necessary at this point. I will get there, I know, but each time I hear "Caroline" and "You Would That" (duet with Molly Rogers, a singer I need to do some research on) and the other songs, I float away. Especially "Caroline", though. I woke up this morning swearing I had heard the song before and double-checked Bell's earlier albums but could not find it. I wanted to. It was so familiar when I heard it last night and this morning that the feeling would not stop. Perhaps I watched the videos a few times when they were uploaded. Maybe Bell visited me in a dream or maybe we know one another from a previous life. All I really know is that I want to hear the song over and over, that "repeat" thing I always bust other peoples' chops about when they play a song ad infinitum and drive me crazy. I know now how they feel, an insatiable desire to listen until they feel at least a mite sated. But I'm not yet. Not sated. Not even close. It is a beautiful song and brings tears to my eyes--- and I'm not even sure it is a sad song at all. Maybe what I am feeling is not sadness. Perhaps I am just feeling reflective. Good songs do that to me sometimes.

You know, sometimes I feel a bit lonely, especially when it comes to music. I discovered Bell (well, found her, anyway) a number of years ago and I've tried to tell people, but I'm not sure they're listening. Not to me, anyway. Which is sad. There is so much outstanding music these days, "The Caroline EP" and Bell's other albums included, it just seems a waste to not search it out. You obviously have a computer or one of them phone thingies. You know how to do a search. The name is Mariana Bell. The album is "The Caroline EP". It isn't hard. Then, if we ever have a chance to meet, we will have something to talk about. It would be a door to an opportunity for us both. Music this good is meant to be shared. - http://www.nodepression.com/



Mariana Bell's "Book” Named November “Best Song Of The Month”
By Dale Kawashima Share

Marians Bell

Mariana Bell, a talented, folk/rock/pop singer/songwriter based in Charlottesville, VA, has won the SongwriterUniverse “Best Song Of The Month” Contest for November, for her song “Book” (co-written by Paul Vassallo and Alex Wong). This song is the title cut of her debut 11-song CD Book, which she will release independently next month (Dec. 2008).

“Book” is a very melodic, commercial uptempo song which musically is in the vein of Paula Cole and Sara Bareilles. The song’s arrangement has a driving energy to it, which builds in emotion and dynamics. “Book” provides a solid showcase for Bell’s clear, expressive lead & harmony vocals. This recording was expertly produced by Alex Wong & Andrew Kapner at their Angelhouse Studio West in Los Angeles, and features music tracks played by Wong (drums), Vienna Teng (piano) and Jared Scharff (guitar).

Bell grew up in Charlottesville, where she was introduced to music at a young age by her father. She was inspired by listening to such artists as Ani DeFranco, Dave Matthews and Bruce Cockburn, and she started playing guitar and writing songs when she was 15. Notably, during high school Bell sang in the Virginia Consort Youth Chorale, which performed at the White House and the Washington D.C. National Cathedral. She also entered several talent shows and sang at open mikes.

For college, Bell impressively received a scholarship to attend New York University (NYU) in Manhattan, where she majored in theater and later graduated with a B.A. degree. It was during this period that she also developed her songwriting and performing skills – she played live at the Bottom Line, CBGB’s and several other venues. “I really enjoyed being part of the music community there – it’s a great place to perform live and to network with other musicians,” said Bell.

Mariana Bell performing live.

In October 2006, she decided to move back to Charlottesville, where she began writing and recording songs for her first, full-fledged album, Book. “I started recording my album in the summer of 2007, and most of the music was completed by the end of the year,” explained Bell. “There’s a lot of diverse styles on the album – some of the songs are rock, some acoustic. The songs range from straight-ahead, to more moody, quirky and goofy.”

With her album due out in December, Bell is looking forward to extensively promoting her album, and further building her artist career. She will be hosting an album release party in Manhattan, and she will be performing live with her band in Virginia, New York and other regions (including SXSW next year). Bell will also be seeking more radio airplay for her songs, particularly with stations which she has already established relationships with. “I would like to thank 106.1 FM The Corner (in Charlottesville) - they were the first station to play ‘Book’,” she added. - Songwriter Universe


Mariana Bell has been all around the world in her short time on earth. Born in Australia, she grew up in Charlottesville, Virginia before moving to New York City. Bell now resides in Los Angeles, California...which may be a more appropriate home for her considering the sort of music she makes. Mariana writes and records songs that tread on the fine line that separates commercial music from real music. Sure, her songs can be appreciated by millions and millions of listeners. But unlike the average commercial artist, Bell seems to make music that comes straight from her heart and soul instead of merely churning out catchy tunes to make a buck. She's made all kinds of heavyweight connections over the past few years. Our guess is that Push will be the album to quietly push her music into the mainstream (perhaps that explains the album title?). The songs are poignant and smart and feature super polished lush arrangements. Produced by Eddie Jackson, the album is chock full of cool vibes and appropriately restrained arrangements. But it's that voice--that sparkling pure voice--that will draw so many listeners to these tunes. Ten classic cuts here including "Push," "Balloon," "Love You More," and "Virginia Clay."

- Babysue.com


Mariana Bell writes and records songs that tread on the fine line that separates commercial music from real music. But unlike the average commercial artist, Bell seems to make music that comes straight from her heart and soul instead of merely churning out catchy tunes to make a buck. She’s made all kinds of heavyweight connections over the past few years. Our guess is that Push will be the album to quietly push her music into the mainstream (perhaps that explains the album title?). The songs are poignant and smart and feature super polished lush arrangements. Produced by Eddie Jackson, the album in chock full of cool vibes and appropriately restrained arrangements. But it’s that voice- that sparkling pure voice- that will draw so many listeners to these tunes. - Exystence.net


Mariana Bell writes and records songs that tread on the fine line that separates commercial music from real music. But unlike the average commercial artist, Bell seems to make music that comes straight from her heart and soul instead of merely churning out catchy tunes to make a buck. She’s made all kinds of heavyweight connections over the past few years. Our guess is that Push will be the album to quietly push her music into the mainstream (perhaps that explains the album title?). The songs are poignant and smart and feature super polished lush arrangements. Produced by Eddie Jackson, the album in chock full of cool vibes and appropriately restrained arrangements. But it’s that voice- that sparkling pure voice- that will draw so many listeners to these tunes. - Exystence.net


Formerly local songstress Mariana Bell now calls Los Angeles home, but this weekend she’s coming back to Charlottesville to unveil a new set of songs.

On Sunday night, Bell will perform material from her new album, “Push,” at the Southern Cafe and Music Hall. The new disc is her first since moving to the West Coast and the follow up to 2007’s critically hailed “Book.”

On her latest, Bell’s songwriting still carries intense, self-reflective themes, but the music surrounding the tunes has a lighter, sunnier aura.

“It’s been somewhat of a culture shock but great overall,” Bell says of now living in the big city. “You can tell I’m definitely enjoying the perfect weather.”

Where “Book” and her other previous work waved a rootsy Americana flag, “Push” has a pop sheen that should give Bell accessibility with a wider audience. Credit the tight production and touch of gloss to help from Eddie Jackson, who has worked with the likes of Guster, Ari Heist and James Taylor.

“He’s an easygoing guy, so the vibe in the studio was fun and light, yet we managed to get a lot of work done,” Bells says of working with Jackson. “That’s the best of both worlds.

“It has a more organic feeling and a live sound,” she adds about the new album. “I think we captured a stronger vocal. It’s a little lighter and not as studied of a record as the last one.”

While the package may be a little more polished, Bell still sings her personal songs with deep conviction, and she insists she’s not gunning for the mainstream.

“I just want to support my music and play shows for people that actually care,” she says. “If that means little shows with quiet happy listeners, I’m happy with that.”

At the Southern, Bell will play in a duo format with local guitar wiz Tucker Rogers. There also will be acoustic sets by Blake Hunter of Trees on Fire and Genna Matthew. Call it a perfect evening of mellow strings and songwriter musings for Mother’s Day.

“I’m literally hoping everyone and their mom shows up,” Bell says with a laugh.
- The Daily Progress


On Push, the once-local songwriter Mariana Bell gives vocal pop a shot of adrenaline, upping the ante on a radio-ready formula with refreshing formal complexity and intense execution. On the title track—perfect single fodder, by the way—drums that rush the song through its first chorus lurch to half-time on the second. The arrangement gives the impression that the song is almost stuck, fighting against its own momentum.

On the move: Mariana Bell returns to town to release a new full-length, Push, at the Southern Café and Music Hall on Sunday, May 8. Blake Hunter and Genna Matthew open the show.

But consider Bell herself, and that feeling—the music’s steady drive—starts to resemble a patient perfectionism. Stubbornness becomes Bell, who was born in Australia, where her father still lives, and raised in Charlottesville. After studying performance at NYU’s prestigious Tisch School of the Arts, she stuck around New York before moving back to Charlottesville in 2006. “I don’t think it’s a product of Charlottesville or Virginia itself, but it’s where I grew up. It was a little tough to come back,” she says. “In anyone’s hometown, you revert back to who you were when you left. That’s how people know you.

“All of those years of growing that one hopes to do, no one necessarily wants to see that. They want to have their old buddy back.” Her time in town, after spending half a decade away, inspired one of the darker cuts on Push, “Virginia Clay,” in which she sings, “You never fit me well enough / no matter how I changed / You never fit me well enough / so I’m going away.”

And so she did. She says that when she moved to Los Angeles, about a year ago, self-doubt evaporated in the dry heat. Los Angeles—a creative town as much as it is an industry one—inspired another of the best tracks on Push, an answer of sorts to “Virginia Clay,” called “California Clay.” This one’s more about sticking around: “It’s not that I can’t leave / I just don’t want to,” she sings.

After her move west, Bell got to work on writing a concept EP. She won’t reveal what the concept was (she “dare not share the concept lest I choose to make it in the future”). But the good weather, the company of creative and motivated people and an all-around positive studio experience brought her to scrap those sessions and rework the songs into a full-length record, which is Push.

Today, she lives in West Hollywood, in a little house with a little yard—plenty of room for her “gigantic dog” to run around—with an avocado tree in the backyard. “This is a cliché to talk about, but the bloody weather is unbeatable,” she says. “I’m one of those people who’s very much affected by how it is outside. There’s none of this moping around for three months because it’s so cold out.”

“For now, California’s certainly where it’s at,” she says. “In the end, I think I’ll probably come back [to Virginia]. You need to see things from a distance sometimes to see how they’ve affected you.”

But perhaps it doesn’t matter: As she sings on “California Clay,” “You will find me loyal to a fault / as I come and go.” - C-ville Weekly


On Push, the once-local songwriter Mariana Bell gives vocal pop a shot of adrenaline, upping the ante on a radio-ready formula with refreshing formal complexity and intense execution. On the title track—perfect single fodder, by the way—drums that rush the song through its first chorus lurch to half-time on the second. The arrangement gives the impression that the song is almost stuck, fighting against its own momentum.

On the move: Mariana Bell returns to town to release a new full-length, Push, at the Southern Café and Music Hall on Sunday, May 8. Blake Hunter and Genna Matthew open the show.

But consider Bell herself, and that feeling—the music’s steady drive—starts to resemble a patient perfectionism. Stubbornness becomes Bell, who was born in Australia, where her father still lives, and raised in Charlottesville. After studying performance at NYU’s prestigious Tisch School of the Arts, she stuck around New York before moving back to Charlottesville in 2006. “I don’t think it’s a product of Charlottesville or Virginia itself, but it’s where I grew up. It was a little tough to come back,” she says. “In anyone’s hometown, you revert back to who you were when you left. That’s how people know you.

“All of those years of growing that one hopes to do, no one necessarily wants to see that. They want to have their old buddy back.” Her time in town, after spending half a decade away, inspired one of the darker cuts on Push, “Virginia Clay,” in which she sings, “You never fit me well enough / no matter how I changed / You never fit me well enough / so I’m going away.”

And so she did. She says that when she moved to Los Angeles, about a year ago, self-doubt evaporated in the dry heat. Los Angeles—a creative town as much as it is an industry one—inspired another of the best tracks on Push, an answer of sorts to “Virginia Clay,” called “California Clay.” This one’s more about sticking around: “It’s not that I can’t leave / I just don’t want to,” she sings.

After her move west, Bell got to work on writing a concept EP. She won’t reveal what the concept was (she “dare not share the concept lest I choose to make it in the future”). But the good weather, the company of creative and motivated people and an all-around positive studio experience brought her to scrap those sessions and rework the songs into a full-length record, which is Push.

Today, she lives in West Hollywood, in a little house with a little yard—plenty of room for her “gigantic dog” to run around—with an avocado tree in the backyard. “This is a cliché to talk about, but the bloody weather is unbeatable,” she says. “I’m one of those people who’s very much affected by how it is outside. There’s none of this moping around for three months because it’s so cold out.”

“For now, California’s certainly where it’s at,” she says. “In the end, I think I’ll probably come back [to Virginia]. You need to see things from a distance sometimes to see how they’ve affected you.”

But perhaps it doesn’t matter: As she sings on “California Clay,” “You will find me loyal to a fault / as I come and go.” - C-ville Weekly


Singer/songwriter deftly walks the line between commercial adult pop and the more eclectic and personal indie tunecraft on her nicely balanced third album...born in Australia, raised in Virginia, hitting the usual pass-the-hat folk clubs in New York for a while, she now calls L.A. home // Release: Push (May 10) // Sounds like: Bell isn't shy about mixing up her folk/rock roots with a few well-chosen, rough-hewn guitar riffs on songs like the soaring title track and the blustery, uptempo country/rock anthem "Good Enough" // Quote: I've always felt that I'm a folk singer and that's my thing...but now it's more like the record has different distinct things-- one that's more folky and one that's more modern... So I'm just not afraid to put in all genres--- whatever comes to me, that's my genre." // What we like: not surprisingly (for us), the more intimate songs...happily swimming in the mainstream, Bell has the ability put a special spin on tracks like the gently chiming DC fave "Room With No Doors" and the sweetly turned out acoustic gem "On It"... - Direct Current Music


For me all art is, on some level, about introspection. Be it in a novel, film, or song, the artist is sharing a piece of themselves, whether it's their view of the world, how they deal with relationships, or how they explore their innermost dreams and desires. Sometimes the art of creation itself is simply a therapy to get it all out in the open. Through every piece, we as the audience gain a piece of the puzzle that makes that creator who they are.

With that in mind, Mariana Bell must have been going through some serious stuff while writing the songs on her latest album, Push. From the title song to the last track, you can tell some of that introspection was going on. As she says in "On It": "Thank you for making me see myself." Whether seeking some inner peace or in understanding relationships with those around her, she seems to be questing for answers everywhere.

But what I love about this album is that though it's airy in places, it's dark in others. Styles flow effortlessly from pop to folk to almost country, rock and blues, as instrumentals combine beautifully with her voice and backing tracks in rich, but not overly complex arrangements. The ten tracks on Push offer a lush landscape of unique sounds, styles, and words evoking emotions throughout. Bell reminds me quite a bit of Shawn Colvin, with a voice that lends itself well to this kind of cross-genre work.

My favorite song on the album is "Good Enough," which perfectly suits my relationship with my wife: "As long as you're good enough, and come back home to me / Then we can fall in love again. / I never asked you to be perfect, no... just be good enough." There's an honesty there that's impossible to ignore. Love crests and falls and compromises, but lasts through it all. With a solid drum beat and electric guitars, this song definitely reflects the contemporary country-rock vein of artists like Lady Antebellum. And though I'm not a huge country guy, the style in this case simply works. The same holds true for the rockin' "California Clay," which keeps that honesty flowing. Love sometimes drives you to do crazy things for people, so I can identify with these lyrics: "It's not that I can't leave I just don't want to... / Don't need a leash. I'll stay easily. I'm putty in your hand." And its last image, of attraction between lovers — "Metal sheets and a lead pillow so are we bed magnets." — is sexy and sultry all at the same time. The sound of this one is much harder, with a rock beat and underlying electric guitar that pulls it all along.

From its opening strings, "Titanic" made me think completely of the film. And through analogy, this song tells the story of a relationship gone wrong. Like the movie, you can see the iceberg in the distance yet somehow can't change course: "Of the greatest disaster, that would ever be the greatest disaster - you and me." Guitars, strings, and reverb help tell the story of the end.

Push may represent a single, continuous flow from the fleeting beginnings of love to the bitter end of a relationship, as it shares such a journey through song. I hope we hear much more from Mariana Bell and that she once again shares her loves and losses with us in the future.
- Blogcritics.org


For me all art is, on some level, about introspection. Be it in a novel, film, or song, the artist is sharing a piece of themselves, whether it's their view of the world, how they deal with relationships, or how they explore their innermost dreams and desires. Sometimes the art of creation itself is simply a therapy to get it all out in the open. Through every piece, we as the audience gain a piece of the puzzle that makes that creator who they are.

With that in mind, Mariana Bell must have been going through some serious stuff while writing the songs on her latest album, Push. From the title song to the last track, you can tell some of that introspection was going on. As she says in "On It": "Thank you for making me see myself." Whether seeking some inner peace or in understanding relationships with those around her, she seems to be questing for answers everywhere.

But what I love about this album is that though it's airy in places, it's dark in others. Styles flow effortlessly from pop to folk to almost country, rock and blues, as instrumentals combine beautifully with her voice and backing tracks in rich, but not overly complex arrangements. The ten tracks on Push offer a lush landscape of unique sounds, styles, and words evoking emotions throughout. Bell reminds me quite a bit of Shawn Colvin, with a voice that lends itself well to this kind of cross-genre work.

My favorite song on the album is "Good Enough," which perfectly suits my relationship with my wife: "As long as you're good enough, and come back home to me / Then we can fall in love again. / I never asked you to be perfect, no... just be good enough." There's an honesty there that's impossible to ignore. Love crests and falls and compromises, but lasts through it all. With a solid drum beat and electric guitars, this song definitely reflects the contemporary country-rock vein of artists like Lady Antebellum. And though I'm not a huge country guy, the style in this case simply works. The same holds true for the rockin' "California Clay," which keeps that honesty flowing. Love sometimes drives you to do crazy things for people, so I can identify with these lyrics: "It's not that I can't leave I just don't want to... / Don't need a leash. I'll stay easily. I'm putty in your hand." And its last image, of attraction between lovers — "Metal sheets and a lead pillow so are we bed magnets." — is sexy and sultry all at the same time. The sound of this one is much harder, with a rock beat and underlying electric guitar that pulls it all along.

From its opening strings, "Titanic" made me think completely of the film. And through analogy, this song tells the story of a relationship gone wrong. Like the movie, you can see the iceberg in the distance yet somehow can't change course: "Of the greatest disaster, that would ever be the greatest disaster - you and me." Guitars, strings, and reverb help tell the story of the end.

Push may represent a single, continuous flow from the fleeting beginnings of love to the bitter end of a relationship, as it shares such a journey through song. I hope we hear much more from Mariana Bell and that she once again shares her loves and losses with us in the future.
- Blogcritics.org


In the opening lines of the song “California Clay” on her new album Push, Mariana Bell sings the lines “I was born the year of the dog, that’s all you need to know / You will find me loyal to a fault as I come and go”. As overwrought as her lyrics can be, Bell’s darkly intriguing vocals conceal just enough to make the ride interesting, even when she’s singing “Don’t need a leash, I’ll stay easily”. At times on Push, Bell finds herself mired in her own too-peculiar songwriting style. It’s unfortunate, because her vocal abilities are comparable to those of someone like Fiona Apple.

The Los Angeles-based singer is billed as indie folk-pop, and while this tag largely encapsulates her sound, many songs on Push bleed into a more pop-country aesthetic. With help from co-writer Mike Meadows (Taylor Swift), Bell pulls off the latter style with ease on “Good Enough”, the catchiest track on the album. Bell also shines on the title track and album opener when she sings, “I know I say what I say to see if you will walk away”.

There’s no shortage of indie singer-songwriters in the world of music, which means that you need to pull off something rather spectacular for the audience at large to take notice. Bell isn’t quite there yet, as Push is definitely a mixed bag, featuring fantastic songs alongside easily forgettable ones. Fortunately, her talent shines through just enough when she’s at her best that it’s not hard to imagine a bright future on the horizon. - Pop Matters


The cover of Mariana Bell’s album is black and white, composed of sparse, wavy lines, with a facial rendition in the center. It is simple and easy. The disc it holds is the same. The title is Push, but every element composing it is more of a pull.

Bell takes the idea of a Sunday drive and translates it to music. It is brilliant and it is elementary: the bells and whistles that add flare to most songs are not to be found on this album. Push is an open wound that expresses the singer in every light she chooses to share. The talent is raw and the skills are true. The listener is given the gift of authentic music from an authentic artist.

She falls into the unique station of “storyteller” but without the story. Her method is more of a sharing nature, giving us her thoughts and musings without trying to create social change, insight a revolution or verbally emasculating the male population. What Bell shares is poetry: sometimes wistful, sometimes ironic, sometimes harshly realistic, but always grounded in her personal voice and experience. What she feels is what she says. She is a straight shooter with insight to share.

This album does not stretch and makes no attempt to sell itself as anything more than it is. This is a disc of natural talent with a natural sound. The style may seem static to some, but, to be anything else and throw too many curves along that sunny afternoon drive would ruin the trip altogether. Bell does not get bogged down with trying to be an artist or reaching out for success. Her music lets us in and holds our hand through the singer’s insightful mind and bare soul.

Push is filled with the respect for the craft and the soothing reactions and moods it can inspire. Bell uses her voice to invite us on her rise and open new avenues of thought for the listener. It is not overbearing or forces the eruptive emotions of the singer onto the listeners. The most appealing aspect of this CD is that it does not live up to its name. - Innocant Words


The cover of Mariana Bell’s album is black and white, composed of sparse, wavy lines, with a facial rendition in the center. It is simple and easy. The disc it holds is the same. The title is Push, but every element composing it is more of a pull.

Bell takes the idea of a Sunday drive and translates it to music. It is brilliant and it is elementary: the bells and whistles that add flare to most songs are not to be found on this album. Push is an open wound that expresses the singer in every light she chooses to share. The talent is raw and the skills are true. The listener is given the gift of authentic music from an authentic artist.

She falls into the unique station of “storyteller” but without the story. Her method is more of a sharing nature, giving us her thoughts and musings without trying to create social change, insight a revolution or verbally emasculating the male population. What Bell shares is poetry: sometimes wistful, sometimes ironic, sometimes harshly realistic, but always grounded in her personal voice and experience. What she feels is what she says. She is a straight shooter with insight to share.

This album does not stretch and makes no attempt to sell itself as anything more than it is. This is a disc of natural talent with a natural sound. The style may seem static to some, but, to be anything else and throw too many curves along that sunny afternoon drive would ruin the trip altogether. Bell does not get bogged down with trying to be an artist or reaching out for success. Her music lets us in and holds our hand through the singer’s insightful mind and bare soul.

Push is filled with the respect for the craft and the soothing reactions and moods it can inspire. Bell uses her voice to invite us on her rise and open new avenues of thought for the listener. It is not overbearing or forces the eruptive emotions of the singer onto the listeners. The most appealing aspect of this CD is that it does not live up to its name. - Innocant Words


Mariana Bell's new album, "Push," is earning rave reviews. Now comes the push to make the public aware of her beautifully crafted, indie folk-rock-pop tunes.

"We worked really hard on this album," the singer-songwriter-guitarist said. "You put your heart and soul into it. I'm glad it's out there and getting some radio play."

Bell, a native of Australia now based in Los Angeles, previously released two other albums and an EP. This time, she had much more of a hand in the production. "I was co-producer. I felt I had a better grasp on how I wanted it to come out. So, in that sense, it was much more me than anything I had done before.

"It was a matter of getting a somewhat live, organic feeling, to present something that then I could go perform live and not have to rely on bells and whistles and computers."

Instantly engaging songs include the title track, "Push," plus "Room With No Doors," "California Clay" and "Titanic." Of the last mentioned, a song about relationship disaster, Bell explained, "As the ship went down, the string quartet was playing the hymn 'Nearer My God To Thee.' That happened to be in the same key as the song I wrote. So our brilliant string arranger, Dave Madden, actually worked that hymn into the song. It's a cool thing that happened by accident. It makes the song all the more haunting and special."

Bell offers a variety of melodies and moods on the album. "As a pure artist, you want to always
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just do what comes out of you. You don't want to cater to people or sell out, whatever that means. At the same time, I try to think about the album as a whole, being something that people will like. And sometimes I'll think, 'I need something catchy, something fun. I'm tired of listening to myself whine for 10 songs in a row,'" she said, laughing.

"You want to have a little bit of levity, and I do have that side of me that's irreverent. That comes out in a few of the songs on most of my records, little jumpy, bumpy numbers. I don't overdo it. It's not going to be downright, straight-ahead pop music. But I do try to include some lighter tunes that might be a bit more radio friendly. You can't take yourself too seriously."

Both her singing and songwriting brim with genuine emotion. That translates well on stage. Currently on a solo tour, Bell plays Mountain View's Red Rock Coffee on Saturday. She'll perform at San Francisco's Brainwash Cafe on Sunday and at the Berkeley Space Lounge on Monday.

Bell's American mother went to Australia for a semester abroad and found love. The Bells eventually moved to the U.S. and Mariana grew up in Charlottesville, Va. Benefitting from a musical family, she sang from age 6. Her father played guitar. Her mother taught the kids piano and also played the harp.

Bell joined the Virginia Consort Youth Choir. That resulted in performances at the Clinton White House and at the National Cathedral, when she was 10 years old.

As a teen, Bell began writing songs to express herself. "When I was about 15, I had my first relationship, and when you're that age and your hormones are going crazy, that's what you're thinking about, so that's what I wrote about," Bell said, laughing.

"It was sweet. And sometimes I wrote about more political things. I'm pretty influenced by Ani DiFranco, on some level, though I'm not as political, nor as adept a writer. But I tried to incorporate how I felt about certain injustices or whatever was going on in the world."

Her influences also includedShawn Colvin, Bruce Cockburn and Dave Matthews. "Charlottesville is Dave Matthews' town. I remember going to his shows when I was in my early teens, when he was just getting started in Charlottesville. So some of the first songs I learned to play on the guitar were his."

In those years, Bell's focus was more on theater. "I was definitely a theater geek," she said, laughing.

Her interest was mainly in straight plays, not musicals. "I didn't have that ballsy vibrato and big stagey voice. I have kind of a folkier voice."

Earning a scholarship, Bell attended New York University's renowned Tisch School of the Arts. Theater training provided a strong foundation for her future music career. "Theater was about having a thought or a feeling and expressing it, conveying that to an audience. And all the lessons I learned in school were absolutely invaluable in terms of being comfortable, being more aware of how you're projecting yourself, how you're coming across.

"I think everyone should take a theater class and get some public speaking training, because it helps you communicate. It also helps you to really reach out to people, which a lot of less performance-inclined folks have less opportunity to do in their everyday life. It's a valuable skill."

While in New York, Bell became part of the music scene, singing harmony with various bands and performing with the Celtic band Doc and the Hods. She had an opportunity to play such legendary spots as CBGB's an - Mercury News


C-ville Weekly (Issue 20.42 October 14-20) this week and you'll find a very pleasant blurb on Mariana's new album, Book:

"...let's revel in the riches. Mariana Bell's latest album, Book...improves upon her previous lo-fi album with crystalline arrangements every bit as percussive as the young songwriter's guitar work. Listen to the minor key chantey 'Clumsy' and 'Bad Today,' which opens with a guitar riff that mirrors Radiohead's 'Jigsaw Falling into Place' and showcases Bell's skill at straining anxiety and tragedy into optimism and momentum."

- C-ville Weekly (Issue 20.42 October 14-20)


Mariana Bell: An eclectic repertoire of country-urban-folk numbers
that tastefully paint pictures of real memories and feelings such as
romance in a foreign country, depression, and the superficial
confinements of the show biz. A powerful yet sweet singer, Bell is a
passionate performer worthy of attention - www.jezebelmusic.com/events.html


"With accompaniment, the underlying texture of Mariana's soulful breed of song is supported and strengthened in all the right ways. Her penchent for an underlying groove is brought to attention by warm and sinewy basslines and a slender but nimble percussive flow. The mandolin and violin accompaniment bring welcomed accents of acoustic space and organic color while at the source is the accute pacing of Mariana's guitar and voice. "

- Gabriel Levitt


Mariana Bell: An eclectic repertoire of country-urban-folk numbers
that tastefully paint pictures of real memories and feelings such as
romance in a foreign country, depression, and the superficial
confinements of the show biz. A powerful yet sweet singer, Bell is a
passionate performer worthy of attention - www.jezebelmusic.com/events.html


I have known Mariana Bell's music for a few years now. She had been recommended by a few musicians around Charlottesville, Virginia as one to watch. Americana was breaking out all over then, though I could never quite put my finger on what exactly it was supposed to be, but the vast majority of musicians wanted to be it regardless of what I thought. So I made contact with Ms. Bell expecting some sort of Americana-ish diva, drowning in accordions, banjos or God knows what else.

To my surprise, she was not even close. She may have played an acoustic guitar and even written a few grass roots songs, but she was pure Pop. I was delighted! At that point in time, if you were Pop and had no backing, you were dead in the water. No label would look at you and every Pop diva who did make it had big money behind them. Without money, you could hardly get booked!

But there was something about her I found intriguing. She was bucking the odds, sticking with what her heart demanded and swimming against the current. So I sat back and listened and rooted for her. Each release gave me new hope and whereas she wasn't completely swept under the bus, she didn't do as well as I'd hoped. I personally think it had to do with lack of promotion as much as anything. Yet she never gave up. Music is in her blood, I guess.

So along comes this new five-song EP, Uncanny Valley, and I thought of writing her story in music, from first release, Dream of Italy (2003) through The Mariana Bell EP (2006) and Book (2008) and Push (2010) and The Caroline EP (2013), all the way to the new album, Uncanny Valley. It took me five minutes to come to my senses. I had already written reviews for three of the earlier albums and they were good reviews... well enough written, anyway. But no, this will be about the new album. I will post the other reviews separately.

Bell makes me want to, though. If I have learned anything on this journey through life it is that there is always a story, especially for artists. For a number of years I cyber-stalked her, not in a creepy way but in an I-need-to-make-sure-I-didn't-miss-something way. If I didn't hear anything for awhile, I messaged, just out of curiosity. If I did hear something, I wrote about it. Some musicians warrant the attention. Mariana Bell is one.

I have never been disappointed, either. Album or EP, I reveled in the music. In the process. In the progress. Each release stands on its own. It's not like Bell was striving for endgame. She put nothing but her best on tape each time and it showed. But with each album, I noticed a change, in maybe the process? Her commitment to melody, always constant, gives way to her commitment to making music from the heart and soul.

At this point, I look upon Uncanny Valley as a triumph. I have been a true fan of Mainstream Pop since the advent of Michelle Branch and her ilk and that is Bell's forte. Melody, harmony, vocal and musical arrangement. She has been honing it for years and has done it far better than most from the beginning. She has developed into a real pro when it comes maximizing the whole package, beginning to end.

It may be only five songs but I guarantee you that these five are among the best pop songs you will have heard this year. “Avalanche” certainly is, a floating intro leading into a chorus worthy of any of the Pop divas of the last ten or twenty years. And hear me when I say that the followup, “Dying Sutra”, is a bookend to what The Jill Stevenson Band laid down on their self-titled EP. (I wish I knew where Jill is these days... her songs are among my favorites). “Gypsy Caravan” is classic Bell, her voice controlling and at moments downright gripping. “Big City Love” is as country as I've heard her, but it is more the shuffling beat than the music. Like I said. She's pure Pop. And “Wild”? Slinky but not, you know?
The songs? I have them all. That's why I believe in her. Hasn't let me down yet. - Frank Gutch Jr. Journal of Roots Music


Discography

Dream of Italy, LP, 2002
Mariana Bell EP, 2005
Book, LP, 2008
Push, LP, 2011
The Caroline EP, 2014
Uncanny Valley, EP, 2017

Photos

Bio

Singer songwriter Mariana Bell delivers her soulful brand of indie folk pop across clubs in the city, region and beyond, weaving elements of rock, jazz and country together with her trademark hook-filled melodies and evocative, passionate vocals. Songwriting Finalist in the Kerrville New-Folk Competition, LEAF NewSong Competition, and NSAI Honorable mention for her songs, she puts on an unforgettable live show. As she has grown as a songwriter, other genres have picked up on her unique voice; she has broken onto the Electronic Dance Music scene with a force, her first single "Into the Light" with Sander van Doorn, Dubvision and Mako topping the charts in its first weeks.

The Australian-born, Charlottesville-raised Mariana Bell began singing at age 6. As an alto in the Virginia Consort Youth Choir, she continued to hone her talent for melody and harmony, performing at the National Cathedral and the White House. Soon after moving to New York, she became a fixture at such venerable downtown locales as Rockwood Music Hall, CBGB's and The Living Room to name a few. In addition to singing backup vocals for various bands in need of some sweet harmony, she regularly performed with Irish band Doc and the Hods at the now-defunct but famed Bottom Line and innumerable Irish bars about town.

A graduate from Tisch School of the Arts at NYU, Mariana has also had a long relationship with the stage. She composed music and performed in many productions there. A high point was playing to an audience of over 500 with some of Broadway's biggest stars, as well as Neil Diamond, at the NYU October Festival, where NYU gave away $1 million in tickets to help Broadway recover from the devastating blow of 9.11 the previous month.

Mariana Bell has performed, toured, written and recorded with an eclectic set of renowned musicians such as folk legend Ellis Paul, guitarist Mike Meadows (Taylor Swift), pianists Vienna Teng and Josh Dodes (Toby Lightman), Rosi Golan, cellist Paul Brantley (Bela Fleck), guitarists Rusty Speidel (Mary Chapin Carpenter's debut album) and Justin Derrico (Pink), bassist Gary Granger, Jean Scofield (Daughter to Jazz Legend John), Andy Waldeck (Scott Stapp, Daughtry), Amber Rubarth, & Jared Scharff (SNL). Recent forays into the DJ world have her writing toplines for Sander Van Doorn, Dubvision, Le Castle Vania, East and Young, Starz-Angels, Mako, Shakers Barcelona, among others.

Mariana has received numerous accolades:

2014 Kerrville Folk Fest NewFolk Finalist, 2014 NewSong LEAF Finalist, 2011 Mountain Stage NewSong Regional Finalist, 2016 ISC Finalist "Avalanche" Adult Contemporary, Finalist 2017 John Lennon Songwriting Contest for "Avalanche," Winner 2018 Best Folk or Country at RIFF

While critics have likened her music to that of a young Joni Mitchell, Mariana counts among her own influences Shawn Colvin, Bruce Cockburn, Dave Matthews, and Ani DiFranco. She has been a special guest on WNRN, WCNR the Corner, and the Eclectic Women's show on WTJU 91.1 FM Charlottesville, VA, as well as appearing on PlumTV in Nantucket, MA. Over the past several years, the singer has been touring across the country from Nashville to Los Angeles, and London to Australia winning audiences over with her unique and soulful live performances. 

Band Members