Photo Credit: Jeremy Davis
Last summer while her peers were poolside, tackling their first jobs, or in dreaded summer school, Bella Rios was in New York City. Yes, many people head there to vacation during the warmer months but she wasn’t there for 100% pleasure. The teenage dynamo was there to work on her upcoming release, Origins. Out February 15, Origins features Bella’s impeccable skills and her lead single that’s impressive left and right; “Under The Waves.” We were lucky enough to catch up with her as she prepares for the release of her album, classes, and more.
Kendra: Pretty sure I had zero ideas where my life was heading when I was 15. How do you manage to keep your life, mind, and goals on track?
Bella Rios: Ultimately, I just hope to continue following my passion while staying grounded. If I do that and maintain all the other important aspects of my life, I think I’ll be completely happy. Like every other person my age, I go through ups and downs. Luckily, I have a great family and friends that help me stay grounded, pick me up when I’m down and redirect me when I start to lose focus.
Kendra: Not only a singer, but you’re also a multi-instrumentalist. Out of the handful you play, which one do you pick up when you’re content with life and which do you pick up when you need to release some frustrations.
Bella Rios: When I’m content, probably the guitar. I can be more carefree and just strum. When I’m frustrated, definitely the piano. It’s the one I’ve been playing the longest. It is also the one I use to express the majority of my strongest feelings whenever I’m going through something.
Kendra: Last summer you got to head to New York City to work on some music. How was that experience and what about that city motivated you to really give it everything you’ve got?
Bella Rios: It was incredible. I was exposed to so many new aspects of the industry and worked harder than I ever have on my music. It’s crazy to think that I even have the opportunity to really pursue music, let alone go to New York to record and perform. It made me realize that this was – and is – my chance to chase my dream. I knew that I had to give it all I could give. New York and the people I’ve worked with were incredible, creating and learning more about music from start to finish.
Kendra: While NYC is great, Chicago isn’t too shabby either when it comes to being known for music. What about Chicago would you say is better than NYC in that respect and what does NYC have that Chicago can learn from?
Bella Rios: I love them both. At this point though, I’ve only experienced such a small amount of what each has to offer. As of right now though, even at 15, I can say Chicago definitely tends to go to sleep a little earlier.
Kendra: One of the songs you worked on was “Under The Waves,” right? An absolute gem that’s both uplifting and entertaining. Who was on your mind when you worked on that because it seems to be about someone’s ride or die?
Bella Rios: “Under The Waves” is about my best friend who stuck with me through some tough periods of my life. It’s about the kind of person that – regardless of how long it’s been since you last saw each other – or whatever is going on in your life – is there for you completely and without question.
Kendra: On top of it all, you have going on is that you’re also still your average high school student. Your family is obviously in support of your music, but do they want you to head to college for a traditional run in a couple of years?
Bella Rios: At this point, I have every intention and desire to go to college. My parents and I will decide what’s the best decision for my continued education after looking at where my music has taken me up to that point. But for right now, I definitely plan on going to college.
Kendra: What can people hear next from you, and will they be seeing you live anytime soon?
Bella Rios: My debut EP, Origins, comes out on February 15th. I’m so excited for the music coming after that. The music that follows definitely has a lot more attitude. It’s the result of spending a lot of time trying to figure out my own sound. Not to mention the experiences along the way. This spring I’ll occasionally be playing in New York and maybe around Chicago. People can find details posted on my social media platforms.