By Cayla Soriano
Assistant Copy Editor
Bold in style and sound, AnaBelle Elliott is full of musical harmony – and we’re ready to share it with you. Elliott’s love for old country music shapes and molds her music into what it has become today. Read on to get to know AnaBelle and her journey through life and music!
Cayla Soriano: Where did you grow up, and when did you realize your love for music?
AnaBelle Elliott: I was born in Weatherford, Texas, but I grew up in Spring which is around North Houston, and that is where I started learning about music and all of that as a little kid.
When I was about four years old, I wanted to start piano lessons, because my older brother was playing, and I wanted to play piano too. As I went through piano lessons, I asked my teacher to teach me how to play chords, because I wanted to make my own music. I gradually fell out of the structure of learning piano and gravitated toward creating my own songs.
Soriano: How did you get into making music?
Elliott: When I started writing music, it was at a very young age. I remember having a realization where I didn’t have to ask permission to write a song. I could write myself a song and sing it for my family and no one could really stop me, you know? That kind of carried on and collaborating with other musicians has been something that has been fairly new in the last couple of years. It was another realization of that agency and freedom that I have as a creator to write and produce songs.
Soriano: What are your preferred music genres?
Elliott: I am the pianist in the country band and country is what I’ve always grown up listening to. When I’m by myself and I want to listen to music, it is always old country music. With the country band, I am a vocalist, but I do have my own music that is a vintage pop feel, and I write and produce my own music and do those as solo projects. I have always loved country music, though.
Soriano: What is your creative process when writing songs?
Elliott: Ok, so I carry my poem notebook with me everywhere I go! I will be sitting at work, on the school shuttle, walking and I will have to stop and sit down. It will always start with the lyrics for me. What I do is I fill out the page with the idea for the song, and I’ll write out the notes to myself. Within that, I allow a lot of creative freedom for music and create a non-judgmental space. From there, I take it to the piano or even my mandolin sometimes and then I start to add music to it. My goal for my music is to evoke emotion from people that I felt as I was writing it, so it is kind of like this community type experience.
Soriano: Who are your musical influences?
Elliott: I love artists like Lionel Richie. I really love his style of music. Lyrics wise, I love John Denver. A lot of folk artists and the heart that is in their music, it all comes down to simple messages, and I’m inspired by that. Also, more modern-day music like the band HAIM. I’m really inspired by Prince and his process and the variety of his songs. Bruce Springsteen is a big one and just a lot of anthem style writers. I pull from different types of genres and try to make my own sound.
Soriano: When did you join your country band?
Elliott: Bobcat country is a country band out of Texas State, and it has a lot of different majors involved. There are music majors in it, but it is open to anyone. There is a professor named Jordan Stern, and he is the one who is in charge. We use a lot of his equipment, he helps us in practice, and books our gigs. When I joined, it was around last year during Christmas break. I contacted them and I joined and started on with playing piano. We play at different dance halls, and we will be playing on Sept. 15 at Zelicks. We really love when people get out there and two-step to our playing, it’s such a beautiful moment.
Soriano: What is your favorite thing about playing music live?
Elliott: The thing I like most about playing music live is looking out to the people listening and feeling that connection. There is this thing that happens at every gig I’ve ever played where I have certain lyrics in my head that really stick out to me where I mean them with my whole soul. As I sing them, when I look out into the audience, and I see someone that truly heard what I said and really connected to it, that is incredible. There is this powerful story that becomes separate from the music, and it becomes something we are all experiencing. That is my favorite part about playing music live.
Soriano: What is one word you would describe your music self?
Written by: Preethi Mangadu