Bella Hunter, daughter to Dragon singer Marc Hunter and sister to Sydney DJ Jackson Hunter, is synonymous with the vocals from “Waves” by Erick Morillo and Kryder. Bella is back again with her amazing track “Deja Vu”, which has already reached over half a million YouTube views. Armada Music was so captivated by the track, they’ve signed her to their label, making her the first US-based female artist to be signed to Armada!
Bella took some time out during the Australian launch of Deja Vu to chat with OzClubbers.
Hi Bella, thanks for taking the time to chat.
Music runs in your family, with your late father Marc Hunter playing in Dragon and your brother also a Sydney based producer and DJ. What was it like growing up with a musical legend as a father?
It was amazing but also didn’t seem like anything out of the ordinary when I was little. I was constantly travelling and surrounded by the arts from day 1, so bouncing around with a Dad who was the lead singer of a band while he toured all over the world seemed normal. (I look back now and know that it was anything but!) My mom was an incredible fashion designer as well, so there was a very immersive creative energy surrounding my brother and I from day one. He is insanely talented, we recently started playing some live sets together which has been pretty magical. I grew up listening to so many diverse genres of music I guess it was kind of inevitable that music would dominate my life in one way or another.
You actually shot to fame after appearing on The X Factor in 2012. What was that experience like for you?
Hahaha! I definitely did not “shoot to fame”, but it was fun. The producers and directors handle such a major production with that show, they are seriously world-class. It’s so much bigger than what the public sees. The audition process goes for months and months before they narrow it down to the “TV auditions” that get aired. It’s always interesting to see the angle they choose to focus on with every contestant, which you have zero control over… And I really don’t have that type of “TV show voice”, every audience is always waiting for. As in the huge Beyonce power voice. I don’t belt out songs, I have a husky melodic vibe when I sing. But the whole thing overall was a brilliant experience, I had just come back from living in Miami for a few months filming another TV show and sort of did it for a laugh not expecting to be one of the top 5 girls. (I’m not naturally a competitive person so I think I sucked at the whole “competition” aspect, but most of those girls had never been overseas so sneaking them out of the hotel at night in New York to show them the town was seriously the best feeling ever.)
You dipped into a bit of R&B around 2014 appearing as the vocalist for Antonio “Sweater Beats” Cuna’s release. How did you find collaborating with Sweater Beats?
Amazing. I actually originally wrote the track “Where You Are” very quickly after hearing the outline of the instrumental with Vindata, who are an incredible duo based out of LA, then Sweater Beats came in and it turned into a brilliant collab… They are a seriously talented bunch. But it was very much a chilled downtempo electronic track when we recorded the demo, and it turned into more of an R&B/Trap vibe (which was huge in the states at that time) as the production got closer to release.
What was it like working with the legendary Erick Morillo and Kryder on the house music anthem “Waves”?
It was like lightning. Magic. We worked together so fast, I had met Erick socially but never had a conversation on a serious note, so we were professionally introduced through my brother in LA. We jumped into the studio the next day and Waves was written very quickly. Erick knows when and where to push me to get different creative vibes, he also knows when to just leave the studio and let me write alone. We actually weren’t sure what we would create -most times in the studio you never are- and we went through a few tracks before he played me the outline of the instrumental for ‘Waves’ that he had made with Kryder… It was a basic idea of the track but I immediately heard notes in my head and started writing to it. It did so well after we released it which was amazing and was heavily rotated on Sirius XM BPM in the USA which was insane. Definitely overwhelmed with gratitude at being able to work and perform live with those two legends.
You are the first US-based female to be signed to Armada. How did that come about?
Honestly through a balance of luck, timing, and persistence. Erick introduced me to the CEO of Armada Maykel Piron last year in Ibiza at the end of summer, who I immediately had great vibes with, and it was a steady process from there. Everyone was very excited about the idea that I was the first US-based female to sign. But really, no matter how great your team is, nothing takes the place of insane dedication.
Your productions have had you travelling around the world working with different artists in London, New York, Amsterdam, and LA. How do you find the travelling and hours?
I actually love it. But the jetlag is a nightmare if you don’t know how to handle it. I used to be a disaster but I sort of have a routine down where I write music on short flights and try to be productive, and then I exhaust myself the night before any long haul and make sure to immediately set my phone to local time at my destination. But I truly love exploring and learning through different cities and cultures.
Can you name a few of the artists you’ve been collaborating within these cities?
Arghhhhh. I wish I could but alas I have to wait, suffice to say the next collab I am EXTREMELY (times a million) excited about because I’ve been a fan of these artists for a long time. I’ll be able to talk about it in a few weeks closer to ADE…
Déjà vu is a very tasty house track with sultry piano riffs and your own amazing warm alluring vocals, we can see this being a massive summer hit as we move into the Aussie summer. What was the inspiration behind the track?
Firstly, THANK YOU! It means the world hearing that people actually resonate with the vibe of “Deja Vu”. Honestly, it’s pretty self-explanatory. The feeling of having “been there before”, repeatedly longing for someone over and over when you’re waiting around feeling like something is happening again and again, it’s also sort of playful about dealing with rejection too “sit by the phone, and maybe now I know that you’re living your life… Does she get you goin baby?!”. There’s a strong element of flirtation and happiness in there too, both strong parts of my personality!
And finally, we know you’ve got a few upcoming releases soon, can you tell us a bit more about what to expect from Bella Hunter over the next 12 months?
You can expect more solo releases -I can’t say how many just yet- and some insane collabs as I mentioned, heaps more studio sessions, and some major live performances at ADE in October which I’m crazy excited about.
Deja Vu is out now on Armada Music
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