bellah mae

Bellah Mae

Photography
Jack Alexander
Styling
Anastasia Busch
Fashion Assistants
Sim Wouhra, Spencer Zhao
Hair
Sandra Hahnel using ColorWow and Mermade Hair
Makeup
Buster Knight for The Only Agency using 111 Skin and Dior Beauty

Storytelling is at the heart of everything Bellah Mae does. 

Capturing the attention of listeners in late 2022 with her TikTok hit “Boyfriend of the Year,” Bellah has grown leaps and bounds in such a short space of time. She’s headlined two nationwide UK tours, racked up more than 40 million streams, performed at many iconic British festivals from Reading and Leeds to Mighty Hoopla, and built a loyal following who are proud members of her fan club, dubbed The Hot Ex-Girlfriends Club.

Nearly a year on from her tongue-in-cheek debut EP, With All Due Respect, the Birmingham-born singer-songwriter arrives with her most vulnerable and emotional project to date, Never Waste A Heartbreak. Taking listeners on a real journey, Bellah crafted the stories in the middle of embarking on her first tour last year and found herself on a creative high while in her “sad girl era.”

Ahead of its release, Bellah sat down with EUPHORIA. to discuss the EP, touring life, and where she’s taking her career next. 

bellah mae
Jacket & Jeans: Agro Studio | Boots: INGILIZ | Rings: Giovanni Raspini & Maudella Jewelry

Last weekend, you made your Mighty Hoopla debut. How was it?

It was so much fun. However, I felt like I didn’t get to enjoy it at its full capacity because I had to get to another show. I left pretty much immediately, which was so sad because I really just wanted to go out and experience it. I didn’t have any time to do that, so I’m gonna run back next year. Everyone who knows that I’ve played the festival has been like, “Everyone just loves that place so much.” It’s got the most amazing energy about it. It’s crazy. 

You’re releasing your second EP, Never Waste A Heartbreak, which is much more emotional than the first. How else would you say it differs from the debut?

There were some emotions on the first one, but I’ve really gone to town on them on this one. This one was really in the thick of a personal situation. The songs are a real collective of that time of my life, which I think is really special because my first one was definitely written over a longer period of time, and I was figuring out myself as a songwriter a bit more, whereas I feel like I really have that down now. I feel like you constantly push those boundaries, but I definitely had much more of a clear vision with it. I was going through such a personal situation that it just felt very coherent. It is sad. I mean, there’s not that many other words to describe it as good as that one.

Do you find it easier writing sad songs as opposed to the more tongue-in-cheek ones?

Yeah. Also, I think sad songs rule the world. I really do. Sad songs are just so great. I don’t know what it is. I think unless you’re listening to the really fun, upbeat ones where you don’t care about what the lyrics are, a lot of the time people want sad songs. I love writing a sad song. That’s definitely my favorite.

bellah mae

The ballad “Compatible” was self-written on the piano and has been described as your most personal song to date. Did the song write itself or did it go through many revisions?

No. It was the quickest ride, actually, and it wasn’t supposed to happen. “2053” was supposed to be the first single, and we didn’t have “Compatible” written. I just write at home most days and it was only a verse and a chorus. It was a concept that came to me that morning. It was very diary entry-style songwriting. Like, you can tell in the lyrics that all the verses are exactly how I’ve been feeling. I haven’t really tried to make them seem like lyrics all that much, it’s just as if I’m having a conversation. I put it online and it did well. Later on that day, I finished writing it and recorded it the next day. Us artists lie all the time about the trajectory of how a song has come to life, but I promise you that one’s real. That was literally like a two-day turnaround.

The songs stay true to your pop sound but have a country influence. You’re known for your storytelling, which country music is known for. Is the pop with a hint of country influence something you’re trying to make your staple?

I’ve always been a storyteller pop writer, which obviously I learned all from country music because that was the kind of world in which I was brought up in. In terms of making it my staple, I think my thing is my lyrics. You can tell it’s my music by the lyrics, and I think there are always gonna be nods to pop and country. I’m really not too worried or hell-bent about fitting into either box. I would love to be somewhere beautifully in the middle where it’s not overly defined. As long as there’s a story within it, then I’m happy. I just don’t relate to songs unless I’ve told a story throughout, so that’s my priority as opposed to the genre.

You recently performed the material on your second UK headline tour. How did the fans react to the new material?

Actually, really great. I always say I find it difficult performing songs that are unreleased and that people don’t know because it’s special. It’s also so much more pressure because my favorite part of performing is hearing fans sing the lyrics back to me. That’s the best part. Also, if I mess up, no one’s there to cover the silence. If I mess up any of my other songs, they’re all singing it. It just feels like we’re all there together. Whereas, singing quite a lot of unreleased songs on tour was tricky and it was also a lot of pressure because it was the first time they were ever experiencing those songs, and it was in a live format.

bellah mae
Jacket & Shorts: Mithridate | Corset: Statnaia | Boots: Topshop | Earrings: Under Her Eyes

Which song were the audience most receptive to?

A song called “Stay Friends.” It’s probably my favorite on the EP. It really warrants that connection between the audience and artists. It’s very stripped back. It’s almost “Purpose” 2.0, I think.

A little before, you supported your label mate Caity Baser. Both of your music is different from one another but it seems your audiences slightly crossover. How was it performing to her fans?

The best. They were so welcoming. It was unbelievable and so incredible. That was my first-ever support, so we didn’t know how it gonna go down but I definitely realized that we probably do have a lot of crossover fans because there were so many people who knew so many of the words. It wasn’t like, “Hi, I’m Bellah, you don’t know who I am!” It was an amazing experience to do right before my tour because it felt like a great warm-up.

Now that you’re releasing your second EP, does that mean you have been saving special songs for an album?

Everything’s to play for in terms of the writing. I really think that as much as I have songs I’ve always loved, you tend to come and go with yourself as an individual as well. If you were to look at your own diary entries, if you’re someone who journals or whatever and you look at that every 6 months, you’ll realize that you change quite a lot emotionally in the way in which you view things. I think that’s definitely something that happens with my songs and the way that I express things. I’m so excited to see what the next stage will be and what I will write about. I don’t think there’s anything I’m holding back. There are definitely a couple of things that the fans have heard at live shows that I haven’t yet released that I think are fan favorites, which also I think is quite cool that we could at some point put out. I know that I would be absolutely raging if Taylor [Swift], Sabrina Carpenter, or Tate McRae teased a bit of a song live and then never released it.

bellah mae
Dress: DAWEI | Boots: Dr. Marten’s | Rings: Giovanni Raspini, Maudella Jewelry, Lucy Quartermaine

Do you have a rough idea of when you want to release your debut album?

I know that there is something special about releasing my debut album, and you only get to do it once. As a songwriter, I would put one out next week because I’m so obsessed with releasing music that I’ve written. But as the artist, I really wanna want to be able to wait until it’s the right time. It’s definitely not gonna be soon, I don’t think.

The last time we spoke last year, you said one of your goals for 2024 was to perform some shows internationally. Have you been able to do that yet?

We haven’t done it yet. I know that we are going back out to the States next month, and I’m definitely gonna do some pop-up things for sure. Then we’re looking at the final quarter of the year hopefully for some other things there. So let’s see.

How about collaborating? Is there anyone you would like to team up with that you think would work well with your sound?

I love the up-and-coming country artists at the moment. There’s a guy called Matt Schuster. I’m so obsessed with every single song that he writes. I think a male-country collaboration could be really cool.

bellah mae
Top: Rhodaine | Jacket & Pants: Albarella | Boots: Munthe | Rings: Maudella Jewelry and Lucy Quartermaine | Bracelet: Giovanni Raspini

What else do you have in store for 2024?

I think that my priority for this year is the EP and then going straight into writing again. Obviously, this EP was very much documenting a time in my life, and now I’m not in that time. I’m like, “Okay. Where am I gonna go personally, and how can I document that?” I would love to not wait very long before putting out music again. I just don’t know in which in what form. I think it will consist of more songs. I would be surprised if we didn’t.

What do you want listeners to take away from the EP once they’ve heard it?

The top comment I’m getting at the moment on socials and in my DMs is, “Did we date the same guy?” “Did we date the same person?” 

It’d be funny if you did!

Well, probably. I mean, knowing the guy that I dated, we maybe did.

I think it would be really cool if the music was to mean something to people who are experiencing the same emotion or have gone through a similar thing. As you go through the EP, hopefully, they feel it’s well-rounded. It goes from being very sad with “Compatible” detailing before the breakup happens. It’s like, “Oh my god. I don’t think that that we are in love!” and then you go through, “What if I never get over you?” with songs like “Hell & Never Back,” “Stay Friends,” and “Love Of My Life.” And then by the time I get to “4 Better 4 Worse,” you get to one of my favorite lyrics from the whole EP, which is, “It’ll only hit you like a ton of red bricks when I’m off on a yacht drinking Aperol Spritz.” The EP gets sassier as we go on. I think that’s track 6. I hope it takes them an emotional rollercoaster of “it’s gonna be okay in some way.” And if not, just drink Aperol Spritz on your yacht.

bellah mae
Dress: Mithridate | Boots: Dr. Marten’s | Rings: Maudella Jewelry and Lucy Quartermaine