Bella is on the ball to make it big
GOLDEN blonde hair, tall, friendly, chatty and a great voice are the words you could use to describe this 14-year-old country music singer from Mackay.
Bella Mackenzie is a young singer-songwriter with performance experience beyond her years; an experience that is predicted to grow as the young musician has just been selected to attend the prestigious On Song program as part of Queensland Music Festival.
Thrilled to have been offered such an exciting opportunity, Bella said she never expected she would win when she sent in her application.
After hearing about the program through a friend in the industry, she knew she had to take a risk and apply.
"A friend of ours, who is also into music, thought it would be a good opportunity to have a go at,” she said.
The singer faced off against hundreds of other Queenslanders as she submitted some original music, including the lyrics to be judged.
"We had to send in two of our original songs, and send in the recording and the lyrics,” she said.
It was an interesting experience for the singer-songwriter, who thought she had nothing to lose.
"It was a bit different, but it was pretty fun. I thought that we might as well give it a go,” she said.
For On Song, Bella will first have two long distance meetings with singer-songwriter Jack Carty, based on writing and performance, before she travels to Brisbane for a three-day workshop.
"The second week of the holidays we fly down to Brisbane and we have workshops for three days and on Wednesday we have a sort of one on one session with him. On Thursday and Friday, we just work on the material before we perform it on Friday afternoon,” she said.
"I had one Skype call with him, and he seems like a really easy person to work with that is really supportive,” she said.
This isn't Bella's first collaboration, and she plans to bring all her co-writing experience to the program.
"I did some co-writing at the Junior Academy of Country Music last year, and one of the people I met there was doing co-writing sessions on Skype so I did one of them, but other than that I write all by myself,” she said.
As part of the prize for being selected for On Song, Bella received a RØDE AI-1 Complete Studio Kit with Audio Interface to help support her professional development, and she said she loved the new tech.
"It's a recording mic and some other little things, and that will be good to work with, the brands are really good,” she said.
Mackay resident might be familiar with Bella's music, as she performs at venues around the area.
"I perform at different sort of restaurants, like Laffo's at Canelands, and the Seabreeze Hotel in Slade Point, and I have done some gigs up in Airlie Beach, and the Black Nugget in Moranbah,” she said.
One of her favourite aspects of gigging is the travelling she gets to do but said her interest in music started when she was a lot younger.
"About two or three years ago I got a bit serious about my music, I started with a ukulele and then I bought a guitar and just sort of working on songs and doing little country music festivals and started gigging from there,” she said.
Bella spent her early years surrounded by good music and good people, which she credits for her interest in becoming a musician.
"We used to own a hotel in Moranbah, and we grew up around music; watching all the musos play every weekend sort of inspired me to try it,” she said.
As a young musician, Bella graduated from the prestigious Australian Academy of Country Music which she said helped give her the confidence.
With that confidence she achieved things like becoming a finalist in the 2019 Tamworth Country Music Mt Franklin Talent Quest, Finalist in the Tamworth Country Music Festival Hogsbreath 'Hogstar' Talent Quest, 2018 Overall Junior Winner Pioneer Valley Country Music Festival and the 2019 Overall Junior Winner of the Charters Towers Country Music Festival.
As well as performing at festivals and around Mackay, Bella said she loved to support travelling Australian music artists as they came through Mackay and she was looking forward to her next support act with Jayne Denham and Troy Kemp.
It's already been a successful career for the youngster, with plans to open for acts such as Kasey Chambers, Daryl Braithwaite and Mental as Anything at the 2019 Mackay Festival of Arts.
She shows no signs of slowing down.