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About Bellefleur

Nashville, TN

Biology (from Greek βιολογος - βίος, bios, "life"; -λογος, -logos, "study of") is the science that studies living organisms. - from Wikipedia.

Belle is the French word for "beautiful." Fleur is French for "flower." Bellefleur is the very natural extension of a living, breathing, organism...a relationship - a collaboration between singer/songwriter Mel Bellefleur and composer Ian Belloso. They make art. In Mel's case, art of EVERY kind. She sings, she dances, she acts, she paints, she draws, and she writes. Also a model and a pro hair stylist/MUA, Mel is currently working on establishing her own clothing line. In a recent blog post, she describes just how deep art has a hold on her life...

"Art has always been a part of who I am. But it isn't just a part of who I am. It's a part of who everyone is....Lately everything my hand or brain or heart touches just drips with art. I can't let it escape me, without some trace of beauty or lure on it. I have to redeem it. Beautify it. Embellish it. I can't help but think that by doing this I am somehow redeeming my self in some small way. When I look at my physical self, I see what some may call beauty, but I know my human self to be dark and ugly, and it stares back at me from every shiny surface. So by turning every dark thing into beauty, I have little chances all day to redeem small corners of my world that would otherwise be darkened by my humanness."

This natural, organic call and response to beauty (or the lack thereof) would lead a outsider to assume that Mel's personality, art, and music would be a perfect fit for Nashville's brand of unassuming, homegrown music. Something not quite country, but maybe Americana? Southern Roots rock and roll? All assumptions would be wrong. And a correction only takes meeting Mel in person for 5 minutes. She is likely one of the edgiest people you will meet in Nashville. Her appearance is striking, and not just because of her natural beauty. On stage, and in person, Mel is a visual feast of tattoos, piercings, ever-changing hair color (usually styled in a way that only a professional hair stylist could accomplish), and clothes that she has very purposely hand-picked, maybe even made! She is never overdone, or overtly crude. But it is obvious that her art extends to even her own body...and that she is NOT from Nashville. Born and raised in Southern California, Mel moved to Nashville a few years ago seeking an alternative to the West Coast's higher cost of living, but she still desired to be near a thriving and diverse music scene. A friend who had lived here already for several years had to reassure her that country music was not all that Nashville had to offer.

So what kind of music does Bellefleur make? Well, this bio is not going to digress into some weird hypothetical scenario with 7 different artists you hopefully recognize and what their progeny would be like if they all had an orgy. Every artist has their influences though, and Mel's have been pretty broad. She inherited a love for classic rock icons like Tom Petty, AC/DC, Aerosmith, and even ZZ Top from her equally artistic dad. Then, her growing interest in the arts led her to both classical and broadway music as an outlet during her teens. Broadway definitely has given her a flair for the dramatic. When she really started to pursue music as an original artist, she latched on to other artists that expressed themselves through every channel available. Gwen Stefani, Pink, Pat Benatar, even Madonna were all pop artists that extended their talents beyond music and then channeled other arts back into their musical performances. Alanis Morissette has probably had the most profound impact on Mel's music, and it shows in the free-flowing, no-rules poetic organization of her lyrics. Suffice to say that Mel's lyrics have a very universal appeal. And yet, she channels that appeal through a much narrower conduit, stylistically: a unique hybrid of rock, pop, and electronica!

Biotechnology is technology based on biology. - from Wikipedia

As it turns out, Bellefleur's musical style has been shaped less by Mel's influences, than by her songwriting partner and band mate - producer/composer, Ian Belloso. This is because, as his title suggests, Ian is not just a keyboardist, synth player, and programmer - he is a composer. His approach to creating music is largely shaped by his own influences, which range from Beethoven, Brahms, and Debussy to the more current BT, Bjork, and Depeche Mode.

Ian started out as a classically trained pianist. He realized early on that his passion for performing was fueled by his hunger to learn more about actually making music. So he set out to learn from the masters. While on a full ride scholarship for piano performance at the University of Kansas, he double-majored in composition, and explored the rich music scene surrounding the university's campus. He quickly realized that his classical training had opened up whole new worlds of possibilities. Continuing to use the keyboard as his primary instrument, he explored every other style of music he could get his hands on. But he found himself most at home when the burgeoning dance and electronic music scene started to emerge in the late 1990s.

"I was late on the scene. I've never been to a real rave. And I've never taken E, or anything like that. But it was enough for me to have something exciting to listen to on the daily commute...trance, trip hop, jungle, dnb, all of it was so different from classical music, and yet there were similarities. The drum programming and sequencing required a talent for arranging with an almost mathematical precision, and it all could be done from a keyboard."

Although Ian is not the first to notice or defer to music's mathematical roots, detractors will often insist that music cannot be true unless it is felt from the heart. It's got to have "soul." Such a calculated approach places an artist in danger of being too cold, too analytical for their own good. Electronic music especially has developed somewhat of a reputation for being less "organic" than other styles, and even fake at times. Bellefleur, however, is not anywhere near being a robot and has somehow managed to successfully combine seemingly contradictory organic and synthetic elements together in a way that can only be described as...alive.

"Technology is a tool. It is great that we have technology in today's age, but that does not mean that everything we do must be dependent on it for value. The nail gun, for instance, is also a tool. They're great fun I'm sure, but the moment that it ceases to operate in the manner for which it was designed (shooting nails into whatever you point it at), I will toss it and go back to the hammer. Similarly, I love my synths and drum machines and computers. If I want an entire orchestra, it is wonderful to have that at my fingertips. But that doesn't mean that our music will suck if I'm forced to play the song on a crappy bar room piano."

The term synthesis (from the ancient Greek σύνθεσις σύν "with" and θέσις "placing") is used in many fields, usually to mean a process which combines together two or more pre-existing elements resulting in the formation of something new. - from Wikipedia

Probably the best testament to Bellefleur's keen ability to fuse the organic with the synthetic is the collaboration itself. Ian and Mel are two very different people with their own sets of strengths and weaknesses. And yet they have forged a relationship both on stage and off that exhibits all the very best traits of a single unified entity. Mel met Ian in California when a friend recommended him as a keyboardist for a different band she was putting together at the time. They got a long great just playing music together, but later on decided to not do music together at all because their approaches were just so different.

"It was just too difficult to actually make music together without fighting. And it gets to a point where you don't even want to do it for fear that you will wreck something in the relationship."

The facts remained evident however. Both were absolutely determined to make music. And the chemistry between them was undeniable. So they pushed through, and worked hard for a few years to hone their craft into a style that both of them could enjoy and sustain.

"We still fight quite a bit when we're writing now. But I think that we have learned how to use that to our advantage. Either we cool off and find the happy medium, or we use the tension to drive us both to a common solution we did not think of previously. In any case, we have found what works for us, and it quite often feels like magic after the fact."

So there you have it: Bellefleur is a magical harmony of paradoxes – flowers blooming from seeds of the past into synthetic dreams of the future. And despite a world of looming darkness, a bright, glowing future awaits.

More About The Artist

Portrait of Bellefleur