Bel, you’re an artist performing as Eyes Of Bel. Please tell us your story, how did you get to where you are today?
In short, I’m a daughter of two medical specialists. I grew up in a highly academic household and music was not a part of my upbringing. I am the only creative in my immediate and extended family. Growing up whether it was music, singing, fashion, clothing design, sewing, drawing, writing, poetry – anything creative I was loving. However, I am a realist, and I pushed that side of me down for many years and decided to pursue medicine.
Late into my teens, I couldn’t go through with it and decided to commit to music with the same rigour, academia, and force that I was applying to my studies. I taught myself everything, made connections on my own, and here we are. It was extremely isolating growing up. Everyone thought and probably still thinks my parents were crazy for allowing me to do this, but they are my biggest champions, and I am very grateful for that.
Tell us about your role, what does your day-to-day entail?
I am an artist. For a long time, I was also the manager, label, publicist, digital marketer, creative director, and so forth. Now, I have a beautiful team around me that is expanding as we speak.
I pride myself on being able to “do it all” so day to day I am writing music, curating visuals, styling for my own work or other works, modelling and more. I also work part-time in the family medical business and have for many years, and I am not ashamed of that. At this early stage in my career, bills still must be paid.
Have you had to overcome any challenges or adversity in your career, and if so, how did you approach them?
As a queer daughter of Jewish refugees/immigrants, the challenges I have faced within and outside of my career have certainly been colourful to put it nicely. Some adversities, I dealt with very badly. I took things that were not my fault out on myself. I have been extorted, emotionally abused, manipulated, assaulted, gaslit and put down by men in this industry in all sectors. I come from a community where honesty, hard work, organisation, and loyalty are at the forefront of ethical work practice. I don’t think I was fully prepared at 20 years old when I entered the industry for what was to come.
Things are slowly changing, and I am stronger and more up front when it comes to my boundaries. I refuse to be treated the way I have been just because I’m a young female, fresh artist. Everyone deserves respect, irrespective of platform size. The growth I have experienced has been life-changing and now I access my support system when I’m struck with adversity as opposed to going inward and self-destructing.
If you could work alongside an Australian artist that you have yet to work with, which artist would that be and in what capacity?
I’ve always had a huge crush on Safia’s work. I’d love to write, produce, and release a song with them. Same goes with Genesis Owusu or The Avalanches.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned over the course of the pandemic?
Perspective. Weighing up what’s important in life. And it’s not streams, views, money, or accolades.
What is it about music that drives you?
The beauty. The compassion. The complexity. The process.
What professional achievement are you most proud of?
I struggle to feel proud of anything that I do, so this question is difficult to answer. Though in development, I have an extremely loyal and fierce fan base from around the globe. I feel most proud when I get messages from young creatives or queer folx in Poland, Italy, Brazil, Ukraine, etc. saying how my music and or visual works have moved them. Nothing beats that feeling. No matter how many awards or whatever I win in the future, I swear that helping someone else is the best achievement as corny as it sounds. I screenshot my favourite fan messages and read them when I need motivation or feel sad. I’m also proud of founding the ’Aus Women & GNC Folx In Music’ network with over 1.4k active members in the Australian music industry. I am the founder and sole admin of this space and it’s a privilege to moderate it and see females and LGBTQIA+ individuals connect, share, and collaborate.
What’s been the best lesson you’ve learnt?
To not post everything you feel on social media. Straight from the mouth of Billie Eilish. You want to connect with your following but also not go rogue. It’s a delicate balance and it’s crucial to nail.
What are you currently working on and what’s your songwriting process like?
As I’m writing this, I’m currently in Far North Queensland working on a heap of new songs that I am obsessed with. My songwriting process is very malleable. It can start with poetry, with a melody, with piano, with a beat, with a sample or sound effect and go from there. Sometimes I just write a capella. I am an entirely self-taught musician, vocalist, and artist so I taught myself ear training, music theory, production, songwriting conventions, piano, etc… Because of that hard work, I have the freedom to write in any way I want to.
Do you have any activities that you do for self-care that are non-negotiable?
Daily cuddles and back scratches with my partner. To be clear, I give the back scratches I don’t get them. Ha!
What is your big picture career goal?
For me, this is a very complex question with a very complex answer. My goals are multi-faceted and span across different artistic and philanthropic mediums. They’re specific but also broad. Maybe we can touch base in a few years and we can go through my list and see what has come true. For now, my list is private.
What is the best piece of life advice you’ve ever received?
Trust. Your. Gut.
How do you relax after a tough day?
Truth be told, I’m not fabulous when it comes to relaxing in general. I’ve got the self-care thing sort of down, but it hasn’t yet evolved into allowing myself to rest when I need to, pause when I need to, take a step back when I need to, and so forth. I like to push through, problem solve, keep grinding.
After a tough day, it would be very normal of me to work on something musical or academic, so I feel productive. I do not condone this type of discipline all the time. I do however condone some delicious Japanese Whiskey on the rocks after a tough day.
If you could time travel and see any artist from any time perform live, who would it be and why?
Freddie Mercury!! I think I would learn so much from him. Also, Edith Piaf, purely for my soul. I’d want to watch her in an old fashion bar in black & white and just melt into her performance. I speak French so I have the privilege of understanding the words as well as feeling the music.
What does 2022 hold for you? Anything exciting you can tell us about?
You’ll have to speak to the Eyes Of Bel HQ on this one. But all I’ll say is this, I’ve recently made what I believe is the best music I have EVER made. I couldn’t be prouder of the works. I’ve not heard music like this come out of Australia, which was not necessarily my goal, but I’m also not mad about it.
What is your go-to karaoke song?
I Have Nothing by Whitney Houston. Every damn time. Such a fun song to be super dramatic with. It’s always my ‘main character’ moment.