Mariana Bell is the glorious vocalist behind Sander van Doorn, Dubvision & Mako’s “Into The Light”, out today (April 29) on Spinnin’ Records. For 15 years, Bell has fine-tuned her craft, playing guitar and performing all over the world. By no means does her longtime dedication to singing/songwriting “mean instant success in the EDM world,” Bell tells VIBE. “But it sure helps!”
Mariana Bell tells us how to get your voice heard in her manifesto, “So, You Wanna Be A Topline Singer?”
1. Sing in your own voice. A lot of singers think they need to change their style, intonation, phrasing, or tone just because the music is electronic, and they grew up singing gospel, folk, rock or something else. You are unique and that’s what people want from you, so sing in your voice (it’s what makes you unique) and be you.
2. Write from that same place. In my years of songwriting for many genres from country to dubstep, the same truths hold: be honest, be real. Give people the benefit of the doubt with lyrics that are interesting, but show restraint.
3. Keep it simple. EDM has to be catchy. Period. You want to think of someone singing along with you over and over, chanting and living, dancing and sweating right in the moment of the music.
4. Work. Obviously you have to work hard in every industry, but you should write something for every track people throw your way, and stay open-minded to keep expanding your sound. Nothing is off limits. Sometimes the tracks you don’t like will yield great ideas for another project.
5. Empower yourself. There is no money better spent than for a good lawyer. Skip the drinks trying to schmooze at the club (at least once or twice a week) and use that cash to get someone who will represent you correctly. It will be a battle every time to be sure you are credited for your work.
6. Listen. A lot of producers will give you references like, “Here’s a new track by so-&-so, and I want it to feel like blah blah blah,” which means part of your job is to interpret but not copy. Go hear what’s out there, stay current, and if you don’t know, just ask.
7. Don’t think you will get anywhere flirting. Let your work speak for itself, and don’t be that girl at a club chatting up the DJ. Writing and singing happens in a quiet room with lots of expensive gear and computers, not a loud boozy venue….but….
8. DO network smart. Make friends, ask people who they work with, talk and follow up with people you meet in a timely manner. Be memorable and nice to everyone, no matter who they are or appear to be. The scrawny, nerdy guy in the corner not talking to anyone? He could be the big famous producer behind a mask and a computer making thousands of people dance, or the DJ’s manager who is the only way you will ever talk to said famous DJ.
9. Persist and be proactive. Write your own stuff and send it to people, don’t wait for opportunities to come to you.
10. Have fun. If you don’t love what you do, then try something else. No one succeeds in dance music without passion. Fun is what it’s all about.