MY LOOK Talk­ing mu­sic + style with Bella Cat

Ottawa Magazine - - Contents - By Anas­ta­sia Philopou­los

You’ve been de­vel­op­ing a unique sound up in the Gatineau Hills, where you’re from. How did you start singing? When I was 12, my mom picked me up from school and said, “I’ve put you in singing lessons.” I wasn’t that happy. Af­ter that, I just kept singing, and now I’m very grate­ful. My mom said I sang ev­ery day, so she thought, I’m just go­ing to put her into singing lessons. It’s been the last two to three years I’ve been try­ing to do this pro­fes­sion­ally. In the last year and a half, it’s re­ally taken off. This will be your sec­ond sum­mer per­form­ing at Blues­fest. How would you de­scribe your sound? It starts off bluesy. The base of our style is blues, but I think it’s more of a fu­ture soul. That’s what we like to call it. I un­der­stand Bella Cat is not your real name. How did you dream up your stage name? I have a very close cousin who calls me Bella be­cause of my beau­ti­ful spirit, but ev­ery­one else calls me Cat. So I like to think of it like “the beau­ti­ful cat,” as I am one with the uni­verse and na­ture (although I’m al­ler­gic to cats). What’s your per­sonal style like? It’s very nat­u­ral and hip­pie, kind of a rus­tic look. I re­ally like to wear rings, jew­ellery, and feather ear­rings. There’s this woman, Natalie Lip­son, whose ear­rings I love to wear. The com­pany is called Pluma — very cool stuff. I also do a lot of vintage shop­ping and love In­dian cloth­ing, like pais­leys, scarves, and long shirts. I love wear­ing pat­terns, and I like them all to­gether — polka dots with a striped shirt is great. Nor­mally, I’m a bare­foot kind of girl un­less I’ve got some com­fort­able heels. But I’m not a big heels per­son un­less it’s like a big plat­form, like a Spice Girls plat­form — I’ll wear that. Where do you like to shop? I gen­er­ally get my cloth­ing abroad so that it’s a unique piece and no­body can get it. The dress I’m wear­ing is from Paris, from the Hippy Mar­ket. We went there to see Jim Mor­ri­son’s grave. Tem­ple in Wake­field is a great place too. I love them there. When I went to Nashville, I got a lot of those vintage Nashville cow­girl dresses. Europe was great, and New York City is where I got my Bella Cat jacket. It’s leop­ard print with red trim­ming, and peo­ple love it. I wear it to my gigs. Any­thing you like to wear specif­i­cally when per­form­ing? I think it was Sharon Jones who told me “the best out­fits on stage come with se­quins and sparkles.” And I agree 100 per­cent. I also wear earth-tone col­ors, like sky blues, grass greens, pinks, and pur­ples on a reg­u­lar day, and then when I’m on stage, it’s more spicy and edgy. You have a unique sound in mu­sic. Do you find that’s re­flected in the way you dress? Yeah, I’d say so. I like to present my­self as an easy­go­ing, worry-free, love-all-around per­son. So when I wear my clothes, it’s ei­ther very flat­ter­ing and pretty or just loosey-goosey and re­laxed.

Bella Cat is dressed in a vintage dress from a mar­ket in Paris, a Cheshire Cat ring, and a Bhudda ring. She’s hold­ing an Astatic D104 mike that dates back to the 1930s and is still used by au­dio en­thu­si­asts

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