With a unique sound that blends 60s nostalgia with modern femme persuasion, BELLSAINT is a bold, unapologetic force of nature.
BELLSAINT, whose writer name is Caroline Brooks, has written, produced, and mixed her newest single WFNEO with her husband, Kyle Moore, during an extreme wave of heat and fires in Los Angeles. After having a COVID scare in her family and struggling with depression during the pandemic, she channeled her reflections and feelings into this song. The cover artwork features the mixed-media piece “Love and Terror”, painted by her sister Kathryn Gohmert.
About her newest single WFNEO (which stands for “We Fucking Need Each Other”), she states, “To everyone experiencing trauma, depression, suicidal thoughts, experiencing loss of loved ones, loss of jobs, and homes due to this pandemic, you are not alone. We desperately need leaders who don’t demonize/demean people who disagree with them. We can’t give in to hopelessness and let our hearts harden. We need change, and we really need each other.”
Fiery, fierce and fearless are just three words you could use to describe the set of songs on BELLSAINT’s 2019 Independent Music Award-winning EP, Technicolor Dream. At first listen, the songs will have you feeling as if you’ve just been transported back in time to the 60s period of pop where creativity, art, music, fashion and feminism were colliding and flourishing. And seeing BELLSAINT live, you’ll feel the same, as if you’re witnessing a new era of Nancy Sinatra. But a deeper listen will prove that what BELLSAINT has created on this new EP is timeless, timely and truly unique. This Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter, is proving she’s her own woman and there’s nothing that can stop her, as evidenced on one of the stand-out tracks on the EP, “Can’t Stop A Woman.”
Female empowerment is a recurring theme on Technicolor Dream, as BELLSAINT recruited an all-female cast to write on the album with her. She worked with Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter and producer Garrison Starr and songwriter/producer/composer Adrianne Gonzalez on the songs “Like Gold To Me” and “Much Like My Father.” The latter is arguably one of BELLSAINT’s most personal songs on the EP, and the most vulnerable track the singer has ever released. In fact, BELLSAINT notes she wasn’t comfortable releasing the piano-driven ballad at first.
“I wasn’t ready to let strangers in on such a raw part of my personal life,” she says. “I started playing it live at shows and was blown away by the response. I started getting messages from fans on social media who related to the song on a deeply personal level. It’s such a big part of my story so I decided to release it.”
Throughout her career, she consistently returns to a lot of her earlier influences, like Johnny Cash, Stevie Nicks, Nancy Sinatra, The Who, and Bruce Springsteen, and newer favorites, including The Flaming Lips, Arcade Fire, Bon Iver, Tame Impala, and the Black Keys. The 60s—a time when women were fighting to have a voice in the world—largely impacted BELLSAINT’s tone.
“The 60s were such a special time for music,” she says. “Especially counterculture waves like the Yé-yé movement [in Southern Europe], which mainly featured angsty, playful female singers. It really reflected the resistance to authority and status quo at the time. I think a lot of musical elements from the 60s are coming back because of what’s going on in our culture and political environment right now.”
BELLSAINT also refuses to be neutral, instead opting to make bold, largely personal statements through all aspects of her art – from her name to her songs.
“I came up with the name BELLSAINT because I wanted to make up a name nobody else had,” she says. “’Bell’ felt vulnerable and feminine, while ‘saint’ felt strong and empowering. My artistry has both sides—light and shade.”
BELLSAINT was born in Tyler, Texas, and started getting solos in kindergarten school productions when she was 5. She started playing piano when she was 7 and began taking voice lessons at age 13 because she wanted to be “undeniably great at it.” After attending college at the University of Texas at Austin, BELLSAINT moved to Los Angeles and started making a name for herself as an in-demand songwriter.
After performing at the Sundance Film Festival in 2014, she signed with management company Primary Wave and subsequently collaborated on songs with major label artists including Natalie Imbruglia, Cloves and Danny O’Donoghue of The Script. She also collaborated with renowned producer/songwriters Giorgio Moroder (Daft Punk), Paul Williams (David Bowie, Daft Punk), David Hodges (Kelly Clarkson, Christina Aguilera) and Rob Kleiner (Sia, Andra Day, Britney Spears, David Guetta), and had songs placed in a Volkswagen Super Bowl commercial, an Adidas commercial, Marc Jacobs ad, a Just Dance video game and a variety of trailers. French pop recording artist Maude released a song she co-wrote called “Save You,” and BELLSAINT’s songs have appeared in popular TV shows such as Little Fires Everywhere, Riverdale, Pretty Little Liars, Shameless, The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Famous in Love, and The Vampire Diaries.
As a performer, she’s shared the stage with artists such as Lord Huron, Alec Benjamin, The Lone Bellow, Ocean Park Standoff, and the Warbly Jets. She’s also garnered praise from such outlets as Refinery29, Extra, Elle, Galore Magazine, and Us Weekly, the latter of whom called her their “favorite new artist.” Her 2018 track collaboration with Klergy, “Walk Through Fire,” reached No. 8 on Billboard’s Top TV Songs Chart after it aired in the hit show Riverdale.
In 2019, her cover of REM’s “Losing My Religion” was featured in a trailer for The Handmaid’s Tale that aired in the UK and reached No. 1 on the Hype Machine app.
Having her cover of “Losing My Religion” featured in a trailer for a show like The Handmaid’s Tale—set in a society where women are stripped of their statuses and rights—meant more to BELLSAINT than simply a song placement.
“I was raised in a very conservative environment,” she says. “I often felt like my ambitions and opinions were discouraged and that tradition was more important than intuition, empowerment, or knowledge. When I started venturing out of my comfort zone and asking questions, I discovered there were a lot of women who felt the same misguided oppression I did.”
When she’s not writing or recording music, BELLSAINT is doing her part to inspire future generations of female artists. She volunteers as a coach at L.A.’s Rock n’ Roll Camp for Girls and teaches songwriting to youth at the non-profit program Awaken Arts. In addition, profits from her cover of “Losing my Religion” were donated to the National Center for Victims of Crime.
“It’s a special privilege to use music as a healing, cathartic tool that connects us all,” says BELLSAINT. “I want my life to mean something, and I want to give back as much as I can.