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Bella Kalolo and The Soul Symphony

  • Music: Roots, Jazz, Funk
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Super soul vocalist Bella Kalolo releases her debut solo album ‘Without The Paper’.

One of Wellington's best kept secrets, super soul vocalist Bella Kalolo releases her debut solo album 'Without The Paper'.

Samoan, Tongan and Maori (Ngati Porou) origins but Christchurch born & bred, Bella Kalolo comes from a very musical family and was encouraged to perform from a young age. “My uncle was a traveling musician that taught church pianists and my Mum and Dad also sung together as a duo. When my Mum stopped performing with my Dad I had to take over, singing at 21st birthdays and funerals from the age of five!” says Bella.

The church provided an important platform for Bella and her family musically and in fact one of Bella’s relatives is responsible for writing well known Samoan hymns. With reluctant beginnings Bella sung many Sundays in the church choir and also in a trio with her brother and sister.

Throughout her highschool years Bella took to a different stage performing in many of the school’s theatrical productions. “Singing wasn’t my main thing at school - performance drama was” says Bella, “it wasn’t until I got my first professional role in the musical ‘Little Shop of Horrors’ at the tender age of 19 that singing became more of a focus.”

Keeping her drama career ticking over with a leading role in the TV2 series ‘Jandals Away’ and an appearance in the popular NZ film ‘Sione’s Wedding’ Bella also began singing for TVNZ’s ‘Dancing With The Stars’ and has worked as vocalist with some of NZ’s top talents including Dave Dobbyn, Don McGlashan and Nathan Haines. Bella has also provided beautiful backing vocals for Fat Freddys Drop, Hollie Smith & The Pink Floyd Experience.

Bella stole the limelight in 2009 when she released her solo EP ‘The Road Ahead’ and has since been twice nominated as Best Female Vocalist at the Pacific Music Awards in 2010 & 2011. “The skills that come with theatre and drama have been a big part of who I am as an artist. It definitely comes through in my live performances. Whilst I love working with other creatives in all of these different formats, it has been really exciting to concentrate on my own creative project.” says Bella.

Most recently Bella returns from her first international tour where she lit up stages with her unique voice and stage presence at the UK’s world famous Glastonbury festival, London’s ‘Origins’ and ‘City of London’ festivals and her first shows in New York City and Boston MA.

“We had an amazing time overseas - traveling, performing and getting amongst the scene wherever we were but I’m really excited to get home and finally release this album and perform it live. The Soul Symphony are an awesome band who I love sharing the stage with. They are truly lifting the bar on New Zealand music.” says Bella

The album Bella is referring to of course is her debut LP ‘Without The Paper’ which she releases next month. “Since the EP my style has developed and this album is a good snapshot of how I was feeling when I wrote it. I was very concerned with writing what was true to me, so a lot of this album is about daily living and was also inspired by my life with Ali (Bella’s husband) and the ups and downs of love, life and death.” says Bella .“Obviously living, working and creating together has it’s challenges” says Bella “but I wouldn’t want to work with anyone else!”

As a tribute to how it all began Bella will perform her first album release show at Downstage Theatre in Wellington where she first met Ali along with their band The Soul Symphony which features Stephanie Paris and Wini Baxter on backing vocals, Andre Paris on Saxophone, Barrett Hocking on Trumpet, Andy Mauafua on Guitar, Benjamin Wilcock on Keys, Alistair Isdale on Bass and Darren Mathiassen on Drums.

Bella Kalolo’s ‘Without The Paper’ will be released in NZ on the 19th of September.

See Bella Kalolo live with The Soul Symphony:

18 Sept - The Downstage Theatre, Wellington

23 Sept - The Globe, Palmerston North

30th Sept - Juice Bar, Parnell, Auckland

1st Oct - Orca Bar and Resturant, Raglan

10th Oct - Queens Wharf, RWC, Auckland

28th Oct - Diva’s in Paradise, Rarotonga