Hollyn Belle said she was born to play music. “I got my first guitar for Christmas when I was 8 years old, and I taught myself how to play by watching tutorials for Taylor Swift songs on YouTube,” she told the Charleston City Paper. “I wrote my first song when I was 12, and ever since then writing songs and playing music is all I have wanted to do.”
The young musician has been busy growing her songbook and fan base for the last several years, and she took a giant leap recently by releasing her first single “Take Me or Leave Me” on May 19. The shimmering pop song took form when Belle was struck by a comment about one of her personal heroes and after some fruitful recording sessions here at home, the result is a succinct, sweet tune.
“It is mind-blowing to me,” Belle said. “It’s been a long time coming, for sure. I am so excited about this song. ‘Take Me or Leave Me’ is about getting mixed signals from someone you’re interested in. It basically says, ‘I would rather you be honest with me about your intentions than lead me on.’ I wrote it in 2021 after reading an article about Kacey Musgraves in which the author described her as having a ‘take me or leave me attitude.’ I wrote the entire song in 30 minutes immediately after reading that phrase. I honestly couldn’t be happier with how it turned out.”
It helped that Belle found a strong ally to help bring her ideas to life in the studio.
“I always wanted to record my songs before, but I struggled to find a producer to work with for a very long time,” Belle said. “Covid did not help in that department, either. But late last year, a friend put me in touch with Matt Tuton at The Lab, and I’ve been working with him ever since, which has been so exciting. I feel like I’ve grown so much as an artist this year just since starting the process of recording my songs, it’s hard for me to believe.”
Besides cutting tracks, Belle also has performed more in the local live music circuit. In the last month, she has performed at My Father’s Moustache, Wando River Grill, Chico Feo, Slightly North of Broad and The Mills House.
Whatever lies ahead for the up-and-coming songstress, Belle is excited about the possibilities. “Even though I’ve been playing music for a long time now, I feel like it’s still just the beginning for me.”
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