bill bodkin continues the Jersey Shore interview series with singer Michelle LaBelle …
My Band Consists of: I am a solo artist at the moment, and currently looking for new band members for my new project.
I’ve Been Playing Since: I’ve been performing as a professional artist for two years.
My Music Can Be Found Online At: www.reverbnation.com/michellelabelle — become a fan!
My New Record Is Coming Out: I am currently writing a new album and it will be released at the end of 2012.
My Sound Has Been Compared To: Alanis Morissette, Katy Perry, and Jewel.
Famous/Awesome Bands I’ve Performed With: I have had the wonderful opportunity to perform with several bands and artists, such as, Frankie & The Burn, who are a local cover band, and a very talented L.A. artist as well as friend, Ipo Pharr.
Pop-Break: How did you get involved in M.A.D. Wednesday?
Michelle LaBelle: I’ve been coming to Red Bank a lot, and The Downtown is one of my favorite spots. A great friend of mine has been helping me pick back up in the music scene and asked if I would like to play. This will be my first show being back home in three years, so I’m very excited for this opportunity.
PB: You were out on the West Coast for a few years and recently returned home. How did that the West Coast experience effect you as a musician?
ML: Living on the West Coast for three years changed my life. As a person and as a musician, I was forced to break out of my shell and expand as an artist. I gained the confidence I never had to step away from my guitar and rock out with professional musicians. Los Angeles is a constant competition, and you always have to be better than the person sitting next to you. I never worked so hard in my life, and that’s why I feel like it’s only up from here. I was fortunate enough to record my E, study in the Vocal Performance and Music Business Program at the Musicians Institute, and gain experience as a session singer for TV placements.
PB: Can you compare the original music scenes between L.A. and New Jersey?
ML: Red Bank is very “hipster” and has great variety. Toms River seems to be a lot more low-key — it’s mostly cover bands and acoustic acts. There’s nothing like L.A., having live music every single night of the week especially when you can support your friends.
PB: I saw you did a song with Frank Porcaro called “Summer Love” which you also shot a video for in Seaside Heights, N.J. How did you two come to work together? And talk about the concept behind the song and video.
ML: Frank and I went to high school together and reconnected within the first two weeks returning home. One day, we were talking about this song he wrote just for fun and we did a fair trade. Frank is a fantastic fitness professional, so he would train me and I would record his song in my studio. Being two locals from the Jersey Shore, Seaside Heights was a huge part of our childhood and we wanted to represent our home in a positive way, other than what you see on TV. Summer Time is about having fun, finding that summer love, and enjoying the beautiful weather at the shore. Our video was based off of a boardwalk date and spending summer nights with someone special.
PB: There are so many independent musicians out there vying for the attention of music fans, who now, more than ever, have a massive amount much music at their fingertips. Why should people take the time to check out Michelle Labelle?
ML: Michelle LaBelle is a sweet, bubbly yet bold independent woman. I have a unique, original sound and I try to portray a down to earth style in promoting my music. I don’t believe in shoving my music in peoples faces, but I try to keep up with the social media. My music has a message and I aim to write in a clever yet creative style. Unlike the pop music you hear on the radio, I believe in sticking to the organic roots of music. I hold nothing back when I write songs and express myself as a musician in the public eye. I am who I am, and I want to show people that it’s okay to hurt, it’s okay to be quirky, and that nobody is perfect. My new album will be a indie pop/rock style with a world feel to incorporate my Latin background. If you don’t know about Michelle LaBelle just yet, soon enough you will.
PB: What do you have planned for the rest of 2011 and early 2012?
ML: I will be working on putting a backing band together and writing new songs for my album. I will be featured on a tour back in L.A. in the winter time called GirlsROCK.