Interview with Dazzling Country Duo, The Belles
Kelli Jones & Jaymie Jones are the award winning mother-daughter, singer-songwriter duo that make up The Belles. They will release their new EP titled, The Belles, everywhere this summer 2018. We talked with the ladies about how they got started and how important it is to be a role model to other females.
Thanks for talking with us! What was the first concert you ever attended?
Kelli: My first concert was Taylor Swift’s Speak Now Tour in Omaha, NE. I went with my best friend from elementary school. I still have the t-shirt from that show!
Jaymie: My first concert was actually The Judds when I was a young girl in Omaha. I went with my parents, and I was very inspired by Wynonna playing the guitar. I told my mama that I wanted to learn how to play guitar and so I started taking lessons. I never thought I’d one day be singing with my own daughter. It’s very symbolic to me now, looking back, that being my first concert.
Did you have a musical mentor growing up?
Kelli: My musical mentors growing up were definitely my mom, my aunts, and my grandma. My grandma was a jazz singer and taught my mom and my aunts to sing. I grew up listening to my mom and aunts sing together in their band Mulberry Lane, write songs together, record and tour together. I always wanted to be just like them.
Jaymie: I’d have to say my musical mentor growing up was my mama. She taught my sisters and me how to sing harmony and was always there for us and is still there for us today! But also, I feel like my guitar teacher and piano teacher were also mentors, along with many other musicians in Omaha that I looked up to and learned from.
You’ve been receiving some great praise on your new The Belle’s EP from tons of music outlets. That must feel pretty special?
Kelli: Thank you so much! It’s so amazing to hear people reacting to our music. We’ve been working on this music for a long time, so we’re excited that it’s finally released!
Jaymie: It does feel really special, and we feel that working with our producer Mickey Jack Cones really focused our energy on the best songs, with the vocals arranged in the absolute best way, and the production is incredible. We love working with Mickey so much, and we feel like our EP really represents who we are in every way.
We are loving, “Set in my ways,” can you tell us a little about this song?
Kelli: Yay! That’s awesome. “Set in my ways,” is really special to me because that song describes me, and how I was raised. It’s a little bit sweet with a lot of sass. I also get to mention my home state of Nebraska. Being raised in Nebraska made me who I am today. We also still play so many shows in Nebraska and the Midwest, so I’m glad I got to give my home state a little shout-out. Overall, I think this song is an anthem of being true to yourself.
Jaymie: We open our live shows with “Set In My Ways.” If you really listen to the words, it describes a person who is open and loving to everyone and won’t let anyone change that. That’s who we are.
Do you see yourself as a mentor to the younger female artists?
Kelli: Yes, although I’m 19 I’ve found many ways to mentor younger female artists, especially female artists from Nebraska. I do a lot of volunteering at Omaha Girls Rock non-profit when I’m in my hometown, which provides after school programs and summer camps to girls in middle school and high school. I’ve done everything from teach them how to use Garage Band, to a harmony workshop my mom and I did. I really feel it’s important to give back to our community.
Jaymie: For sure! When we headline shows in the Midwest, we always ask local female artists to open for us. Personally, I feel like I’ve mentored Kelli all through our music journey together, and it means so much to me when other young female artists ask for advice.
What has been one of the most unexpected things to happen to you this year?
Kelli: I think the most unexpected thing that happened to me this past year was winning Female Vocalist of the Year at the Rocky Mountain CMA’s. I was so excited to be nominated and that I got to dress up and attend the awards. I had no doubt in my mind that I wasn’t going to win. I didn’t even think about preparing an acceptance speech. When I heard my name called, I was so shocked that I could barely put words together! It was the highlight of my year!
Jaymie: This may seem funny, but one of the most unexpected things for me was that I mastered backing up our tour van with the trailer attached! We travel all over with our band playing shows, and we have a 15-passenger van and trailer for gear. I do a lot of the driving but could never back up with the trailer attached! I thought I’d never get it mastered, but this past year, it finally clicked and now I do it all the time!
How do you stay connected with your fans?
Kelli: We stay connected with our fans through social media and touring. We try to keep our fans updated on our lives and our music through all of our social media platforms. Insta stories and Snapchat have become my favorite ways to update fans as we’re going through our day! I’ve also started doing some vlogs on YouTube!
Jaymie: Ditto what Kelli said. We really love staying connected with fans. When we’re out on the road we love to do Facebook and Instagram Lives. It’s the coolest thing in the world to be able to share our adventures with our fans, and feel the love and support coming from them. We’re super grateful for our fans.