One of the many things that I love about living in New York City is that it's filled with so many amazing, creative, and unique people. You never know who you're going to meet and what great things they're capable of doing. That's exactly how I felt when I first met Bella Saona. For those of you that don't know her yet, Bella is the lead singer of The Fire and Reason, an electro-rock, or as she coins it "edgy pop", duo based in New York. With her star on the rise Bella has begun to branch out into a solo career and is also taking a dip into the acting pool. This weekend I had the pleasure of hanging out with her in Manhattan's Meatpacking District. We talked about everything from how The Fire and Reason came into being to our mutual love of having photoshoots...which we did!
I first met up with Bella at popular Manhattan restaurant Pastis, where she was having breakfast with a good friend and talented chef, Ten Vong. Before we met up I had told her that I wanted her to have complete creative control of her look for the shoot. Although this was a photo shoot for A Hit of Sarah, I wanted the photographs to be all about her and who she was. She took that prompt and showed up in a turquoise school girl styled plaid mini skirt, a Top Shop denim jacket in which she Bella-fied by ripping the sleeves off and pinning a piece of fabric to the back that read Rock & Roll, tall Mary-Jane style tweed platform heels, and her natural long curly hair. After I complemented her on this look she laughed "I love anything punk. I really love Green Day." She looked amazing.
We began by talking about how her and Steve Narvaez formed the group. She smiled, "I was only sixteen!". She details the night in which she snuck into downtown nightclub, Don Hill's, with her sister. Once inside she heard this amazing sound and really wanted to find out where it came from. It turns out the sound was coming from Steve, who was with an electro-hard rock group called Radiate at the time. Immediately she knew she had to work with him. She worked hard to convince him to leave his group and very soon after they met, they got into the record studio and began recording great music.
For Bella, describing the sound of The Fire and Reason became a mixture of so many different aspects. "Steve's sound is hard and dark and I'm the light and sweet stuff on top" she says. That's what makes their sound so unique. Two opposites coming together to create something awesome. Their inspirations are also just as contrasting. Of their biggest hit thus far, "Do it Again", Bella explains that the song was inspired by Lil Wayne...and Broadway musicals. That's something I'm sure you've never thought would go together. After seeing my expression she adds "I love Lil Wayne! Anyone really weird and crazy, I just love." The list of her favorite musicians goes from Katy Perry to Bob Marley to Mozart. Quite an eclectic mix of artists, all with one thing in common. Bella explains that good music comes from within. "I don't think you need to be a great singer to have good music. I feel that the best music is one that really expresses emotion. That's what I like."
But what Bella's working on now is something completely different then anything she's done before. "There's a track that I'm REALLY singing on and another that's in Portuguese!" Her and her friend start talking about their favorites on the album and can't even decide which ones they love the most. "I'm really excited about it," she says with a smile. Her excitement gets to me too. This album is definitely something to look forward too...along with her acting career. "I'm taking acting classes at Stella Adler and I just had a role in a documentary!" She's on to some great things. Stay tuned.
Check out her latest track, Miss Wicked! You'll have it on repeat, it'll definitely keep you dancing. Also make sure to follow her on twitter and facebook for updates on her new album, movie, and other great things she'll be up too.
To see more photos from the shoot, as well as some behind the scenes shots check out my tumblr.
BOOM BOOM BOOM.