Beate Lech known by her stage name Beady Belle, is a vocalist, artist, songwriter and producer. She started her music journey as a vocalist in the band Folk & Røvere in 1996, while studying at the Norwegian Academy of Music. Since then she has toured in large parts of the world since the early 2000s and has collaborated with world stars such as Jamie Cullum and R&B artist India Arie, Dee Dee Bridgewater, as well as Joshua Redman and Jarle Bernhoft. Among the venues where she performed is the Royal Albert Hall. Beady Belle made a name for herself in Stjernekamp in the autumn of 2019. Her works and releases include several jazz albums in collaboration with Jon Eberson, Christmas albums in collaboration with SKRUK, and hymn albums in collaboration with George Riedel.
Hello Beate, Norwegian audience knows you as a jazz singer which was part of the bands You were part of bands “Folk & Røvere” and “Metropolitan” and now Beady Belle which you founded with your husband Marius then the band split in 2015 but you continued to release as Beady Belle. What inspired you to continue working under that name and can you tell us how did you decide to name the band Beady Belle?
Beady Belle has always been my artist name, from the first album “Home” in 2001. I was asked by the famous jazz pianist Bugge Weseltoft to release an album on his label Jazzland Recordings, and I decided to create an artist name. I had collaborated with American musicians earlier, and when they read my name (Beate) they always pronounced it “Beady”. So I thought I just as well could call myself Beady…:) And then “Belle” is for the feminine and for the beauty, so I thought that was a good name for my music. It’s written by a woman (me) and I make it as beautiful I manage – Beady Belle! This name also became the name of the project and the band, but all the way it was my artist name.
How did you decide to apply for Melodi Grand Prix?
I was asked. I was asked many time before too, but I didn’t have time to do it. Too busy touring around the world and making new records. But NOW I got time! And also I think I have been waiting for the right song. I have to really mean what I do on stage. This has been my job and my carrier for 20 years. I have made my music, I have produced it, I have been the band leader. I need to own it somehow. So for me to perform a song someone else hade made, that I didn’t really like, was out of the question. But then I wrote “Playing with fire” and I’m ready for MGP. And it’s gonna be 100% Beady Belle on stage.
Can you tell us what inspired you to create “Playing with Fire” and what does the song mean for you?
“Playing with fire” reflects a tempting feeling. Everyone remembers playing with matches as a kid, and the adults strongly admonishing us not to. Everyone knows the feeling, the excitement, of doing something a bit dangerous – prohibited. As adults, we know we must watch the fire. Be careful. Control it. But we also recognize the attraction playing with the burning and forbidden. The childish excitement of the mesmerizing fire. How close can we get before we get burn? And is it worth the risk?
I wanted to make a snappy, groovy, danceable song with a powerful chorus. It’s like an explosion. And I am an explosive singer – with a lot of dynamics and unexpected phrases and improvisations. I like taking chances on the stage. Then two concerts with me are never similar and it’s an electric feeling – what can happen. I like to sort of play with the fire on stage…
Can you reveal us more about your performance which we will see this Saturday?
Just a little bit…I will have dancers. And I have collaborated with a fantastic choreographer Oliver Paulsson, who has created a performance which I also stand 100% for. The dance lifts up the music and the music lifts up the dance. Perfect match! I have been given freedom to create both the dance, the costumes, the lights – the show – in collaboration with great and talented people. I believe the audience will see that this performance is a unite powerful show. It all fits, it all goes the same direction. Just wait for it…:)
You cooperated with many musicians such as: Jamie Cullum, India Arie, Dee Dee Bridgewater, as well as Joshua Redman and Jarle Bernhoft which out of all cooperation is your favourite and brings you the loveliest memories?
If I have to pick one of them it would have to be Jamie Cullum. We did a great tour together, lasting for a couple of months, in the whole United Kingdom and in many of the big European cities. Beady Belle was his support act. And I was also invited to sing a duet together with him in his show. We even played at Royal Albert Hall. Since our collaboration lasted for so long I really got to know him and he is an extraordinary performer and such a good and loving person!
Your album releases include jazz, Christmas songs and hymns and you performed a lot of different music genres which one do you enjoy performing the most?
Hard question!! I think I like to variate, but Beady Belle is me and it’s my child and it’s my body and soul. I make the music, the lyrics, I produce it, I program the grooves. I can’t separate from Beady Belle, so – again, if I have to pick one project – I will go for Beady Belle.
Norwegian newspaper, Dagbladet claims you are Norwegian response to Beyonce how does it feel to carry that title?
It’s an honor!! And I like the twist of association which I recognize more than being a jazz singer, actually. I feel much more as a Soul and R&B singer. Have always done that. But I have been put into the jazz genre. Soul is more expressive some how. I do like performing in small, dark jazz clubs, but the ultimate stage for me is where people can stand and dance and enjoy the music with their whole body. Just like you do when Beyonce sings!
This year’s Melodi Grand Prix will be held without the audience how will that affect your performance?
It’s strange without audience, but I have done some streaming concerts during 2020 and has somehow gotten used to the feeling – the emptiness and the absence of applaud. I will have to focus on the show and do it together with my dancers. I’m glad I’m not alone on the stage. Then I have at least someone to share the feeling with.
Last year Melodi Grand Prix marked 60 years from its first edition what is your favourite song which competed at the stage of MGP and tell us why did you choose it?
My favorite MGP song of all times is “Keep on walking” with Salem Al Fakir from 2010 (Sweden). It didn’t win, but it’s an amazing song!
Do you watch Eurovision regularly, if so would you like to share a memory which you have of it or a favourite song from the contest?
Actually I don’t watch it regularly. The show mostly happens on Saturdays…and then I am on a stage myself… But when I was younger I enjoyed it a lot! I remember Bobbysocks winning in 1985. I was a little girl and it was the first time Norway won ESC. There and then I understood that little tiny Norway could make a difference. We can make anything happen! This meant a lot to me and for my carrier.
What do you do when you are not creating music and singing?
My life contains only music… BUT I am a mother of to kids (11 and 14 years old). I also teach a little bit at the State Academy of Music – I teach singing and composing. I also conduct a choir, 40 kids from 8 to 16 years old.
What are your plans after Melodi Grand Prix?
I have spent the whole year of 2020 composing and producing new music. All my concerts were canceled, so I escaped into my studio. The result of this will appear later this year. My 9th Beady Belle album will be released in October 2021. It’s called “Nothing but the truth”.
Thank you so much for your time Beady Belle. We wish you the best of luck at Melodi Grand Prix. Do you want to share something else or you maybe have a message for followers of escbubble?
I am looking SO MUCH forward to this. I am proud of being part of the ESC history. I hope for many votes, so this journey can last and last. I’m ready to go all in!
Give a listen to her entry “Playing with Fire” on Spotify or at Youtube below
If Beady Belle is your favorite in the first semifinal which will take place this Saturday 16th of January, make sure you cast your vote for her in our poll right here:
- Jorn - Faith Bloody Faith 43%, 291 vote291 vote 43%291 vote - 43% of all votes
- Stina Talling - Elevate 37%, 246 votes246 votes 37%246 votes - 37% of all votes
- Blåsemafian - Let Loose 13%, 88 votes88 votes 13%88 votes - 13% of all votes
- Beady Belle - Playing With Fire 7%, 45 votes45 votes 7%45 votes - 7% of all votes
Let us know your impressions of “Playing with Fire” by Beady Belle in the comments below and at our social media links!