The Song that Started it All – Nick Cantwell

Tomorrow is the second anniversary of Belles and Gals, so I thought I’d take a look back and feature a song that I consider to be the song that ‘started it all’. No, this wasn’t the first song I ever featured on the site, but it played a very key role in Belles and Gals moving in the direction it has.

Belles and Gals started on January 25th 2016 as a site that I would use simply to share my own personal favourite YouTube videos. It was  a very straightforward site, without even a write-up on any of the songs. At this stage, every song was from an artist based in the US or Canada – unfortunately, due to a server change in early 2017, the early posts are no more, although I know I kicked off with Lindi Ortega. It stayed this way for around three weeks. Somehow on the back of that start, a nice social media following was growing on Twitter.

Then I came across ‘Paper Roses’ by UK artist Emma Moore. The first time I heard it I thought it was fantastic (and I 100% share the same view today), so I thought it would be great to feature it. This was a bit of a curve-ball however, as I’d never featured a UK artist before and I’d only featured the biggest names in the industry at this point – Emma, at the time, was just starting out.

So I decided it would be great to feature it, so I sent Emma a message on social media. Now, this wasn’t an easy matter for me. I’d never sent a singer a message before and I had no idea if she knew anything about my simple video sharing site. However, I plucked up the courage to send a message (yes, I was genuinely nervous about it!) and asked her if she’d like to feature. Fortunately, Emma sent a reply, saying she would love to feature on the site. A couple of days later it appeared!

I spoke to Emma this week and asked her about the song:

“I wrote ‘Paper Roses’ on February 12th, so I guess you could say the Valentines Day vibes were all around. I hadn’t yet written a love song and was going through my ‘hook book’ of potential ideas and I’d written a note about “building blocks of romance”, and a few lines down was “paper roses – they’d last as long as the love”. Somehow, as I was playing around with my guitar and singing any old thing that came to mind is merges the two ideas. From then it was a quick write, and it was up on YouTube the next day just in time to share for Valentines Day. On the album I cut the chorus in half as the original demo is over 5 minutes, which is far too long and in this case unnecessarily so.”

Now, this might seem that it was just me sharing a video. However, it was something of a Eureka moment for me, as I suddenly realised that Belles and Gals could be used to promote artists. Then I thought… Maybe I could do interviews? Maybe I could do reviews? Emma was the first artist I ever interviewed and then reviews followed.

Since then, in the last two years, myself and members of the team have had the opportunity to interview some of the very best artists in the industry and we have a review team who are dedicated, talented and most of all, fans of the artists in question. It’s been an amazing ride – who knows what would have happened if ‘Paper Roses’ hadn’t crossed my path. Here’s to the next two  years.

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