Self reflection is at the core of Callaghan Belle’s new single ‘Dear Detroit’ . Detailing the pressure of trying to fit into a new city and the solitude of leaving the familiar behind, the song was inspired by a meeting in which she was encouraged to create an edgy persona to find success as an artist.
Belle spoke to IndustryMe about the real life challenges of moving to a new city, her new single and more.
You spent quite a bit of time behind the scenes as a songwriter. Are there any songs that we would recognise?
I’ve had the opportunity to write for some incredible artists like Colbie Caillat and JoJo. I’d say my biggest writing credit is actually an unreleased song that’s coming out later this year. Very excited, but I don’t think I’m allowed to share any details yet.
What was biggest lesson you learned during that experience?
Writing with different artists and songwriters has taught me that making music can be a delicate process. Everyone approaches their art differently. I’ve really learned to read a room and get a feel for how people choose to collaborate.
How do you think spending time writing for others has impacted your work as an artist?
I’ve written everything from Holiday music to K-pop to end title themes for horror movies. [Laughs] Being exposed to so many different genres gives you an inherent ability to keep an open mind in the studio. As an artist, I used to be nervous about collaborating because I wanted control over the final product. But I’ve learned to embrace that aspect of things. It’s the fun part! There’s something beautiful about letting the song lead you where it wants to go. I think that’s why my music as an artist seems so genre fluid.
What made you say to yourself “Now it’s my turn” and put yourself out there as an artist?
[Laughs] Moving from Michigan to Los Angeles was such a culture shock. And I’ve been so grateful to be in such great company these past few years, that it took a minute for me to realize, “Hey! You came here to be an artist!” That was honestly the goal all along. Plus, I’d been told to “wait” by managers and labels for years. Now I have two EPs worth of material ready to release, so if this first EP didn’t come out this year, it’d be weird to release it ever, you know?
What’s been the most challenging part about making this transition so far?
Honestly, there were so many challenges once I decided that I wanted to release my own music. There were days when it felt like the universe didn’t want it to happen. I originally thought “Dear Detroit” was going to come out this past summer, but so many obstacles got in the way. Just to give you some examples…the day before we filmed footage in Detroit for the music video, the director of photography broke his foot. Then we planned on getting some additional footage in Malibu, and the wildfires broke out on the beach we’d chosen. Not to mention, I’d met the editor for the video through my boyfriend at the time and we broke up before the editing process was even finished. [Laughs] I could go on. So the challenge has been to keep persisting and overcoming obstacles.
Okay I’m starting to see your point. Let’s get into your music.
What was the writing process like for your latest single?
I wrote this song a few years ago before moving to LA. It was actually one of the first songs I produced on my own. So it was a solitary process. The backstory came from a meeting I’d had at The Beverly Hills Hotel— Basically, I was this wide-eyed teenager in a sundress and this man in a suit was going on and on about how my music needed to be “more about guns.” It was quite the meeting. [Laughs] But it inspired me to write about the internal battle that we all face when we move away from home. So “Dear Detroit” is about feeling homesick for a sense of belonging whether that stems from a person, a place, or an emotion.
From our perspective “Dear Detroit” sounds like a homesick letter to your loved ones back home. How to you say grounded in a city makes you feel like you have to compromise who you are?
Great question. To be honest, for me, it’s been more difficult to get my head in the clouds than it’s been to stay grounded. I think if you’re someone living in a big city and you come from a humble background, you can really use it to your advantage. You instantly see through so much phoniness and so many distractions, and you gravitate towards the real. Staying on track and focused on your intentions is really important. Keep your goals in sight and you’ll be fine.
Do you have any idea on what the next single will be?
Yes! I have two contenders, but I’m leaning towards a song called “Kids.” It’s about growing up in a broken home but learning to love and trust in your own relationships.
Will we get an album from you this year?
Yes! My first EP, Sovereign, will be out later this year.
So there’s a new single and an album on the way. Would a tour be asking for too much?
I can’t even explain how much I would love to tour. I hope it happens sooner rather than later.
Who would you most like to open up for right now and what songs would your set include?
I’d love to tour with any powerhouse female artist: Kelly Clarkson, Ariana Grande, Kelsea Ballerini, Ellie Goulding—I’ll go any genre. Some of my favorite songs to cover live are “How to Love” by Lil Wayne, “Girl Crush” by Little Big Town, and Jack White’s version of “Love Is Blindness.” But of course, I’d include plenty of my own material as well.
Any final shoutouts or plugs?
Thank you so much for having me! “Dear Detroit” and “Paranoia” are available to stream on all platforms. If you’re reading this, maybe text a link to my music in your group chat? [Laughs]
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