Captivating, glamorous and bold, Belle Scar is a distinctive singer-songwriter, producer and artistic director originally from Montreal but now based in London. Described by the New York Times as “a creature from another dimension, she’s phenomenal,” her dramatic, cinematic music is at times redolent of a Tim Burton film score and at others of a mash-up between Nick Cave, Bjork and Portishead.
Scar studied classical piano as a child before having to abandon it due to challenges related to ADHD and dyslexia that also affected her schooling. She eventually began writing poetry and composing music, to the point where it became an obsession and she left Montreal to head over to Europe for a lengthy tour armed with just her keyboard, a fistful of dark electronic pop songs and her powerful, distinctive voice.
Eventually arriving in the UK, she fell in love with the creativity, diversity and energy of London and decided to stay. Developing a close rapport with the accomplished musician and producer Marc Olivier, the duo pooled their skills to create her debut album, ‘Atoms’. A stunning record, it consists of eleven songs that are emotional yet joyously beautiful, while all are imbued with a passion and depth that take listeners on a journey with her voice at its centre.
‘Atoms’ includes the singles ‘The Eeriness’, ‘Where Do We Begin’ and ‘I’ve Been Here Before’, the last of which is a moody slow-burner that develops into a superbly arranged epic replete with sumptuous strings and an angelic choir that recalls both John Barry and Jean-Claude Vannier.
“I wrote ‘Atoms’ after my son was born, the aftermath of cancer in the family, life in the pandemic as well as acknowledging and accepting my continuing cognitive challenges,” explains Scar. “These songs are about my identity and trying to navigate the cycles of life, as well as my fascination with and awe of the universe, space and time in all its mysterious ways.”
Lockdown had afforded Scar the time to further develop her new material at home, while also reconnecting with her classical roots and reabsorbing music ranging from Erik Satie and Claude Debussy to The Velvets and The Doors, and from Nick Drake and Leonard Cohen to her beloved Nina Simone, Sarah Vaughan and Billie Holiday.
Adoring the magic inherent in film scores by composers such as Ennio Morricone, Danny Elfman and Philip Glass, she gravitated towards grander instrumentation and more complex arrangements for her new songs. Writing the music, lyrics and vocal arrangements, with Olivier adding orchestration and production, the duo have created a mesmerising album about finding meaning in life’s beauty and darkness while navigating a path towards its unknowable future.
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