Nashville-based Mercy Bell released her self-titled album this fall with album credits including Grammy-winning engineer Craig Alvin (Kacey Musgraves, Hanson), multi-instrumentalist Megan Elizabeth McCormick (Jenny Lewis, Conor Oberst, Bon Iver), engineer Jason Mott (Stevie Nicks, Willie Nelson, Sturgill Simpson, Reba McEntire, Faith Hill, Metallica), Larissa Maestro, Kristin Weber, Robert Gay, Chris Housman, and many others.
As 2019 comes to a close, we think Mercy Bell is definitely an artist you need to know for the future. So DittyTV Senior Editor Tim W. Jackson touched base with Bell for this 5 Questions segment.
My mom was half Filipino, and my dad is a WASP from Massachusetts. I was born in Boston but grew up in San Diego and lived there until I was 12 when we moved back to Massachusetts. My maternal grandfather was a Southerner, from Georgia, and he was one of my main babysitters growing up. So I grew up in a household with four cultures operating at any given time: Filipino, New England, Californian, and Southern. Whoever was babysitting me would always play their favorite music, depending on who was watching me. And two of my uncles and my dad are music junkies, so they were always listening to whatever was new in the 1980s and ’90s. But my big first influences as a kid were ABBA and disco, Tracy Chapman, Linda Ronstadt, Peter Paul & Mary, Mamas & the Papas, James Taylor, The Beach Boys, traditional folk, musical theater, classical music (my dad’s specialty), and lots of Mexican and Spanish language radio.
Well, I work a desk job and at a bar, so I basically live at my jobs and try to get enough sleep. I love working out. Yoga, spin class, MMA (mixed martial arts), walking, anything I can try to get my body moving. It helps my anxiety and depression. And I love spending time with my cat.
4) With a great album released this year, that brings expectations for the future. So what does 2020 hold in store for you musically?
I’m trying to tour as much as possible and write and co-write. I have some January and February dates announced already. And we’re releasing the album on vinyl so that’s exciting!
5) And finally, with the holidays upon us: What’s the best gift you ever received, and what’s the best gift you’ve ever given?
My cat Gonzo is my favorite gift. He was technically a stray kitten dying in a gutter, but two friends led me to him, and another friend jumped out of the car and grabbed him while I drove. It was such a team effort. As for the best gift I’ve ever given, it’s also a kitten. My girlfriend and I found a box of kittens in a rainstorm (along with my friend/drummer/co-producer Abby), and we took care of them. Then one of our friends adopted one of the kittens, so we delivered this little baby wrapped in a sweater to a bar to meet her forever mama! I’ll never forget that moment.