Terry Bell is a successful Nashville singer, songwriter, musician, producer and performer and seasoned veteran of the music business and a well respected professional in the community. In this interview with Louder Than The Music Terry talks more about his music, and shares about his experience with long covid.
For those who haven't heard of you before, can you tell us a bit about yourself and how you got involved in making music?
I’ve been living in Nashville ,writing songs , performing, creating and producing music since I moved here in 1988, but I’m originally from Grand Forks , North Dakota where I grew up .I did my first live radio performance when I was 5 years old at my local church. My mom got me an electric guitar and amp when I was 14, I’m a child of the 60’s and 70’s. I spent my early teen years in my room learning to play songs by my favorite bands like the Beatles, The Monkees, Paul Revere and the Raiders , Rolling Stones and the Hollies, , I loved pop melodies that were playing on the radio back then and since I love the real life stories in country, the songs I write today are a blend of country, pop and the rock side of me with a heartfelt story and message.
I left home at 18 and have been playing music in clubs, bars, concerts, from California, to New York ever since I left my home town. When I moved to Berkeley I met another North Dakotan named Michael Carney ,we started performing as the duo Dakotah and played on Fisherman's Wharf as street musicians in San Francisco and played clubs like the Catalyst in Sana Cruz , We moved to Eugene, Ore and formed the band, it was was one of the top regional acts in the Pacific Northwest in the 70’s . We we were regular performers at the Oregon Country Fair, opened shows for acts including; Country Joe and the Fish, Elvin Bishop, Steppenwolf, Beautiful Day, Head East, Robert Cray Band and David Bromberg, I left the band in `1980 and moved to New York to pursue a career as a singer song writer and performed at local writers nights as a featured performer in Long Island area including My Fathers Place where Billy Joel got his start.
If your readers want to find out more about me and my 30 + years in the music business I’m posting a link to my website so they find out more about who I am as an artist and check out my music, press and videos by going to terrybellmusic.com
Tell us about your new single 'She's Got a Heart Like Mine (remix)' and what’s the backstory, and inspiration behind it was ?
The Back Story- I came up with the song title and idea back in the late 90’s when my co-writer Thad Christopher and I were writing songs for his artist development and production deal with a Nashville production company. They loved the songs we were writing so I was included in his deal. We were blessed to get to work Keith Olsen who produced Fleetwood Mac , Rick Springfield, Whitesnake , Heart, Pat Benatar, Grateful Dead and Santana and many well known pop and rock acts. Keith loved the song and we demoed it but it was never released . 30 years later I recorded the song and it hits 1# in the Independent Music Network Country Charts, and it is currently being promoted to Country and Christian Country stations in US,Canada and UK.
The Inspiration- I’m a real romantic guy so I think the song was written from my past relationships and my idea of finding a women that would have a heart like mine, someone who was caring , kind and saw the good and bad in me and loved me for who I am. Thad was married and had a great relationship with his wife so we wrote the lyrics from our personal relationships . I wrote melody and the hook of the song and we worked on the lyrics together.
I would still like to find a women like out there , if you know any one like that , let me know, ha ha
The past few years have been a difficult time for many, during the pandemic, but I understand that you have first hand experience of Covid? Would you mind tell us a little about what happened to you?
I got Covid and a severe case of pneumonia in Dec 2020, about 2 years ago right after Christmas. I had mild symptoms the first week but one night I woke up and I couldn’t breathe and had a very high temperature so I called 911 and they sent an ambulance to take me to the hospital . I was in intensive care unit for about 2 weeks and wore and oxygen mask to help me breathe better but I did not need a ventilator , cause the doctor said I had a strong set of lungs and I was going to make it. It was a very frightening and fearful time but the nurses were very kind an encouraging and my family and friends were praying for me and calling to see how I was doing. After I was released from the hospital I was transferred to a nursing home to recover and start physical therapy . I was so weak I could hardly walk and I still had to have oxygen while I was there. I was there about 6 weeks recovering and getting physical therapy to strengthen my muscles and get strong enough to go home. I got there Jan 15th and was released to go home the end of Feb. Being in a nursing home was not a good experience and not something I would like to go through again.
I knew that the Lord was with me but there were times when I had my doubts and fears but I leaned on Jesus and his promises that he would walk with me through the darkness and get me to the other side and I was going to be alright. I believe he carried me when I was too weak to walk and comforted me when I was afraid and he did because I’m still here. It was his grace alone that saved me , it was one of the hardest and most challenging times in my life I have ever been through. I walked through the valley of the shadow, my faith grew and God gave me the strength and courage I needed just when I needed it most and I have learned some lessons about life, having faith and not losing hope . I have a new song I’m writing from my Covid experience titled “ I’m Still Here “ that I plan to record in the near future.
As a 'Long Covid' sufferer, how are you feeling now, and what are the long term affects for you personally?
I’m still dealing with Post Covid Long Hauler symptoms like muscle ache and weakness , pain , sinus, and some shortness of breath , mainly after I do my walks and but the hardest one to deal with is chronic fatigue , there are some days that I don’t want to get out of bed but others were I feel almost normal , on the days I feel tired I rest and take it easy and don’t do a lot but on my strong days I get a lot more activites and things done because I have the energy, its really one day at a time. I had a Physical therapist that really helped me and gave me some exercises to build up my endurance and strength, over all I’m doing so much better, I’m gaining back my weight that I lost and getting stronger day by day, I ‘m part of a Post Covid long hauler group and some of the people I know are having much worse symptoms then me. I don’t have any cognitive or memory issues, which I’m very Thankful and grateful to God for. I’m learning to have patience with the healing process. I know its gonna take time for my body awhile to recover but I’m hopeful and have faith it will happen. I’m doing the best I can as I’m on the journey back to being healthy again.
You released a song called 'Find the Stars' which you've previously said took on a special meaning after Covid, can you expand on that for us?
Yes , I’d be happy to. I think the reason the song become so personal to me is that was living out the story and the message in the song and it helped me to have hope that even If I have to walk through a dark or difficult time like my Covid experience I was not alone, though I felt like that some it felt like that the Lord was not there or didn’t care about what was happening to me , when I was afraid or had doubts and my faith was the weakest I prayed and was honest with God and how I was feeling, he sent me friends, family who called and let me know they were praying for me and that they loved and cared about me and a woman who just showed up who was not on the regular nursing staff and gave me a big hug telling me I was going to be alright when I was having a hard day, They were the stars in my life that helped me find my way.
I’m hoping that people who listen to the song are encouraged to not lose hope and remember that better days are ahead , just keep looking for the stars and the will find them.
As an artist, how has this affected your musical career specifically, and how have you adapted to deal with that?
I’m glad you asked me that question, I did have to change the way I get my music and message and connect with people , Since I’m not out performing and doing shows , I have a friend who is great at putting together short live videos and clips of my music and stories that I can share with people on my Social media platforms like Facebook , Instagram, It is giving me a great opportunity to tell people more about who I am , my career highlights, the work I’ve done over the years with other artists and songwriters and producers not just in music but films I have been in and what my favorite artists are and share some of their music . It is helping me to reach more people with my music and message and share my faith through the songs I write.I’ve have over 30 years into this business and have a lot of great stores to tell.
The other thing I’m doing that is working really well is to go back through my song catalog and re record, add new parts and remix my songs to bring up the quality of the recordings so they fit with what is happening on radio today in order to compete with what the major artists and labels and other Indy artists are putting out in 2022 .
I’m having great success with that strategy. I’ve hit the top of the charts with my last 2 singles, She’s Got a Heart Like Mine , The Remix 2022 and Find the Stars, were both 1# in the Independent Music Network Top 30 Country Charts . Find the Stars won an Inspirational Song of the Year Award in 2021 and I just found out my new single is nominated for a Country Break Out Country Single , The Lord has been blessing my music so I know that I’m on the right path cause it is working .
What advice would you give to anyone else out there going through the same Covid experience that you've had?
First off I want to say that I’m sorry that you are going through having Covid it is not an easy path to be on, I can’t honestly say I know what you are going through cause I don’t, we are different people and have different circumstances, I can’t really give you any advice other then to share some insight and wisdom I’m learning as I’m going through my own Covid experience, Remember you are not alone and you are loved by your family and friends and the people that care about you and are praying for your recovery and healing. 2nd , that God is and will be with you every step of the way , God is love and he has put people in your life , doctors , and good people to help to encourage and comfort you when you need it so you can hold on to hope and faith and love , you will get better and there are better days ahead .
Do you have any plans to release more music in the near future?
Yes I do have some great plans , I have a new song that I’m in the process of recording that I want to put out as a new single this next year as well as plans to release an EP with my hits and new songs that I have recorded recently, Another project I’m work on his to have some other artists I know record songs that I want to get out for people to hear . Since my voice is not as strong as is was before I got Covid I’m going to be taking on the role of a producer there are still a lot of creative projects I’d love to do .
What message would you like people to take from your music?
I know how much positive and inspiring songs and music has helped me in going through difficult and challenging times in my life and I hope that when people listen to my songs they find hope and encouragement not to give up when times get tough and to keep on living , dreaming and believing things will get better
What does the next year hold for you?
My hopes for the coming year are to continue to improve my health by looking at some new alternative therapies and treatments that will help me in my recovery so I can get back out there and perform again, visit my family in North Dakota and reconnect with friends and continue to write and record and produce new music