Terry Bell is a successful Nashville singer, songwriter, musician, producer and performer and seasoned veteran of the music business. Louder Than The Music caught up with Terry again to find out more about his latest single 'Help Is On The Way', and to discuss how he uses personal experiences to inspire his songwriting.
Terry, tell us a bit about your new single 'Help Is On The Way', and when people can hear it?
I wrote the song with Nick Granato who I met at Gateway Entertainment in Nashville back in the mid 90’s. We had our biggest hit with AGT winner Michael Grimm with “John Wayne and Jesus “it was a huge Country Gospel radio hit that crossed over to mainstream country radio and helped to launch Michael’s career before he left Nashville to pursue his love of soul and blues and ended up a finalist on AGT.
The song was demoed during that time but it was never officially recorded so when I was listening to songs for my next single and I ran across the song in my catalog and fell in love with it all over again because of the great positive message and I could really relate to the song because of the difficult time I was going through recovering from Covid, it felt like the perfect song for me to do and for the times we are living in .
I have 2 release dates for the single. It will be going out to Christian Country radio on Aug 18th and it will be out to streaming services on Aug 25th
It's such a song of encouragement, and you've previously said you wrote it from your own personal experiences. Can you expand on that?
Yes, I can, I seem to write songs from my personal experiences, because like every one else living, life can be a long hard road sometimes. I’ve been through difficult dark valleys and challenging times; I’ve had some of those moments recently and I was feeling really down and heard a song that helped to lift my spirit and touched my heart and it brought a little light in my day. There is so much pain and suffering that people are going through that I can empathize with because I know what its like to feel there is no hope, but the truth is there is always something to hope for and that hard times will pass if we can hold on and don’t give up, that’s what the song is all about
What's your songwriting process like?
For me it is coming up with an inspiring idea or thought I want to spend time writing; I’m always keeping my ears and eyes open when I hear a conversation or watching a good movie, TV show and going through my life experiences. Having a great hook or title inspires me to write a great song with universal themes that everyone can relate too. Some times I get a melody or feel and then come up with a good title to fit , other times I have a great tittle or hook line and I write a strong melody , every song I write or co-write has a unique creative process.
How would you describe your style of music?
I say that my music is a blend of country, rock, light pop with a faith based or inspirational message. I grew up listening a lot of different styles of music from artists like the Beatles, Eagles, James Taylor, Tom Petty, I have a lot of musical influences that helped to shape my style of music, I’m also a big fan of the Folk Rock genre and artists that use their music to tell stories to communicate messages about life, heartache and love. If you listen to one of my songs you get to know who I am and what I believe
If you could collaborate with any other singer or songwriter, who would it be and why?
Wow, that would be hard to pick just one singer or songwriter because I have quite a few singer songwriters that I love and respect their individual talents, but if I had to choose one it would probably be Paul McCartney, I’m a melody guy and Paul wrote some killer melodies with the Beatles his other bands and solo stuff, songs like Yesterday, Michelle, Let it Be, With a Little Luck, too many to mention, I would love to have the chance or an opportunity to collaborate with him or be in the room when he is creating new music.
What music have you been listening to yourself lately?
Lately I’ve been listening to songs with a positive or inspirational message, I have been come a big fan of artists like Mandisa, Laura Daigle, Rachel Lampa, Danny Gokey, Toby Mac and recently discovered Katy Nichole and Rachel Clemmon. I also listen to Country but more of the older style from 80’s 90’s , and I’m a big fan of 70’s music
You've spoken to us before on LTTM about your health, and the long term affect of COVID. How are you doing currently?
Well to be perfectly honest, I have been dealing with Chronic fatigue, sinus problems and still have symptoms of shortness of breath when I over exert myself after walking or exercising , I had a real serious case of Covid and pneumonia and its taking a while for my body to fully recover but I’m getting better slowly and I’m much better than I was, I’m very blessed because some of my friends in my Long Covid support group are in much worse shape then me , I just have to take it one day at a time , when I’m tired I rest and on days I have more energy I get a lot more done , it has really challenged my faith in the Lord to keep hopeful.
What's next for you after this single releases?
I have some other songs that I recorded that I’m thinking about releasing as a single and a Country song with a Southern Rock flavor that a good friend that is just getting his country music career off the ground is going sing the vocal on, the tracks are killer and used some of the best players in Nashville on them, He has also recorded a song we co-wrote that he is just finishing up and plans to record and do some touring.
Since I’m not really able to do live performances like I used to I’m going to play a behind the scenes role and find other up and coming artist to record my songs , I have a great songs in catalog that I want people to hear
As you look back over a long career in music, which are your favorite highlights?
There have been so many career highlights for me, I’ve been incredibly blessed to have; Michael Grimm sing my song John Wayne and Jesus at the Ryman and hearing it on the radio, getting to work with legendary Music Publishers and producers like my close friend Ron Cornelius, I owe a lot of my early success as a writer to Ron and working with his music publishing company and Gateway Entertainment, I found a song that Faith Hill recorded on one of her It Matters to Me album that went 3 times Platinum, I had the good fortune to write songs for a project Keith Olsen producer for Fleetwood Mac did on my friend Thad Christopher. My last 2 singles went #1, performing for people and having them come up and tell me how a song I sang touched them and was just what they needed to hear at that moment.
I could mention a lot more in my early music days but I don’t want to come across like I’m bragging, ha ha, the truth is that the Lord put me in the right place at the right time, I just had to show up and use the gift he gave me.