Bella Estelle makes her headlining debut at The Edge of The Wedge, Southsea
She may only be 17, but Bella Estelle is no starry-eyed ingenue.
She already has three years of gigging – becoming a regular on the local scene – plenty of radio support and a brace of Victorious Festival appearances under her belt.
At the start of the year the singer-songwriter was runner-up in The Guide Awards for Best Solo Act.
And on Friday, the college student is preparing to play her first ever headline show.
Music and performing have been a passion for Bella as far back as she can remember.
‘When I was younger, when we were on family holidays I would always run away to go on the stage. My parents would be freaking out, asking: “Where’s Bella?” And I’d be on stage singing.
‘And I used to gather the neighbours into our garden and put on shows and stuff like that. Then when I was about 12 I started picking up the guitar and piano and self-taught myself some songs.
‘From there, I started writing songs. I did my first gig at 14 and it kind of organically grew – before I knew it, I had a band!’
She recorded her first single, Blurred Vision, at Mayfield Studios in Drayton when she was 15, and has used the studio ever since.
‘We know [studio owner] Dom really well now, we’ve built a good relationship with them there and done all our music there.
‘Now we’re trying to release new music every couple of months, keep the ball rolling.’
She hopes to have her next single, Top of The World, out in June.
Most recent single You and I, her third, came out in April, and was BBC Introducing South’s track of the day.
Although she lives near Chichester, it is the Portsmouth scene that has taken her under its wings.
‘We’re gigging a lot in Portsmouth, and it’s been very welcoming, I’m from Chichester-way but I do most of my gigs in Portsmouth.’
She scored her first Victorious spot in 2017 after playing at the former Little Johnny Russell’s, and promoter Nick Courtney, who helps put on the local acts at Victorious – liked what he heard. ‘He had the faith in me. I played at 10.30 in the morning and I think we were the only people in there at that point!’
Another highlight in her burgeoning career was playing a packed out Wine Vaults at Icebreaker Festival back in January.
‘That was brilliant. It was packed – the crowd was out of the door, which was amazing. That feeling – my goodness.’
But now she’s focused on the gig at hand, which is being put on by Pilot Promotions – the team behind Icebreaker.
‘When they said: “Do you want to headline?” It was really nerve-racking but very exciting – me and the band have put in a lot of effort. I’ll be playing on the electric, the acoustic, and the piano. Tell your friends, your families, tell everyone to come!’
The Edge of The Wedge, Southsea
Friday, May 17