Queenie Star Bellah’s Journey from Music to Acting

By AlishPublished on: June 5, 2024 Updated on: June 7, 2024
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Isobel Akpobire, better known as Bellah, is making waves in the UK R&B scene by infusing her Nigerian heritage with a passion for 90s R&B. Growing up in North London, her musical journey began in her childhood, inspired by her family’s influence and a life-changing Beyoncé concert.

Recently, she’s expanded her talents to acting, starring in the series Queenie. In the show, she plays the character Kyazike Mayagenda, appearing alongside Dionne Brown, who plays the lead role, Samuel Adewunmi as Frank Ssebendeke II, and Tilly Keeper as Darcy Pike.

Her Family Laid The Foundation For Her Career

Bellah’s family significantly shaped her career in music. Born in Enfield, North London, on November 15, 1996, she was raised by a single mother. The influence of her uncles, who often played 1990s R&B hits from artists like Destiny’s Child and SWV, deeply impacted her musical tastes from an early age.

Her journey began at four when her mother enrolled her in musical theatre. This ignited her love for music, leading her to her first studio session at ten, where she recorded a cover of Mary J. Blige’s Be Without You.

Bellah was raised by her single mother
Bellah’s mother and uncles influenced her musical taste

A defining moment came when Bellah attended a Beyoncé concert, which left a lasting impression on her. Inspired by the powerful performance, she began dedicating herself entirely to music.

Her determination paid off when she performed at a local festival and found management on the spot. Her new team immediately placed her in artist development, which paved the way for her career.

Bellah wrote her first song at 17 and quickly gained recognition for her authentic and melodic writing style. She has collaborated with the likes of Conducta, Liv Dawson, and Courage.

With the support and guidance from her management, the British diva honed her songwriting skills and grew as an artist, and, in 2019, she started releasing her music.

Rose To Fame During The Pandemic

When the whole world was dealing with the grueling phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, Bellah was having the time of her career. She released an EP and two singles at the time which shot her to popularity.

In 2020 she released a single, Something U Like, which blends contemporary influences with the golden era of R&B. It received tremendous support from Spotify and was featured on several official playlists, which earned her recognition from British Vogue, BBC Radio 1Xtra, and Capital Xtra.

Her 2022 EP, The Art of Conversation, features personal themes, such as her struggles with Sickle Cell Disease in Cause U Can. She has worked with renowned producers Ari PenSmith and Sons of Sonix.

With her recent project, Adultsville, Bellah continues to prove herself as a pioneer in the UK R&B scene.

Wants To Become The Frontrunner For The R&B In The UK

She aspires to be a leading figure in the UK R&B scene. Driven by her Nigerian heritage, she views this as an opportunity to create a success story that young Black girls can look up to.

She acknowledges the differences between the R&B scenes in the US and the UK. The young singer believes that the UK’s small size and close-knit community sometimes hinder open support among artists. She also notes that many talented songwriters head to the US, where their skills are more appreciated.

Furthermore, she believes that the reluctance to collaborate and the unnecessary competition within the UK scene hold back its potential. She even argues that for the UK R&B scene to truly thrive, there needs to be more camaraderie and collaboration among artists.

Three Words That Describe Bellah

Bellah describes herself with three strong words: prolific, different, and determined.

She says she is ‘prolific’ as it “describes my ability to improve over time, as well as my knowledge and experience. The thirst for knowledge in me never ceases, and I’m always eager to improve.”

Likewise, Bellah defines herself as “different,” sharing, “I don’t fit in comfortably, which isn’t a bad thing at all. I actually love the fact that people can’t always place me.

Lastly, she describes herself as “determined,” stating, “I’m determined to overcome any obstacles that may stand in my way.

She Considers Bellah And Isobel to be Different

In an interview, Bellah talked about the distinction she has made in her mind between her stage persona, Bellah, and her personal self, Isobel. As an artist, she is a force, meticulously planning and striving to become a household name.

On the other hand, her true self is sentimental and sensitive, driven by a desire to inspire greatness. This inner child fuels Bellah’s dreams, while Bellah works to fulfill Isobel’s aspirations, creating a dynamic interplay between the two aspects of her identity.

Bellah has three words to describe herself
The artist distinguishes between her professional and personal persona. (Source: Instagram)

Similarly, Bellah’s creative process is deeply rooted in faith and reflection. She begins each session with a prayer. She says the ritual sets a positive and focused tone for her day.

Besides, she loves to enjoy good food and engaging conversation, drawing inspiration from real-life experiences and heartfelt discussions. Collaborating with trusted producers and songwriters, these meaningful exchanges often spark the core ideas for her songs.

From Music To Acting

Known for her captivating music and heartfelt lyrics, Bellah has been involved in the music industry professionally for a long time now. Recently, she made an exciting transition to acting. On May 16, 2023, she took to Instagram to announce her new venture, expressing her thrill to appear in the series Queenie.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Bellah (@ibebellah)

Now that the series is out, fans and new audiences alike are eagerly anticipating her performance. Just as she has won hearts with her music, Bellah is set to make a strong impression with her acting skills.

Music Is A Form Of Self-Expression For Her

For Bellah, making music is a deeply personal and expressive process. When asked about her songwriting, she emphasizes the importance of food and conversation. “I never go into a session and say, ‘Let’s write a song,‘” she explains.

Instead, she begins by engaging in conversations, asking questions like, “How’s your day been? What are you going through? Who’s hurt you?” This approach helps her connect with others and capture unspoken feelings in her music.

Music is a form of self-expression for Bellah
She expresses herself through her music. (Source: Instagram)

She believes music should make people feel seen and aims to address the loneliness that many experience. She cites SZA’s album Ctrl as a major inspiration for its vulnerability and impact.

About Author: Alish

Alish is a skilled content writer who blends creative flair with thorough research to craft engaging and enjoyable content.