Last month, a Victoria-based musician made her debut on the most iconic stage in country music at just 22-years-old.
Bella White doesn’t play pop-country music, she draws inspiration from the sounds of Appalachia and classic country icons.
White was born and raised in Calgary, Alberta but her father hails from Virginia and played in Albertan bluegrass throughout her early years.
Throughout the pandemic and onward, White moved cities and wound up in Victoria where she wrote and workshopped her debut record which would launch her to country stardom.
She released her first album when she was 20-years-old, Just Like Leaving, independently in September of 2020 and was quickly snapped up by Nashville-based Rounder Records.
The record encapsulated her coming-of-age and became an instant success.
“I’m still quite young, but I was very young when I wrote this album,” said White. “All of these songs came from processing my feelings right as I was experiencing certain things for the first time in my life.”
White’s sophomore album, Among Other Things, came out on April 21st of this year, just four days before the 22-year-old took the stage at the Opry.
Her second album has a bit more of a modern feel, while still holding the stunning authenticity of her first record.
“Just Like Leaving feels like a storybook of the things I went through when I was 18 and 19 — each song is about a very specific feeling from my relationships during that time,” White said.
“I’ve had a lot of younger people tell me that they relate to the experience of learning about yourself through someone else, and I’ve also had older folks tell me how it reminds them of when they were younger.”
“I used to fear sometimes that I might run out of things to say in my songs, but I don’t feel that way after seeing how this album has affected people. It’s reminded me that there will always be a creative source for me to tap into,” she added.
Her father attended her Grand Ole Opry debut and took a video of White being introduced for the first time on the legendary stage and playing a single from her new record, Break My Heart.
“I can’t really believe it, I’m processing this as its happening,” White said as she finished her first song on the Opry stage. “It’s very exciting.”
“Since we’re here, at the Opry, I figured I’d play one of my favourite country songs for you. I believe this has been played probably a million times on this stage and I think that I’m going to make it a million and one.”
White followed up her latest single by playing a Connie Smith country classic, Once a Day.
Following the two-song set, she spoke with the emcee of the evening’s music.
“It’s such an iconic stage and so many of my heroes have been on it,” White said. “It’s got such a rich history.”
“I’m still processing it all,” she added.
Watch the video of Bella White’s Grand Ole Opry debut below: