Bella Galasso Wants to Break Records on Her Own
Concordia Musician Launches Solo Career After Performing for Eight Years
Bella Galasso does not hate parties.
Contrary to what the irresistibly catchy lyrics in her debut pop single “Ruin A Party” may suggest, Galasso loves to kick back with her friends as much as any other 23-year-old. In this song, listeners are invited to explore Galasso’s inner world, filled with intricate harmonies and the ring of clinking party cups. The lyrics detail her aversion to parties, while piercing through layers of instruments that are equally busy and exciting… Ironically making this a perfect party track.
While the lyrics tell a compelling story, Galasso said they aren’t entirely true. “I think a huge part of songwriting is about exaggeration and making things up,” Galasso said, “even your most upsetting moments aren't that poetic, and you have to kind of make it that way—which is an artform in itself and it’s hard to do. “Ruin a Party” was just an exaggeration of a feeling I’ve felt a few times in my life.”
Although this single marks the launch of Galasso’s solo-career, it is not her first time releasing music. She had her first Spotify debut back in 2016, when her band The Record Breakers released their first EP. After forming in 2014 as a cover band, The Record Breakers went on to release 29 original songs—including two EPs and their album Bigger Plans. The band toured, played local shows, and even opened for Bon Jovi at the Bell Centre in 2018.
“We all had a role. It was really fun, and we actually did a really solid job,” Galasso said. “There was a chemistry there.” It was this chemistry that propelled them through the next few years, up until their last EP release, Bonfire in 2021.
Today, with her single surpassing 1,000 streams on Spotify, Galasso has announced that she is currently working on an EP. Still in the early stages of pre-production, the EP will err more on the stripped-down folk side of the musical spectrum. It will, however, adopt the same confessional tone as her recent single. In fact, Galasso said that it’s some of the most personal music she’s worked on so far. “Even now I’m like oh shit I don’t want my mom to hear these songs sometimes,” she admitted. The EP will cover the universal and deeply personal fears of growing older, wanting more from our time here, and the unpredictability of feelings.
These pop and folk projects are a big change for Galasso, who, up until 2021, had only released country music with her band The Record Breakers. Despite the success she found with them, the band struggled to attract a younger audience.
“We started out with retro. We really pigeon holed ourselves and it was hard to break out of,” she said. Galasso explained that this is something that she’s trying to remedy as a solo artist.
Although she fondly remembers her time with The Record Breakers, she looks forward to this new season of her music career.
“You get older. I was 15 when it started,” Galasso said. “It was a big part of my life. Everybody knew me from [the band]. That was my identity. I was Bella from the Record Breakers, but I was getting tired of that. I didn’t want to be just Bella from the Record Breakers anymore.”
Galasso’s appreciation for her time spent with the band is mirrored by other members. “I have great memories collaborating with her on the style and arrangement of the song “Our Yesterday”,” said Meisner, the band’s bassist. “It was so much fun to go through that creative process with her.” Meisner said that he looks forward to seeing what the future has in store for his friend and former bandmate.
“I’m really excited to see her experiment with different music styles than what she’s done in the past,” Meisner said. “I think she has a new musical direction in mind that I’m very excited to hear.”
Galasso plans to work on her EP alongside her co-worker, producer and longtime friend, Matt Nozetz. The two began working together in 2019, when Nozetz produced The Record Breaker’s song “In My Car”. Since then, he has been the engineer and producer that Galasso turns to for all of her music, including “Ruin a Party”. “I am not letting him go,” Galasso said.
Nozetz said he has a strong understanding of who Galasso is as an artist because of their history. He has had a front row seat in witnessing how she evolved over time, and the influences that have led her to the sound and image she is creating today. He has specifically noticed major changes in her songwriting over the last two years, with her lyrics becoming more vulnerable. This, he said, is especially evident in “Ruin a Party.”
“It’s definitely a much more personal song. There’s a lot of the ‘I’ perspective,” Nozetz said. “It really feels like the lyrics are giving you a window into her head and her feelings.”
While her lyrics have always been intentional, Galasso admitted that in the past, her songs were rarely ever about her. “From when I started writing songs at eleven or twelve, to when I was twenty—when the pandemic started—I did not write songs about my real life,” Galasso said. “I know that’s the thing songwriters do… put their life into it, their emotions and their feelings. But I did not do that. I was scared of doing that. I didn’t believe I had anything to say.”
Instead, Galasso mainly drew inspiration from books and tv shows that she liked at the time. As a self-proclaimed fangirl, her wellspring of ideas hardly ran dry. “I was a fangirl at heart. I still am, but I was insane back then,” she said. In fact, the first single she ever wrote and released with The Record Breakers, “Falling Back,” was inspired by John Green’s “The Fault in Our Stars.”
In some ways, her love for literature has also influenced her new approach to songwriting. As a third year English literature student at Concordia University, Galasso has been introduced to a decent amount of poetry throughout her degree. Thus, in true creative fashion, during the pandemic—when the world felt bleak and there was nowhere to go—she turned to poetry for comfort. “When 2020 came around, and everything was garbage, I started reading more poetry, which was a big change for me,” Galasso said. “I realized I can make songs more personal, but also more poetic and interesting too.”
Above all else though, Galasso attributes this shift in her writing to the privacy and loneliness of the pandemic. In many ways, the isolation and solitude were a catalyst for her songwriting, and she was finally able to use her own feelings and life experience as inspiration. “It really helped me figure out how to do it. I realized that people might not ever hear this because of covid, so I’ll just write whatever. I find that since then, my songwriting has been so much better and finally personal,” Galasso said “I felt like I was finally a ‘real’ artist.”
Galasso hopes that the EP’s stripped-back style will help convey this. “We’re definitely taking a more personal approach, so to speak,” said Nozetz, “putting Bella’s voice more in the spotlight as a singer-songwriter. We’re looking at a more intimate style of songs that will paint the image of who Bella is.”
While the lyrics of Galasso’s new songs are now influenced by her life, Nozetz said that her songs never lacked intention.
“She gave me this phrase that I use with other vocalists called ‘singing with intention’ and she brings that to every single session that I’ve recorded with her,” Nozetz said. “Every line she writes has intention. And she put that idea in my head. That every line needs meaning.”
“Ruin a Party” can be streamed on Bella Galasso’s Spotify.
This article originally appeared in Volume 43, Issue 8, published December 6, 2022.