Born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, singer/songwriter/producer Callaghan Belle is offering her debut single entitled “Dear Detroit”.
The self-produced single is about the internal battle that takes place when you move away.
“When I first left for Los Angeles, Detroit was still my home. I didn’t feel like I fully fit in either place. So, this is a song about feeling homesick for a sense of belonging,” explains Belle.
The Los Angeles-based artist has written songs for JoJo and Colbie Caillat, with tracks featured on Netflix's "Extinction" and STX Entertainment's "Bye Bye Man” as well, and has performed in iconic venues like Los Angeles' Hotel Cafe and the Hard Rock Cafe.
“Dear Detroit” is now available worldwide.
Introduce yourself :)
Hi, thank you for having me! My name’s Callaghan—which is just the Irish spelling of Callahan. If that helps with pronunciation. Haha.
What's your story?
I’m a songwriter and musician from Detroit. I’ve been working behind the scenes as a songwriter for a few years in Los Angeles, but now I’m finally releasing material as an artist. So I’m very excited about that.
You were born and raised in Detroit. How would you describe Detroit?
My dad’s family comes from the East Side. It’s just the most eclectic group of people. So much underground art. So much soul. And I feel like it’s a place that sets you up to succeed elsewhere—you can’t fake it in Detroit.
Any favorite memories from your time in Detroit?
Hmm my bullet point list would be: 1) Thanksgiving. 2) My grandpa’s 100th birthday party. 3) Recording in the summer at a studio called Assemble Sound before they had AC. 4) And shooting a short film in subzero temperatures with a cast from Los Angeles.
When did you start feeling connected to music?
This might sound cheesy, but I truly can’t remember a time before I was connected to music. I started writing songs as a little girl. So I guess you could say as soon as I learned to read and write.
What did you grow up listening to?
The Beatles and Anita Baker. Constantly.
When did you start writing songs?
I started writing songs when I was a little kid. The song that ultimately got me my first record deal was called “Runaway Jesus,” and the “R” was actually written backwards because I was so young. I used to write at least two songs a day…looking back, I can’t imagine what an 8-year-old even had to write about!
Could you tell us about your first experience in the music industry?
When I was in fourth grade, a few other kids and I got to sing background vocals for Bob Seger. A song called “Just Passin’ Through.” It was one of those once-in-a-lifetime moments that’s all blurred by little kid brain. Like instead of being star struck, I was focused on not laughing while we were recording and what snacks we were going to have after the session.
You've just released your new single "Dear Detroit". What's the story behind this song?
I wrote “Dear Detroit” after a meeting at The Beverly Hills Hotel where I’d been told that my music needed to be “more about guns” and conflict. It was ignorant advice coming from people in such a privileged environment. But it inspired me to write about the internal battle that takes place when you move away. When I first left for Los Angeles, Detroit was still my home. I didn’t feel like I fully fit in either place. So, this is a song about feeling homesick for a sense of belonging.
When did you start working on "Dear Detroit"? Who did you work with?
I wrote this song a few years ago right before moving to LA. It was actually one of the first songs I produced on my own. The vocal has that raw, relaxed emotion because most of it is actually the demo vocal. A producer friend of mine did a few tweaks, it was mixed, mastered and that’s it.
What did you feel when you wrote this particular song?
Misplaced and misunderstood.
You've got a lot of experiences as a songwriter. What advice would you give to young songwriters?
My advice is to gather experiences. You can’t authentically write about what you don’t know— Inspiration dries up quickly when it doesn’t stem from something real. As a kid I wrote and wrote, but never went out and experienced life. That’s one thing I wish I could go back and change. Besides that, just keep an open mind. I’ve been in sessions for Holiday albums, K-Pop songs, horror movie theme songs… you never know where your first writing credit will come from.
In your opinion, what makes a good song?
A good song tells a story. It takes you somewhere.
As an artist, what are the biggest challenges?
In my experience, it’s always been the most challenging to withstand the constant stream of unsolicited advice. So many people are always questioning your songs, your look, your timing. At some point, you just need to have a strong enough foundation to be okay with being who you are.
What message do you want to convey through your art?
Ultimately, I want to reach as many people as possible through vulnerability and honesty. I want my music to be a place where people can go when they feel fragile and walk away feeling stronger. Growing up, I didn’t have anyone to talk to about heartbreak and loneliness, so it’s been really important for me to help others who might be in a similar boat. My music is all about coming into your own power and being confident enough to be vulnerable.
What inspires you the most?
As an artist and person, I’m inspired by powerful women who are unapologetically themselves. I also love when someone makes a comeback. Watching people bounce back after going through a major life change is something that keeps me going when I’m experiencing my own difficulties.
What makes you happy?
Being spontaneous with my friends. I love road trips. I love traveling. Going to the beach, hiking, playing the piano, yoga…
In your opinion, what would make the world a better place?
If everyone took the time to listen to one another. I think it’s important to wait until you truly understand something before you say something you can’t take back.
What biggest lessons have you learned over the years, as an artist and as a human being?
That the more you follow your intuition, the stronger it gets. Developing good instincts is one of the best ways you can take care of yourself. Whether you’re dealing with relationship drama, making a business decision, writing a lyric, etc.
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