It was only about a year ago that Boston-native Bella Fiske would stand at the crosswalk on Eliot Street, the inspiration and namesake for her debut EP, whenever she needed to “just think.” Since then, the singer-songwriter — now turned Syracuse University freshman as of this fall — is taking her music to new heights. Fiske released her debut Eliot Street in July of this year, and has since amassed almost ten-thousand monthly listeners on Spotify.
Like many members of her generation, the singer-songwriter is not afraid to be honest about her passions — especially when she lives for music: “Dude, [music] just was always there,” Fiske explains. “I was looking through my fifth grade yearbook for no apparent reason yesterday, and my dream career was singer-songwriter.”
Just like her EP, Fiske is strikingly raw about her emotions. “Music is a big outlet for me because I’m a very emotional person,” she said. As she moved out of her childhood house, Fiske processed the transition of her life between adolescence and adulthood.
Eliot Street encapsulates this transition in time. Not just for Fiske, but for anyone who listens.
“I could literally take you down the street and literally point out ‘this is where this song happens, [and] this is where that song happens,’” Fiske jokes from her dorm. “Basically, [Eliot Street] is a love letter to my neighborhood.”
Eliot Street acts as a culmination of her experiences growing up, while also marking the start to a new beginning. Each song acts as a time capsule for the universal experiences of heartbreak, home, and a series of firsts.
“I still feel really naive about a lot of things,” Fiske said about starting a new chapter and beginning her freshman year at Syracuse. Despite her new environment, Fiske has quickly broken into the local house show scene — performing her first show only a few weeks into the school year. “That first show was crazy,” Fiske explained as she recalled the night she watched crowds of people line up to get in as she sat on the second story of the house she was performing at. “It’s hard to describe, [but] it’s just the coolest vibe in there.”
Following in the footsteps of other Syracuse musicians — like The Chainsmokers and, most notably, the indie-pop icon, Clairo — Fiske is not the first to put herself out into the music industry. “The music video of ‘4EVER’ by Clairo was filmed outside the hall that I’m sitting in right now,” Fiske laughs, waving to the window behind her. “Sometimes I’m listening to her music in the morning and I’m like ‘[Clairo] walked right here let’s talk about it.’”
As for the future, Fiske knows one thing: she’s going to be overwhelmed. “Especially wanting to be a musician, I feel like I’m always in a state of like ‘what is this idea of a career that I want to have?’” she said. “I feel less overwhelmed than I did before because I know I have so many people who are willing to connect me with people or support me.”
Fiske has an immeasurable amount of luck when it comes to connecting with the right people. Last summer while performing her single “Break” at an open mic performance at Berklee School of Music, Fiske struck a chord with music producer Lanham Scofield, who ultimately helped her produce her EP.
“I think a lot of what’s happened to me with music has all been by chance,” Fiske said.