EVAN NICOLE BELL transcends blues and soul on debut single "Runaway Girl"

Article Contributed by Jason Schneide… | Published on Sunday, June 16, 2024

Those who are intimately involved in the blues music scene have already been captivated by Evan Nicole Bell’s debut EP Runaway Girl, released independently at the start of 2024. But even with this brief taste of her music, it’s clear that the Baltimore-based singer, songwriter, guitarist and producer can’t be confined to a single genre.

Yes, Runaway Girl kicks off with an unbridled version of the Muddy Waters classic “Catfish Blues,” on which Bell shows off her blazing guitar chops. But it's on Runaway Girl’s title track -- available today in a fresh mix on all digital platforms -- that her own songwriting skills are on full display, establishing a pop-soul foundation to allow her powerful, four-octave mezzo-soprano voice to take flight.

It was only a year or so ago that Bell’s social media videos showing her playing songs by other blues and rock heroes such as Albert King, Prince, Jimi Hendrix and Sister Rosetta Tharpe began going viral, leading outlets like Blues In Britain Magazine to praise her melodic vocal style and instrumental prowess. SoulTracks.com went further, writing, “[Evan] mines and embraces the rich history of soul, blues and Americana while at the same time making it decidedly her own.” Her profile was likewise enhanced through a half-hour live session recorded for Baltimore’s NPR affiliate WTMD that included a cover of Tracy Chapman’s “Gimme One Reason.”

That initial praise helped kick open the door for Bell to unleash her creative energy, and her current shows with her six-piece band are not to be missed. Her songs have now been spun on over 100 international radio stations, and she’s even caught the attention of blues-rock maestro Joe Bonamassa, who has added her tracks to his personally curated Spotify playlists.

Evan’s passion for music began in adolescence through studying piano, finger-style acoustic guitar and classical guitar. But that passion skyrocketed in 2018 when her mother gifted her a new Les Paul, which she promptly nicknamed Stormy, and she immersed herself in music theory and the blues—eventually leaving her job as an educator to pursue music full time.

Beyond her musical endeavours, Bell is an award-winning documentary photographer with two solo exhibitions of her work to her credit. She has a B.A. from Duke University and a graduate certificate from the University of California, Berkeley Goldman School of Public Policy. Her archived art portfolio can be viewed at evannicolebell.art.

With her full-length debut album in the works, Evan Nicole Bell is poised to fulfil the promise that Runaway Girl has made. Whether you call her music blues, soul, r&b, or some combination of all three, Evan Nicole Bell’s sound will make an immediate and unforgettable impact.