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Houston, Texas, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2014 | SELF

Houston, Texas, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2014
Band R&B Soul




"Houston's Best Albums of 2013"

Joey Guerra

I'm not sure why I was so late to this debut EP from Bel-Ami, easily one of the city's best soul singers. It evokes instant emotion, warm and soothing and vibrant, accented with rock flourishes. This is a first-rate collection, vocally and production-wise, from stirring kickoff track "Borders" through pleading closer "Purple." Bel-Ami's voice demands attention. He's a bit like John Legend minus the sleepy haze. Definitely a great thing. - Houston Chronicle


Interview by Lance Scott Walker

Young voices come along sometimes with the weight of an old soul. Bel-Ami is one of those voices, even if you would call his music contemporary soul.

What were you hearing when you were growing up that sent you in this direction musically?
You know, nothing really sent me in this direction musically. There were a few influences that really played a big part I guess in how I sound harmony-wise. I was really big into Boyz II Men, Dru Hill, K-Ci & JoJo … the groups, man. We had great groups back in the day. And it’s kinda been lacking lately just as our society has moved towards highlighting the individual. But yeah, I was really big into those groups. Boyz II Men was one of my favorites.

When did you start actually making music, singing and writing?
I wrote my first song in eighth grade and never performed it, never played it, never sung it. To this day I haven’t.

Songs are like pancakes — you’re supposed to throw out the first one.
There you go! But, yeah, that kinda just set the wheels in motion, and even then I kinda protected it as something very personal, and not necessarily like I put it in the “hobby” category, but it was something that I did just for myself. It was a way of understanding me and having my own time with me. The first thing I wrote was a song, and then I started writing poetry. One uncle of mine wrote a lot of poetry and one of my other uncles did music, so they kind of inspired me. You know, they let me know it was okay. It was cool.

To express yourself.
Right, and like I said, I’ve always been a fan of music, and I’ve always sung somewhere or did something with a group. My first choral experience was at church, and then at Bellaire when I was in high school I sang in the chorus. I’ve really been inspired by classical music as well. That’s why I still do the chorus thing now.

Good practice, right?
Yeah — I sing with the Houston Symphony Chorus. You know what I like, man? It keeps me… it keeps me balanced. It doesn’t let me get too far into this contemporary thing, where I lose a lot of the roots of what makes Western music what it is now. You gotta grow, you gotta learn something, so I put myself in that situation to remind myself that there’s a lot that I need to work on.

I’d cut it here.
How did you get your band together? Do you play with the same people all the time or do they rotate in and out?
I’ve recently been trying to stick to two units — one for acoustic-type sets and the other for my full main stage setups. I like them both for different reasons. The full-fledge setup allows me to really go into the place of like rock. I like the feel of the guitar — and electric guitar, especially if you can add some, like some overdrive to it and really just set its tone to your music. The juxtaposition of those kinds of sounds set against my melodies that I implement, it really makes for a different experience. But my acoustic setup I like as well, because in that I have an acoustic guitar, a cello and a cajon. So visually, it brings something different. Most people don’t see a person come out with a cellist. Or a cajon — people are like, “What is that little box thing?” But you know, I got some great musicians behind me, and that gives me a chance to be a little bit more personal, because usually the environments that I’m performing in with that setup are smaller venues and there’s a lot more freedom there.

Why did you choose Bel-Ami over Amir Bellamy? Amir Bellamy is a great name!
Amir Bellamy is a great name. Bel-Ami came from — years ago my aunt gave me… I don’t know if it was a Christmas card or a shirt or something… it had Bellamy spelled a bunch of different ways, in different languages. And I took French in middle school, and as you start to understand history, and how names change, and how names are given, I kinda broke it down and I was like, “Oh, bel-ami, that’s beautiful friend.” And I think that encompasses everything that I believe in as a follower of Christ. I believe that God loves you, and that you should love your fellow man the way that God loves you, and that’s that unconditional agape love that… that love goes beyond anything, all boundaries. So I see that as being a beautiful friend. And so in my music, if I can relate a message that you feel, that you understand that you can somehow use in your life, then I’m being bel-ami to you. - 002 Magazine

"Searching For A Real Sound"

Danielle Ewing

May 6, 2010

Amir "Bel-Ami" Bellamy was passionate about music itself and passionate about being an artist, but not passionate about sending a specific message to people. The poor stewardship of his passion led to him a place where his message was mundane, his sound unauthentic, and his meaning unclear. His true heart wasn't heard because his passion was displaced. Because his passion was in pieces here and there and not focused, people were not as inspired as they could have been, in ways that they should have been.

Frustrated, he realized that his gift and his personal choices were codependent upon each other. His music lacked the resonating, simple purity of his musical mentors because his choices were not driven by a passion for absolute purity. He took a risk and changed his entire lifestyle. Choosing a lifestyle of celibacy, he became passionate about purity because his ability to create beautiful music depended on it.

Asking Amir questions was an interesting experience. He would listen to the question, and relax with it for a while. His silence wasn't uncomfortable, it was intentional. This dude refuses to waste a word. Listening to his music, I hear his passion to simply and beautifully communicate with his listener and his refusal to waste a note, a single musical moment. I hear his pure passion placed in his music. From his passion, I hear his message. But don't take my word for it. You be the judge. Check out a few lyrics from his latest, "Something Real."

Acknowledging there is no formidable substitute/
I'm searching for a real chance with you/
Extra-ordinary, atypical, something real, more real than physical/

Amir's passion and discipline produces delicious fruit: music that moves, inspires and delights. He's an example of what it means to produce a valuable product from genuine experience, instead of a contrived creation based on what is expected and has already been done.

Bel-Ami is an artist featured in the Influent Streams Music Project. You can experience his passion for music at the "Dancin' in the Street: Motown and More Revue" at the Miller Outdoor Theatre, May 27-30. For more information, go to Miller Door Theater. - AM Magazine


Know U - EP
1. Borders
2. Faded
3. Know U
4. Plead
5. Purple



Houston born artist, Bel-Ami, has been on a mission to change the world of music as only he can. His passion pours through his music and gives hope to a people seeking change. In a day where frivilous R&B/Pop tunes have taken over the airwaves, he remains true to his SOLE mission.

" I want to make music that extends from SOUL to SOLE." He says. "I want people to feel my message in their SOUL and be moved to live it through the SOLE's of their feet. My belief is that if people live the lives they know they are truly intended to live, they will influence change in others, and ultimately change the world."

Bel-Ami attributes an intimate knowledge of self as the reason he is able to bear his SOUL so effortlessly every time he takes the stage. His lyrics are intentional and when coupled with such captivating harmonies amd melodies create an unforgettable listening experience, But most importantly, the emotion behind it all is real.

"Soul lives! Its the soundtrack of our families, our relationships, and our lives." -Bel-Ami

SOUL lives in the music of Bel-Ami, and is evidenced by the feelings it evokes. Whether its the musical arrangement, thought provoking lyrics, or wonderfully resonant harmonies that speak to you, one thing remains true throughout. Bel-Ami recognizes the power of music, and ensures that his represents all that is beautiful about life's experiences.

Band Members