Published on April 25th, 2023 | by Dr. Jerry Doby0
Meet Sabella “Bella” Reyes – Executive Producer/Songwriter and Maestro
This multi-hyphenate Executive Producer, Sabella “Bella” Reyes, is a passionate music enthusiast who strongly believes in the healing power of music. Having discovered the therapeutic power of music at a young age while caring for siblings living with intellectual disabilities, her love for music only grew stronger over time. After serving in the U.S. Navy for over a decade, she pursued a master’s degree and a clinical therapy license. She now guides independent artists in creating music with the help of expressive arts therapy techniques. Her approach instills a sense of responsibility in artists to be more mindful of the music they release, focusing on themes of self-empowerment and healing. With a gift of seeing music in the form of pictures, her ultimate goal is to create music that is not only enjoyable to listen to but also serves as a form of medicine.
The Hype Magazine got Bella to weigh in on a few things
Where does the musical story of Sabella “Bella” Reyes begin?
Raised in Broward County, FL, my journey with music began at a young age, using it as a tool to regulate the moods of two of my four siblings as they both live with intellectual disabilities. My love for music only grew stronger as I got older, and despite facing personal obstacles/setbacks, I never completely gave up on my passion.
My story starts in Upstate New York, and I was raised in a single-parent household. As the eldest, I quickly became the caregiver for my siblings that struggled with verbal expression due to their disabilities. It was here that I discovered the therapeutic power of music, using it to soothe and uplift my siblings’ moods. I would sing to my blind sister who lives with cerebral palsy, who was particularly sensitive to the frequency of R&B, Hip-Hop, and Jazz music. As my sister memorized songs over time, this method became less and less effective, so I began writing my own songs to keep her engaged. My brother, on the other hand, was blessed to have all of his senses so we used music to communicate secret conversations and emotions, leading us to write our own songs with encrypted messages. This was a great way for us to create a safe space for us to express ourselves without becoming targets of more abuse.
Was there a defining moment when you knew music was your path?
As I grew older, my love for music only grew stronger. I found the confidence to record my own music at the age of 16, but unfortunately, the opportunities presented to me did not allow for any creative control. At the time, I was only allowed to sing hooks for local rappers, and despite having a manager coordinating studio time and features for me, I felt limited in my artistic expression. Things took a turn for the worse when my manager assumed that my financial situation would lead me to exchange sexual favors for resources, causing me to end the partnership. It was yet another traumatic experience that made me question my future in the music industry. Because of this, I decided to put my musical talents on hold and joined the U.S. Navy to make a living for my siblings and I.
Thank you for your service to our country…can you tell us a bit about your transition back to civilian life?
After over 11 years of service, I was honorably discharged from the military and pursued a master’s degree in Social Work at the University of Southern California. My experiences inspired me to guide independent artists in creating music by use of expressive arts therapy techniques. And, as a clinical therapist I’ve learned how to coach people through breaking internal barriers that may be preventing them from tapping into their purpose. My gift of seeing music in the form of pictures is also an aid in my ability to assist artists in expressing their creativity.
Where do you draw your inspiration from? Are there any key figures you’ve studied?
As an Executive Producer, I draw inspiration from a wide range of artists and producers alike, including Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds, Daryl Simmons and Bryan-Michael Cox. The music I help create is a reflection of personal experiences, with themes of self-empowerment and healing. I specialize in assisting artists in connecting to their trauma while helping them find closure that can’t be provided from anyone else. This is important to me because I find that many independent artists just “put music out,” with no regard for the responsibility they accept while contributing to the R&B/Hip-Hop space. I believe my approach places a certain conviction inside the heart of the artists that forces them to be more mindful of the music they are releasing. I truly believe that music is medicine and should be acknowledged as such.
What is the most challenging thing you have overcome in your life?
Considering the fact that I was raised by music, it’s obvious that I’ve used it to overcome nearly every upsetting event that I endured. Everything except sexual abuse, that is. My experience with sexual abuse started at an early age, and there was no music available to help me process what was happening to me. To add to my confusion, everything that music had taught me about sex was beautiful and fulfilling but this wasn’t my reality. In my life, sex was often a weapon of choice used against me to humiliate and break me down as my perpetrators were insecure and threatened by me. Even as an adult in the military. This experience has been the most challenging thing I’ve had to overcome in my life because I had to conquer it without the help of music.
How would you describe your role in the industry?
I am an executive producer, certified recording engineer, and songwriter. I own a production company called Symphoni Music Group based in Houston, TX. I specifically offer executive production services (both music/film) to independent artists. As a certified audio engineer, I belong to a brilliant network of professionals which allows me to guarantee industry standard quality work, as well.
What inspires Sabella “Bella” Reyes most musically?
I am inspired most by lived experience. I believe without lived experience there is no music to write.
What do you want people to take away after listening to your music?
I help create music that brings issues resting in the listener’s subconscious to the front of their mind, causing the listener to process them so that they can make informed decisions moving forward. Examples of this would include participating in toxic relationships and/or self-destructive behaviors. Essentially, the listeners are always given perspective as their free will is being empowered.
Are any new projects coming out soon?
Yes! Symphoni Music Group executive produced two Christian Hip-Hop singles and a visual anticipated to be released this summer: “Had Enough,” by A-Dub White and Jeka Sole (single/visual) and “You Should Go,” by Symphoni Music Group ft. Kaio Blaze.
What is your greatest achievement as an Executive Producer?
As of yet, my greatest achievement as an executive producer would be having earned a certification in audio engineering at Avant Media Institute in Houston, TX. The program was 10 months long and it challenged me in ways I had never been before. The curriculum was rigorous and realistic, which prepared me for opportunities where I could be taken seriously as a professional. This commitment was absolutely life-changing.
As an Executive Producer, do you have a hand at the boards or who do you work with?
Although I do not produce my own beats, I work closely with a team of producers and engineers to bring my vision to life. These brilliant creatives include, but are not limited to The Kontrabandz, Maestro! the Great, James J., Dylan Graham, J. White, Avila, Tha Bureau, and Hitmen Productions.
Who is one artist you wish you could work with?
It’s incredibly difficult to name only one artist I’d wish to work with. If forced, I would say Masego.
Can you tell us more about any new music you have coming out? When is coming out? What is it about?
Symphoni Music Group executive produced two Christian Hip-Hop singles and a visual anticipated to be released this summer: “Had Enough,” by A-Dub White and Jeka Sole (single/visual) and “You Should Go,” by Symphoni Music Group ft. Kaio Blaze.
Both songs are blueprints for dealing with everyday issues in millennial, Christian romantic relationships by use of biblical principles. “Had Enough,” illustrates how Christian couples are to engage in conflict, and “You Should Go,” demonstrates how Christians can resist the temptation of partaking in infidelity.
What does a day inside the shoes of Sabella “Bella” Reyes look like?
A day in my shoes typically involves writing/ recording music in my project studio, attending meetings with my team, providing creative consultation to my clients, and practicing self-care through activities such as meditation in the form of prayer. When I’m not working on music, I enjoy spending time with my husband and exploring new places.
Anything else you want the audience to know about you?
One of my wildest dreams is to compose music for films. I am actively acquiring piano lessons to master the discipline of music theory for the purposes of music production and composition.
Connect with Sabella “Bella” Reyes
All Photos Courtesy of Rahn The Don