Bel Holiday Conjures Up Healing Incantation With “Mama Mountains”

Bel Holiday needed to heal. While “dealing with insufferable loss and depression for ages,” the singer-songwriter hopped on a plane bound for Arizona, hoping to find solace within its rugged landscape. She soon “not only fell in love with, but felt an indescribably spiritual shift in self from hiking,” she says. “All motivation had magically returned, and for once, I had faith in my healing.”

However, that energy dissipated as quickly as it had come. Her new song “Mama Mountains,” featuring guitarist Mamoon, reads as a desperate “cry for help directed towards the mountains I hiked,” she tells Audiofemme. Its bluesy undercurrent gives Holiday ample room to showcase her undeniable vocal tone – honed over years spent performing in theatre – while carving out an exciting new musical path for herself. “In this song, I try to summon what I describe as ‘Mama Mountains,’ so that ‘she’ may heal me from my suffering as ‘she’ had seemed to before,” Holiday explains.

“Went to Mama Mountains/She said, ‘Take care of the limbs that you carry’/Took a mirror to glass lungs and told me that the life I been leading is scary,” Holiday sings. Every fear and ounce of pain guides her vocal acrobatics, often flying loose and wild. With producer Thalo, Holiday sculpts out a mesmerizing incantation about healing, self-awareness, and intense connection to nature.

“The [creative] process honestly involved bouncing files back and forth more than anything,” says Holiday. “Between this and being just kids, the record is definitely a bit dirty, but I see that as authentic in showcasing where I’m at as an artist and aspiring producer, as well as where I’d like to go.”

Bel Holiday · Mama Mountains (Featuring Mamoon)

“Mama Mountains” serves as the first single to a new EP called Mess of a Mind, expected February 12. It’s a quick follow-up to Holiday’s Watermelon EP, released in August 2020. With “Mama Mountains,” the Fort Lee-based musician draws upon such influences as Hiatus Kaiyote and early (specifically +-era) Ed Sheeran, as well as multi-instrumentalist Becca Stevens. Holiday actually took a songwriting lesson with Stevens, a process in which “she provided thinking exercises and meditations that inspired me to finish the song.”

“I write at my best when I least expect it,” Holiday adds. “I’ve been dealing with some awful [writer’s] block lately, but just the other night I had a epiphany: I realized that the more I try and tell myself what to write about or how I should be writing before I get going, the less material I am able to actually come up with.”

The bridge settles upon a moment of enlightenment, and Holiday appears to regain, at least marginally, a sense of purpose and calm. “Weighted blankets heavier than if I tied you to my back,” she sings. “But in the absence of sound, I smell your dry air and I know that Mama Mountains is still there…”

While the song is explicitly directed to a mountain, Holiday hopes the listener can at least “hear my raw passion and lust for musical chaos, as this is probably the song that encompasses me best out of all that I’ve recorded thus far,” she says. “I also would really like this song to become a go-to for hippie dancing. I haven’t written super percussive, modern music like this for release before, but I would like to write more, as the thought of people letting loose and immersing themselves in my music through dance fills me with so much joy and pride.”

Follow Bel Holiday on Twitter and Instagram for ongoing updates.

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