Bella Taylor Smith turns from television stardom to her first love
‘The Voice’ winner on why she is focusing on Christian music
Bella Taylor Smith has enjoyed many professional and personal highlights in the two years since she won the popular TV singing competition The Voice Australia and was thrust onto the stage of Australian secular music.
She toured nationally three times – with her coach, Guy Sebastian, with American a cappella group, Pentatonix and headlined her own show. Last year, she was nominated for her first ARIA Award (Michael Gudisnki Breakthrough Artist). She also got married and continued releasing new music.
“I’ve learned so much and had so much fun. I never expected to be in the secular music industry. It’s so funny, you just keep walking and God just opens doors,” she tells Eternity.
Despite her success in the pop industry, singing worship music remains Bella’s biggest passion. This may have something to do with her first true musical experience being in worship at a local youth group.
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“God really did save my life. I didn’t have much or anything beforehand. Finding my faith, finding church and community fully saved me.” – Bella Taylor Smith
“I didn’t grow up in a Christian household. When I was 15 years old, I got invited to a youth group and I got saved during worship. That was the first time I realised that I have this voice, and I have it for a reason,” she says.
She attended church for a year before making a personal decision to follow Christ at a youth camp while singing a song that declared the truth of Jesus and what he came to do. “I put my hand up and started worshipping and that was the moment that I decided to claim that I was a Christian,” she shares.
“God really did save my life. I didn’t have much or anything beforehand. My home life and upbringing were quite challenging in some areas. Finding my faith and finding church and community, having that support, fully saved me, fully changed my life.”
As soon as Bella came to Christ, she understood for the first time why God had made her the way she was, with her particular thoughts and vocal abilities. “As soon as I got saved, it was like everything made sense for me,” she says.
As doors have progressively opened, they have brought her back to her first love: worship music. “God has been so kind in bringing this beautiful full-circle moment where I can be more overt in my faith and allow that to bleed more into my music.”
“When I get to lead worship, I feel like I’m standing right on the centre of the purpose and the call of God for my life.”
After walking the line between inspirational Christian music and pop music, she released a single, ‘Small Things’, which represents her first step into the Christian music space as a recording artist. “That space is where I’m intending to go and I’m very excited about that,” she says.
The song is a rousing ballad with piano and strings accompaniment written by Bella. “When life is crazy and we’ve got a million things going on we can sometimes lose sight of the small things, the little nuggets of kindness and faithfulness from God,” she explains. “I wrote the song as an encouragement to myself and others that no matter what’s happening, we can take faith from those little moments. Everything will be okay. There’s good coming and there’s good in the little moments,” says Bella.
Bella admits she only ever wanted to work in a ministry context and never expected to work in the secular music industry. “When I get to lead worship, I feel like I’m standing right on the centre of the purpose and the call of God for my life,” she says.
“In that communion with God, I feel unbelievably grateful that God gave me the gift that he did because I wouldn’t have had anything else. I didn’t have the set up to go to uni or anything like that,” she says.
“I just think, why waste time? Who am I to not have the same faith for a normal Sunday or worship set as we do for a big conference or youth camp?”
As she has led in worship, her experience of intimacy with God has been refined. “As a worship leader, I’m inviting people to join with me in communion with God. That invitation almost requires an authority, and I feel like God has gifted me in that space to be obedient and aware of what’s happening in the room,” says Bella.
“I just think, why waste time? Who am I to not have the same faith for a normal Sunday or worship set as we do for a big conference or youth camp? Every time I lead, I greatly believe that my faith and expectation is what God meets. My worship is also honouring God in the way that I speak to another person and the way I do everyday things.”
“My tours are uplifting and a safe place for kids and people of all ages.”
In late October, Bella and her husband, Josh Cole, go on tour in Melbourne, Brisbane, Avoca Beach, Sydney and Adelaide. They are committed to creating an environment that is friendly to families, teenagers and young adults. “My tours are uplifting and a safe place for kids and people of all ages,” she says. “I’m excited to meet everyone. I enjoy getting to meet people after the shows and getting photos and saying hello to all the people who have supported me.”
She’ll be sharing unreleased new music and more Christian-inspired music. She’ll also perform all the covers that she sang on The Voice and some previously released music.
From next year, Bella and Josh will step into a new adventure as they relocate to Nashville, Tennessee, which is the epicentre of the US Christian recording industry. They are excited to continue their journey of producing Christian and pop music.
Bella says: “No matter how you get there, God has an intention and a purpose for each of us. He puts desires in our heart for a reason. There’s an aligning that happens when our faith and expectation and God’s heart for us collide.”