Belle Perez goes with her instincts
Celebrating 20 years on stage is by no means a reason to reminisce about the past – at least not for Belle Perez. She has a bright future ahead of her. Full of fresh challenges, new projects and stages. Maria Isabel Pérez Cerezo (1976) has never felt freer in the choices she makes – personally and artistically.
“Show business made me who I am today. I have never felt better. The pieces all fit together. And I am bold enough to undertake new things and tackle different music styles. I discovered a whole new ‘me’ on stage!” The road to success was paved with obstacles. As the daughter of Spanish parents, Belle grew up in an overprotective environment in the small village Hamont-Achel. She attended a catholic school run by nuns. She was a timid child caught between two cultures. And she had to stand up for herself and make her voice heard in show business.
Today, her Spanish roots are manifestly present in her music and in her soul. She still holds the Spanish nationality. “Spain is simply in my veins. It’s in my temper, as well as in my longing for tranquillity, simplicity and silence”, she once said about that. She took her first steps in music as a child; singing in flamenco bands and participating in talent hunt shows. Her breakthrough came in 2000, when she participated in Eurosong – the Belgian pre-selection for the Eurovision contest – with the song called ‘Hello World’. Even though she didn’t partake in Eurovision, she scored one commercial hit after another in Belgium. She even signed a recording contract in the US and toured around North and South America.
Since co-hosting the ‘Tros Muziekfeest’ in the Netherlands along Jan Smit in 2004, she has a large fan base there as well. She played at the Ahoy and at the Heineken Music Hall. But her biggest breakthrough came with her third album ‘Baila Perez’. A clever switch from pop to Latin – a music style she was made for. It felt like coming home – finally. Huge hits such as ‘Que viva la vida’, ‘Enamorada’, and ‘Ave Maria’ are engraved in our collective musical memories. And since 2007, Belle also regularly performs in theatres. All of these experiences contributed to her actual self: a confident singer who relies on her gut feeling. The same goes for her songs: she only makes records that she sincerely believes in. Belle Perez goes her own way, pursuing her dreams. After fifteen years on stage, she is happier than ever. In the end, it all comes down to love. “Without love, nothing really matters.”