Slideshow, Interview: Singer/Songwriter Lara Bell in Chicagoland

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Lara Bell One

HUNTLEY, Ill. – Lara Bell has been performing in various locations in Chicagoland since she was 16 years old, maintaining her status as an up-and-coming singer/songwriter, and she recently captivated audiences at shows in West Dundee and Huntley, Illinois, with her expressive stage presence and impressive musical talents.

Hailing from Northern Illinois and raised with country roots, Lara’s standout quality is her ability to adapt to various genres, making her shows diverse and captivating for audiences. Her classical piano, guitar, and ukulele skills have contributed to her musical diversity, and her voice has been compared to the likes of Jewel, Miranda Lambert, and Dolly Parton, among others. What sets Lara apart from other rising artists is her background in musical theater, which shines through when she’s performing live. Her recent performances have garnered positive reviews from audiences who praise her captivating presence and unique talent.

In addition to her music career, Lara is also a professional actress and EMC cardholder in the Chicago area. Despite her busy schedule, Lara is focused on her music career in 2023 and has big plans to perform, write, and travel to new venues. She has recently performed at RocHaus (West Dundee, Illinois) with her dynamic band and as a solo artist at Sew Hop’d brewery (Huntley, Illinois), where she wowed audiences with her original melodies and classic covers. Her ability to connect with audiences and pull at their heartstrings is what makes her a special act.

Following Bell’s recent performance in Huntley, music reporter and photographer Jeff “Doc” Doles of had the opportunity to interview Lara Bell and offers a slideshow of her appearance. Can you share with us any new music that you’ve been working on lately? Additionally, what is your process like when it comes to writing songs?

Lara Bell: I am working on recording an acoustic EP to be released this summer. I’ve been sharing a lot more original songs at solo shows this year, and I’m excited to get them recorded and out into the world. Lately I’ve been writing a lot of western inspired heartbreak songs, so I hope everyone’s ready to have their cowboy heart strings tugged at. [laughs]

When it comes to my writing process, I typically just sit down with my guitar and start strumming random chords, then come up with an idea and story … after that, the lyrics flow from there. Sometimes if I get bursts of inspiration I’ll write it down in my notes app, because even if I say I’ll remember it, I definitely won’t. As someone with acting experience, do you feel that it positively impacts or strengthens your on-stage performance?

Bell: Yes it does. It helps with stage presence and confidence when putting on a good show as a performer. It helps me connect with my audience and band members, and I love being expressive onstage. What do you enjoy most about performing live, and could you share some of your favorite local venues with us?

Bell: My absolute favorite feeling in the world is being onstage, feeling the beam of lights shining on me, with my hair is a mess and sweating from jumping around the stage. But then I look out into a sea of people cheering and I hear them singing the words to the songs and it makes it all worth it!

It’s a remarkable feeling and always makes me feel so blessed to be able to get to do what I love and to have the support from so many wonderful folks who come out to see us play. It’s so hard to pick because I love everywhere we play, but some of my favorite local venues have to be The Vixen, The RocHaus, The Lake Geneva House of Music, Niko’s Red Mill Tavern, Scorched Earth Brewery, and of course Sew Hop’d! Are you scheduled to perform anywhere this summer? If so, where can fans expect to catch you?

Bell: Yes! We have a big summer calendar coming out soon to the Facebook Page (Lara Bell Music) and website (click link below) definitely keep an eye out over the next few weeks! Saturday, May 13th we will be at Lake Geneva’s Bacon Fest with the full band from 2:30-3:30pm. Do you have any big upcoming plans to take your music on the road or to reach a larger audience?

Bell: Yes! My band and I will be heading to Nashville this September for the first time. We hope to get a show or two booked and I would love to play a writers round at one of the iconic locations. We’ll take it from there. Since you recently played at a the Sew Hop’d Brewery, do you have a favorite beverage there, and a local food truck is your go-to at that venue?

Bell: Ironically, I’m not a huge beer drinker, but I do love the rosé cider Sew Hop’d offers, and of course my buddy Pino Farina’s “Take the Stage IPA.” As far as food trucks, El Chiro Street Tacos are my favorite. Finally, Is there anyone you would like to acknowledge or thank for your success in music so far, and are there any artists you would like to collaborate with in the future?

Bell: I definitely have to thank my band for being by my side the last two years, and putting in so much work to get to where we are today, along with my parents who have supported me and always made music a priority growing up. From dance classes, piano lessons, rehearsals for the high school musical, and much more, I wouldn’t be where I am without them. My dad acts as our sound manager and videographer/photographer, so this process would definitely not be as smooth if he wasn’t a part of it. It’s also something we get to share together, which is really awesome.

In regards to a future collaboration, I would love to sing with new country artist Megan Maroney. I feel like our voices would blend so well together. I would also love to get a chance to write a song with Lainey Wilson, her story is a big inspiration to me and it’s so cool to see all her hard work pay off. I’ve seen her twice now and she’s such a great performer. Sitting down and strumming with Kelsea Ballerini would also be surreal.

Click “Next” and “Previous” to scan through the Michigan Rattlers slideshow or jump directly to individual photos with the captioned links below. All photos © Jeff “Doc” Doles.

  1. LARABELL1: Lara Bell One
  2. LARABELL2: Lara Bell Two
  3. LARABELL3: Lara Bell Three
  4. LARABELL4: Lara Bell Four
  5. LARABELL5: Lara Bell Five
  6. LARABELL6: Lara Bell Six
  7. LARABELL7: Lara Bell Seven
  8. LARABELL8: Lara Bell Eight
  9. LARABELL9: Lara Bell Nine

For more information about Lara Bell, including upcoming concerts dates and connections to her social media, click

Interview by: Jeff Doles
Published by: Patrick McDonald, Editor,

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