Ever since she was ten years old, Heather Bodell knew that she wanted to be a musician. Now at 20 and with two already-released CDs under her belt, Bodell shows no signs of slowing down any time soon.
Bodell was born and raised in the town of Monroe, Michigan. Despite the fact that music does not run in Bodell’s family, she decided that making music was what she wanted to do.
“I have always loved music. I have always been interested in songwriting, and I guess I always had the need to create something. At the time, music seemed like the best outlet for my creative expression,” she said.
At the tender age of ten, young Bodell picked up a guitar for the first time and has not let it go since. She has also acquired the skill of playing the piano by ear, and although she does not consider herself well-versed in other instruments, has the ability to pick up just about any musical device and play it well.
When she was 11 years old, Bodell began performing live at an intimate coffee shop in downtown Monroe called Jenny Vine’s. Completely infatuated by playing for a live audience, Bodell sang at Jenny Vine’s just about every weekend until it closed down when she was 17. While she was disappointed that her favorite venue was no longer in business, the closing in no way hindered Bodell’s desire to continue performing. Singing before a live audience was a thrill she was not yet ready to let go.
Even today, Bodell considers performing her favorite part of being a musician. She explained that it gives her “an amazing, intimate feeling: being on stage is the best feeling in the world … people see a side of me that they don’t see any other time because I get completely consumed in the music.”
Bodell has performed at many Ann Arbor hotspots including The Ark and The Crazy Wisdom Tearoom. She even opened for Michelle Branch at the Blind Pig in October 2001. Additionally, Bodell has opened for other established music acts including Jewel’s former guitarist, Steve Poltz at The Cellar in Monroe, and Bliss 66 at the former Croakie’s Island, also located in Monroe.
For those who are unable to see Bodell in person, she has two albums currently released and is hard at work on a third one. Her self-titled debut showcases Bodell’s self-proclaimed acoustic rock style, as well as her lyrical talent in writing about topics dealing with hardships she has endured, to relationships in her life.
On her second album, entitled “Live,” the multitalented Bodell shows off yet another skill. Not only did she do all of the recording herself, but “Live” is a purely improvisational work.
“The second CD was written while recorded … sometimes the only way I can write songs in on the spot, so I just sat down in front of the mic and hit record and just sang for a few hours,” Bodell said.
Bodell’s not-yet-titled third release promises to be a bit different from what fans are already used to.
“I’ve grown a lot as a musician and songwriter … my music has matured quite a bit in all aspects … I’ve been exposed to more music, which has helped me to develop more of a unique and original sound,” she said.
While many compare her smooth, passionate vocals to those of Tori Amos, Bodell cites artists such as Ani DiFranco, Tegan and Sara, and Elliott Smith as musical influences. Beyond that, she is just trying to successfully create her own sound — separate from anything else in the music world. It’s a difficult feat, but Bodell is up to the challenge.
Now at 20 years old, Bodell has been involved in a number of undertakings to make the rest of us feel lazy. In addition to recording her album, Bodell is currently posing as music supervisor for an upcoming movie being shot in Michigan. She is also a full time art student, concentrating in digital media.
It would make sense then that Bodell is the mind behind her website, www.heatherbodell.com. The website has been up and running for five years now, and according to Bodell, has been an incredibly useful tool.
“I’ve gotten a lot of exposure because of it. I’ve sold CDs to fans in Australia and Europe … It’s been a great way to get my music out there internationally,” she said.
As for any wannabe musicians, Bodell has some encouraging words. “I would just advise any musician to never stop playing … and to push themselves to play live, no matter how shy they may be. Playing live is what really inspired me to continue writing.” Without a doubt, this is not the last we have heard from Heather Bodell.