Belles and Gals Mission Statement
It is evident that female artists do not receive a fair deal in the country music industry. The comparative lack of radio play for female artists in comparison to their male counterparts is well documented. This has a knock-on effect. Male artists find it easier to secure record deals, sell tickets, secure advertising deals and enjoy many other perks which all lead to successful careers in the country music industry. Some in the industry point to this success as justification for the lack of equality in radio play – we simply see a vicious circle which needs to be broken.
To this end, Belles and Gals has a clear aim. The site is dedicated to promotion and support of all female country music artists at all stages of their career.
How do we achieve this?
On the site we’ll feature reviews, interviews and a series of regular features. Belles and Gals is much more than just a website however. Our social media postings on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram each aim to offer something different, while endeavouring to promote all aspects of the genre.
Being based in the UK, Belles and Gals has a special place in our heart for the burgeoning UK scene. We devote a good percentage of the site to UK artists, as well as running a sponsorship scheme to highlight some of the best talent in the UK. This year, we’ve teamed with the incredible people at Inspire Music to promote live music in the UK – with the aim of creating live events offering the best possible experience for fans and artists alike.
Belles and Gals is nothing without our wonderful following, so interaction with them is key. We aim to offer a wide range of competitions for our dedicated supporters, and we’re always interested in hearing about your country music experiences, your favourite artists and those songs that mean something special. Together, we can really make a difference.
We’re proud to promote female country music and we look forward to the day when there is real equality within the genre. We won’t stop fighting until that is a reality.
The Belles and Gals Team
Nick Cantwell – Founder/Managing Director Hi, I’m Nick, I started Belles and Gals back in January 2016. I’ve been into country music for around 15 years and it would be fair to say that I listen to nothing else! Favorite artists? Too many to mention, but I have a real love for the burgeoning UK scene. (twitter.com/nickbelles_gals)
Liam Lewis – Director of Operations. Hey! I’m Liam. A Chemistry student from South Wales but now living in the midlands. I was first made aware of country through the likes of Carrie Underwood and Taylor Swift, but I’ve stuck around for the many awesome female artists and the rapidly growing live music scene in the UK. I’m excited to be able to share some of my views and to spread the word of some amazing new artists. (twitter.com/liam0324)
Astrid Mjøen – Social Promotions Co-ordinator Hi. I’m Astrid from Norway! I have a huge passion for country music, and I’m proud to have been a part of Team Belles and Gals since the beginning! Excited to handle social media, and to give you video shouts on Twitter daily! Can’t wait to see what’s next for the fastest growing country site in the UK! (twitter.com/astridhelenem84)
Lesley Hastings – Senior Reviewer “Howdy“ from rural Buckinghamshire where I live with my three rescue dogs Maisy, Woody and Jolene. I’m proud to have been a member of this fantastic team right from the start and am so thrilled about the site’s meteoric rise! Back in my teens it was Linda Ronstadt and Patst Cline who were my introduction to country music, and my favourite contemporary artists reflect my preference for classic country…….Brandy Clark, Ashley Mcbryde and Erin Enderlin being my current top three. I go to far too many concerts for the good of my bank balance but am particularly drawn to smaller, acoustic gigs especially a songwriters round. I’ll see some of you out on the road I’m sure (twitter.com/lesleyhastings)
Katie Louise Ingram – Live Promotions and Events Coordinator. Hey Y’all! I’m Katie a Northern lass from Manchester. I first discovered country music from the days of Taylor Swift and was a massive fan of Carrie Underwood during American Idol, my new fave now being Kelsea Ballerini. You will usually find me sitting somewhere earphones in blasting a country Spotify playlist getting lost in the track while sipping a Jack and Coke! I’m so excited to join the team at Belles and Gals and get to take my passion of country music that extra bit further and best of all getting to share it with everyone! (twitter.com/xkatie19x)
Nathalie Larsen – Senior Americas Correspondent. Hi y’all! I’m Nathalie, Danish Londoner loving everything to do with country music and the Deep South. I’d have sweet iced tea on a front porch over the hustle and bustle of London life any day! While I got into country through Shania Twain, Taylor Swift’s first album in 04 and Carrie Underwood winning American Idol in 05, these days you’ll find me reviewing and raving about everything from singer-songwriter Americana to southern country rock. (twitter.com/nathalieslarsen)
Mike Ross – USA Correspondent. I grew up on Loretta, June Carter, Bobbie Gentry, and more. Three years ago, my son got me hooked back into the country scene after a 30 year hiatus (thanks to the incredible Kacey Musgraves). I’m looking forward to sharing some up and coming Belles and Gals from the United States with all of you! (twitter.com/rossmike15)
Laura Klonowski – Senior Correspondent. Hi, I’m Laura I am a music journalist who who has a huge passion for country music. I am extremely excited to be a part of the growing Belles and Gals team and look forward to bringing you the latest country music news. (lauraklonowski.com)
Shannon Hynes – Live Review Correspondent. Hi Everyone, Shannon here! I’m a Welshie living in London, becoming more and more of a Londoner every day (even if I don’t like to admit it). I grew up on 90’s country and was always inspired by the songs the women like Shania and Dolly would release. These days I really do love most of what comes out the country genre, but my absolute fave has to be Ashley Monroe, the true songwriters are the ones that get me right in the heart. I’m so excited to join the Belles and Gals team and see what the future holds… let’s talk about country music all day, everyday! (twitter.com/s_hynesmusic)
Emily J Weall – Design and Promotion. Hi guys! I’m Emily, a blogger with a slight addiction to live music, cheeses and drinking tea! I first fell into country music when I was in high school and Taylor Swift had just released her second album and here I am, 9 years later! You can find me at the back of a gig with a gin in my hand or over on my lifestyle & music blog http://www.something-like-emily.com (twitter.com/emilyj_weall)
Megan Roberts – Senior Contributor and Live Interviews Coordinator. Hello There! I’m Meg, a Student and aspiring Journalist from East Anglia. In my spare time you can find me travelling, playing my Ukulele and writing for my blog. My love for music started when I was gifted Taylor Swift’s Fearless CD in 2009, and this is what kickstarted my enthusiasm for the Country genre at a young age. Almost a decade later I’m a huge fan of artists such as Catherine McGrath and Kelsea Ballerini. As a new member of the Belles and Gals Team, I think it’s extremely important to give growing artists a voice, and can’t wait to see new talent blossom onto a worldwide stage! (twitter.com/megwritesalot)
Craig Brooks – Contributing Author/Reviewer. Hi all I’m Craig. Almost all of my time not working is spent travelling around the UK watching live music (mostly country) and visiting Nashville several times a year. I’m extremely passionate about supporting independent artists and am excited for having a bigger platform to do this with Belles and Gals. Whether you’re artists or just music fans I look forward to meeting you all at a show (twitter.com/swindonforever)
Mel Osten – North West England Correspondent. Hey! I’m Mel…I live in Liverpool and am originally from Cumbria. I am a big lover and supporter of female country music, especially Kacey Musgraves, Ashley McBryde, Brandy Clark and Maren Morris …I started out on this scene in artist promotion and advertising and moved into artist management for a few female UK artists for a couple of years. Excited and proud to be a part of this fast growing team…let’s do this! 😊 (twitter.com/melosten)