Bekah Marie Knott

by Corey O'Flanagan

The classically trained singer-songwriter on singing, teaching (even screamo) and a life of music.

Bekah Marie Knott talks about growing up in the South and how music touches every part of her life. From her early days singing in church, to a memorable concert that struck a chord and paved the way for a life of music, Bekah Marie is the story of thousands. A vocal teacher who is playing in a couple different bands around Georgia, she isn't afraid to talk about her battles with mental health and why she chooses rock and roll over opera.

Her Southern charm and powerful voice shine through it all as she performs her new song, "Bliss," live on the show. Printed excerpts are below.


Background

I'm from a little town in Georgia called Carrollton. I've always been in music and anytime I've veered out of it, it's been disastrous. My mom was the musician, she used to play trumpet and my dad is tone deaf, but my family jokes that I came out singing and just have been since I was young. I got my first break there in church, where I sang and got my first big solo. That's about as Southern as it gets.


Playing different instruments

I tried marching and playing brass and was absolutely awful. As a singer, the way you breathe and the way you hold the air in your throat with brass is really painful. I've played piano since I was a kid, but I also play a little guitar, ukulele, mandolin, bass, and can keep up a beat on the drums. It's funny how much I rely on other people with how much I could do myself.


Battle for confidence

I think confidence is just one of those things as humans, we are all going to be battling throughout life as it comes and goes. For those who do have confidence, it comes of great despair and great loss and lots of moments without that confidence, and I think that is what can be a building block.

Even as a professional singer sometimes I can get nervous for certain gigs. Big band gigs are my favorite because you're sharing the stage and sharing the pressure, but gigs where it's just me and my guitar, I feel that nervousness more because naturally I'm a frontman and a singer, not a guitarist. I do think that confidence is tied in with your familiarity with the music, your previous experience performing that particular music, and the energy of the crowd.


Quarantine and mental health

It's been so strange being in quarantine. As a performer it's been bizarre not having a live audience to feed off of energy wise, and that's been something that was so apparent when I first went out performing again.

Saying that, I do believe that this whole quarantine thing has both its benefits and its problems. I have bipolar 1 and I was not stable at the beginning of quarantine. At the time of quarantine, I was living at home with my boyfriend of the time, and during that time I had been riding the road of hope, doing a lot of self-healing, practicing yoga, exercising, and this helped stabilize me through my mental health issues.

Usually, if you've had a bad day you can go and see your friends after and you feel each others' vibes and you all want to have a good time, but we didn't have that. It has been a journey but I do think we can all value just how important having some alone time is now. There's a key element to being alone, because that's when all the practice, and the songs, and all the beauty happens because you're taking a step back from the bustle.


Writing the song "Bliss"

Once quarantine had started, I realized I had to write about this because quarantine "was trash" and singing about all the stuff I was stuck doing was how my new song started off. But with those people suffering from mental health and still going through a hard time in mind, I wanted to give them a beacon of hope and uplift them.


Catching the buzz

I come from a very conservative, Christian family and I've always been the "black sheep" of my family. Fall Out Boy were playing in Atlanta, and all my friends wanted to go and see them, but I wanted to go and see From First To Last.

My mom was blown away, as they were shooting out F bombs. After I had the crotch of my pants ripped out after dancing in the crowd, she wanted to go home. It was one of those moments I can't forget because every single band I saw that night had a raw energy of community and also of individuality that made it impossible not to look away. And it's after that where I sat there thinking, I want to do something like this. This is their life, they get to do this every night.


Progressing into teaching

After that I started dabbling in everything - I even did screamo. I still teach my students some of the screamo techniques I learned from Slipknot's coach, Melissa Cross. It can really damage your voice so her advice was just invaluable.

I also trained classically for five years at college and sang opera. In my post-grad I even went to France working with people who were trying out for The Met. It was beautiful to be surrounded by these amazing voices, but I just wanted to do rock and roll.

Teaching kicks my ass. You come across these amazing kids who are so young and have so much skill, sometimes their talent completely floors you. I have to work really hard to keep practicing to make sure I'm keeping up with them.

September 4, 2020
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Comments: 1

  • Jean from Carrollton Absolutely love to listen to this young lady sing and perform.
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