Ever since he was little, Aaron Bell, senior in marketing, has kept a journal in which he records day-to-day events and feelings.
“I used to just mess around with friends, making up songs, and then I realized I actually enjoyed doing that,” he said.
Taking the matter seriously, Bell fully immersed himself in his work, producing his own music and making mixtapes.
“I am very compassionate about my music,” he said. “I love it.”
Although there is nothing wrong with talking to a person, he said, writing his emotions down is what makes him feel better. His music and song writing is his way of expressing himself.
Bell wanted to emphasize he writes all of his lyrics. He said he writes about real events; every song has autobiographical elements.
“See, I don’t rap about selling drugs or pushing weights,” he said. “Just things that have happened to me in my life or things I have done.”
The biggest influence on his music is the fact he was raised by his grandparents. Since the fourth grade, Bell has lived with his mother’s parents, moving from city to city.
“I think of them as my parents; they are pretty hip,” he said. “Living with them all my life has made me a tougher person and grow up faster by not having my biological parents.”
Despite those circumstances, Bell’s followers have motivated him to keep grinding and keep working hard. He received more than 77,000 hits in the last month.
Bell said he knows he will always have “haters,” but he would still like feedback and positive criticism. His music is played on The Wildcat 91.9 radio station. It can also be downloaded at TheAaronBell.com, or listened to at YouTube.com/ltdProductionsMusic.
“I have people from all over the United States adding me on Facebook[.com], saying they like my music,” Bell said. “I encourage people to listen to my mixed tape and tell me what they think, whether they like it or not.”
Bell said getting his degree is his No. 1 priority, but his family and his friends encourage him to chase his dreams.
“My friends are really supportive and let me know when they’re not feeling a song,” he said.
Bell said his girlfriend is his biggest supporter. The couple has dated for half of the three years Bell has rapped.
Bell spends eight to 10 hours a day in the Media Development Center at Hale Library. Bell listens to instruments first, then writes lyrics to whichever tune grabs his attention to show how that beat made him feel.
Bell said he is not only doing this for himself but for Kansas and the Midwest.
“There is lots of great talent, but we get looked down on because it’s all about the Dirty South, West Coast or East Coast,” he said. “I really feel like the world needs to know about the Midwest.”
Every time people say they like his music and then ask where he is from, Bell said they just “kind of switch it up” on him.
“Man, ‘The Wizard of Oz’ really killed it for us,” he said. “The same things go down in the streets of Kansas City as New York City.”
Bell said all of these components and obstacles, like having all his equipment stolen, which he bought the summer before his freshman year of college, drive him.
“With almost 40,000 views, it is very likely that Aaron will soon be a force to be reckoned with in the rap game,” said Alex McCabe, junior in social sciences and manager of Bell’s website and YouTube.com account.
Bell is dropping his fourth mixtape, titled, “New Mind State” tomorrow. It has 17 tracks, 13 of which he sings solo. The rest feature artists like Donovan Woods, Quick Ray, Supa Sauce, Tekay and Jessica Furney.
“I really liked working with Aaron Bell because he is very passionate about his music and challenged me when it came to my writing abilities,” Woods said.
Woods, who started singing at age 2, performed in K-State Idol this year. Bell met Woods at Blue Apollo, a competition in which Woods won $1,000.
“I heard Donovan sing in the studio, but I didn’t know he could sing like that,” Bell said.
Bell asked Woods to come to the studio to see if he was feeling any of the instrumentals he had laid down. Woods said it just clicked. The two worked together on “How We Do It” and “One and Only,” which are both featured as main singles on “New Mind State.”
Bell said he will distribute copies of his mixtape on campus next week.