FEATURE: Bella Union: Twenty Years of Music Gold



Bella Union:



Twenty Years of Music Gold


I was, as I do most days, listening to BBC Radio 6 Music today and…

IN THIS PHOTO: Bella Union head, Simon Raymonde

heard an interview with Simon Raymonde. He was a member of Cocteau Twins between 1983 and 1997 and, after the breakup of the band, set up the Bella Union label. Listening to Lauren Laverne interview label boss Raymonde talk about the gestation and creation of Bella Union got me thinking – how many great artists are signed to them. In fact, following releases on the 4AD label - for most of their career - Cocteau Twins set up Bella Union – it wa spearheaded by Raymonde and Robin Guthrie. Dirty Three, the Australian band, were one of the earliest acts to sign up – the label features everyone from John Grant to Laura Veirs. Listening to that interview, just now, and I understand John Grant, when he first sent demos. to Raymonde, was not considered that good. He was in the band The Czars and took time to forge a sound that was approved of – I think it took nine months of back-and-forth submissions for Raymonde to fall for his charms. Raymonde has been in sole charge since 2000 and has steered and evolved one of the most reputable labels in the world. Fleet Foxes, in 2008 and 2009, remained in the charts for one-hundred weeks and had the biggest-selling independent album of the year. John Grant is a huge success story and one of the biggest name tied to Bella Union. Mercury Rev, The Low Anthem and Jambinai are a sprinkling (among a deluge) of stunning artists who have helped propel and cement the reputation of Bella Union. They won Independent Record Company of the Year in 2010, 2012; 2014 and 2016 – in 2014, John Grant was nominated for a BRIT Award; Holly Macve, the Yorkshire-born singer, was signed in 2015; Father John Misty was nominated for a BRIT – another mainstream act who is happy and proud to be with the label. In honour of twenty years of sterling service; I have collated a playlist of the Bella Union artists who have made Simon Raymonde’s stable…


SUCH an impressive one.