Album-release concert to assist domestic violence shelter
by Bradley Hartsell
Contemporary gospel artist Kandice Bell, born and raised in Newnan, is holding an album release concert July 27 that will benefit Community Welcome House.
The 25-year-old says she’s been singing since she was three, and coming up on the release of her second album, “My Love Song to You,” she has 10 years of pursuing being an artist professionally. Bell wasn’t without her own hurdles, though. She says she started out as a secular pop music artist before switching to gospel music.
“I grew up in the church, I was a musician in church, but in secular music I was doing pop,” said Bell. “That lifestyle didn’t fit my personality at all. I wouldn’t feel comfortable. Then I made the decision to switch to gospel. It was my forte, it was more positive, and it was something I really believe in. I became comfortable with myself and I got back to my roots.”
Bell says she knew she wanted to help her community any way she could, and after doing some research, she knew Community Welcome House was the one to help. Community Welcome House is a shelter where women and children can go to escape domestic abuse.
Following the string of March shootings in Newnan, Bell knew the community needed an uplifting message to strengthen the family spirit.
“I wanted to choose a platform that we could relate to, especially in our community,” she said. “It’s about building stronger families. The shootings were very heartbreaking to me. The victims knew my brother and most of them don’t have anybody. They need strong people to look up to.”
As for domestic abuse, Bell says she was not a victim, but some people she knows were. Bell doesn’t believe it’s just physical abuse all the time, but that abusive words can hurt just as much, if not more.
“You never know what someone’s going through, so I just wanted to give people something to look up to,” she said.
When she made her decision to help Community Welcome House, she got the confirmation she needed.
“I actually got to visit the shelter, and it’s really eye-opening to see what some people have to go through,” Bell said. “There are some women who are scared to be around crowds and different people because you just never know.”
Bell added that domestic abuse isn’t recognized for how prevalent it is in communities, especially with teenagers and the potential for child abuse.
“It’s heartbreaking to me. We need to bring more education about it,” Bell said. “The best is through community awareness and having somewhere where people can go, like Community Welcome House, and having mentor programs for children who have come from broken families.”
“It all boils down to not having strong families, so just talking about it or having outreach programs can be really great for the community,” she added.
Bell says she is driven by the purpose a gospel artist provides and how great it is to hear people tell her after a concert how much a song meant to them. Being born and raised in Newnan, a concert and a Community Welcome House benefit was her way of being a steward to her beloved community.
“I know a lot of people here. It’s my roots, and it’s very nice to give back to the community,” she said. “When I hear people tell me, ‘I needed to hear that song,’ that touches me so much. You can’t put a price on that. That’s ultimately why we were put here, to make a difference.”
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Breaking Free: the Kandice Bell album release and domestic violence concert is July 27. Doors open 4:30 p.m., and the concert is 5 p.m. at St. Smyrna Baptist Church, 68 Heery Rd., Newnan. The event will be hosted by 102.5 radio show host, Darlene McCoy. It also will feature Kevin Lemons and Higher Calling, Felton James & Company, and the Soaring into Destiny Dance team. Tickets are, in advance, $15 for adults $5 for kids – they will be $25 at the door. There are $35 VIP tickets with a reception included and exclusive seating. Call 678-462-1412 or 678-469-6283 for details and tickets. For more on Bell and the concert go to www.iamkandicebell.com .