The Innovators {episode 2} with…

Preston Bell

singer/songwriter/guitarist

Outside the Shadows

I’m excited to be doing the second installment of The Innovators with my Instagram friend Preston from Outside the Shadows! I’m a fan of his music (and his voice! seriously, one of my top five favourite vocalists to listen to) and he’s a fan of my Insta stories, lol.

Walking in the Dark, The Part of Me and Passing Me By are some of my favourite OTS tunes on my Spotify playlist (you can check them with the Spotify player at the end of this post)……

Introduce yourself.  Tell me about the band and your new single “So Much More” coming out soon – new album to follow??

I’m Preston & I am the singer, songwriter & guitarist for Outside the Shadows. The band currently consists of Tyler Medley on bass & background vocals & Steven Jones on drums. I started this band in 2013 with our original drummer Marty. Marty & I wrote the first two albums together lyrically & I handled the musical parts. Our upcoming single So Much More is one of our heavier songs we’ve written as a band. Tyler actually came up with the main riff for this song & I worked in all of the lyrics & other music for it. It is one of my favorite songs we’ve ever written. This song is about someone who has been verbally abused & bullied throughout life but in this song we get to express how much greater this world is with them in it & how to destroy their words with the pain & move on from it.

There is an album in the works. Is this album a deluxe edition of an album or a whole new album? We shall share soon 😉

What or who influenced you to pursue a career in music? 

I was influenced at a young age watching the musicians at my church play. At that age all I knew was contemporary Christian music. From there I learned drums & began filling in sometimes at church. I went to a Christian music store where I found a band that was covered in tats & had dreadlocks & I was like ‘who are these dudes & what kinda music is this going to be?’ lol. This band I speak is the legendary P.O.D & it was their album Satellite. It was the first hard rock / metal album I ever owned. I was blown away by the guitars & the heavier style vocals & so began my path as a vocalist & my path to learning guitars. All together I play guitar, bass, & drums & occasionally I’ll use a keyboard for effects when recording new music.

What is your creative process for writing songs? Who / what inspires your music?

My creative process is simple. I write a lot of lyrics and the songs that have come to me lyrically have been around for 10+ years & just now made it to music. I always have riffs running through my head that I built upon & usually will have lyrics already written that will work with it or some songs are written lyrics & music together at the same time. So many things inspire my music, mostly my love for heavy music. Heavy music in general just does something for me in a way that most things can’t. Heavy music can bring for me something, that while being heavy, also soothes the soul. There is so much passion in a lot of heavy music. Bands like Demon Hunter & Killswitch Engage just know how to make music heavy & beautiful at the same time. These bands inspire me in so many ways along with hard rockers like Skillet, Red, & P.O.D. If you’ve noticed in a lot of my heavier songs, such as Division, I try to blend those two musical elements along with punk rock & make it kinda my own sound. I know I fit in with certain bands & genres but I try my best to stand out.

You identify your music as Christian Rock.  How does your faith impact / influence your music?

My faith impacts my writing in so many ways. No matter what I’m writing about, whether it be good or bad, always comes down to how my faith in God always gets me through everything. He is always there any time I ever need him so all of my songs end up being about how God always pulls me through. Unless it’s songs like Surrender. Surrender is a simple praise to God above for all that He does in my life. He is an amazing God. The greatest gift of all is son Jesus & the gift of salvation He gave us if we just believe. It’s truly the most beautiful gift ever.

You find yourself on a deserted island with a fictional character – what three songs or albums are you listening to?  And who / what is listening with you?

If I was on a deserted island I would wanna spend it with Shawn Spencer from the show Psych. He reminds me a ton of myself as far as his character, comedy, & just his overall personality. The three albums I would take are Where do we go from here by Pillar, Hearts of the Innocent by Kutless, & Collide by Skillet. I believe those three albums are perfectly made. No bad songs at all & I could listen to them everyday, all day & never lose interest.

What are your thoughts about the state of the music industry today?  What would you change about the music industry if you could?

My thoughts on the music industry now: I think the industry is crap, I think record labels in general have sunk some of the most incredibly talented bands we’ve ever come to know such as Sent by Ravens & many others. I’m blessed enough to be on a label that worked with me on a contract that lets me govern myself musically but helps me get my music to places I can’t. The music industry also tries to tell you how to look & how to sound. That doesn’t work for me. If I can’t sound like Outside the Shadows then I’m out. I will sell out to no one except for Christ, of course. I think now with digital & social being as available to artists & bands as it is, bands should definitely govern themselves for sure or find a manager or label that will agree to help you like mine does but let you run the show like my label does.

How do you use social media to promote your band?  How much do you think it will influence the future of music, especially now with COVID?

I use social media a lot for promoting my band. I believe nowadays it is the best outlet for promotion of music. I think with this pandemic social media is great because you can do lives and shows and still reach your audience. It’s an amazing thing to have, I think, a fantastic tool 😉

What do you most want listeners to take away from your music?

I want listeners to take away positivity from my music. I hope when someone hears my music it can in some way make their life better and they can relate to what I’ve experienced in my own life and how I’ve dealt with certain dark times I’ve been through. Not only do I want to bring people a great sounding product always, but I want it to be a life changing situation. I want God to use the music He gives me to be an outlet for people who struggle with things in life.

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