From a garage in Melbourne to the jungles of Ubud, 23-year-old Maribelle Añes is a gun-for-hire songwriter that’s ready to blow up as a solo artist in her own right.

 

Born into a Filipino family in Melbourne’s outer suburbs, Maribelle grew up singing in the local choir. She was exposed to classic rock and pop from her guitar playing father, before her older sister turned her onto ’90s R&B. Janet Jackson is still her dream collab, she says.

 

Like most musical kids growing up in the 2000s, Maribelle would upload songs to YouTube, but knew she was onto something when one of those songs went viral. Very viral. “It ended up getting 1.5-million views, which encouraged me to keep writing music.”

 

Which brings us to Ubud and the Bali Songwriting Invitational, a luxury camp for some of the world’s best songwriters held for the past eight years in a secluded five-star resort. The Grammy-nominated Oak Felder (Khalid, Nicki Minaj) is a regular. As is Melbourne producer M-Phazes, who’s made beats for Eminem, Kimbra and 2Chainz. But Maribelle was the name on everyone’s lips this year.

 

“It was the first I’ve felt truly inspired in a long time,” she says of the experience. “To be surrounded by such a high calibre of talent, and to be creatively pushed was such an amazing experience for me. I felt like a small fish in a big pond, and just wanted to soak up the great energy. It showed me how much further I can go with my career and that I’m on the right path.”

 

It seems Maribelle has been on the right path for a while now – from her first beats with Canadian rapper D-Pryde (aka Russell), which garnered over 2-million views on YouTube, to her collaboration with Australian duo Carmada, ‘On Fire’, which Skrillex put out on in his OWSLA label.

 

It even got the Charli XCX stamp of approval after the singer performed it with Carmada on triple j’s Like A Version in 2015. “I saw the upload on jjj and sobbed in a random shopping centre,” she says.

 

Maribelle continues to rack up the songwriting and production credits behind the scenes. She signed a deal with Universal Music Publishing Group in late 2017, and has written tracks for  Young Franco (‘Miss You’), Kilter (‘I Hear You’), and The Voice South Africa finalist Armand Joubert (‘Should I’).

 

New single ‘I’m A Mess Without You’ sees her front and centre, the auteur of her own musical universe. “I was happy being in the background, but every time I would sing a topline [vocal] I wrote, people would always ask why I’m not doing the artist thing.”

 

Featuring her trademark percussive vocal, a throbbing bassline and a “body rolling beat” (her words), the song documents the start of a new relationship, but also Maribelle coming to terms with her sexuality.

 

“I was hiding my feelings for somebody, and hurting them because I wasn’t being honest with myself. It’s actually about my current girlfriend and the early stages of our relationship. I was out in the club one night and had a ‘Days Of Our Lives’ montage of all of our memories together and just realised what a mess I was being.”

 

She says the song just poured out of her at the tailend of a month of songwriting sessions in LA, London, Finland and Sweden. “It wasn’t until the very last day, a few hours before my flight home to Australia that ‘I’m A Mess Without You’ came together,” explains Maribelle. “Mario Marchetti (Demi Lovato, Jojo) and I wrote the whole thing in about an hour and I flew home.”

 

‘I’m A Mess Without You’ is the first new music from Maribelle since her debut 2016 EP Overtake, which was recorded in the home studio lovingly built by her father in his suburban garage. “He built me a vocal booth and everything,” she beams.

 

Written on a two-week songwriting sojourn in LA with producer Djemba Djemba (Kehlani, Sia), and featuring collaborations with Australian producers Styalz Fuego and Nic Martin, the EP jumps from the propulsive R&B of ‘Shout’ to ‘Who We Are’ and its sultry vocal and shimmering beats.

 

“As a songwriter I make it my goal to listen to as many genres as possible so my creativity is never limited. The Overtake EP was really an experimental project, a way for me to find myself and my sound. I never really found out who I am or what I really liked until I put that project out.”

 

Similarly, Maribelle started her own independent label, Crush Club Records, because she felt like “I didn’t fit in anywhere”. But the label is more than just a vehicle for her own music. Crush Club Records recently put out ‘Lost’, the new single for promising Melbourne beat-maker Deer (aka Tom Hitchcock) featuring London vocalist Beth Duck.

 

“I wanted to create this platform for anybody else who had felt like they were in the same position – and kind of be that stepping stone for them. There’s no major lockdowns with Crush Club Records. I just love music and want to support local acts who are still finding themselves, or feeling out of place.”

 

Maribelle is also becoming a force to be reckoned with on the live scene. She made her festival debut at FOMO, and supported GoldLink and Kaytranada on sold-out national tours in 2016.

 

“I recently took on board a live drummer which has really brought the set to life,” she explains. “There’s lots dancing and a lots of sweat – from my end at least. Expect high energy, even if there’s only five people  in the room … I’ve been building from those Kaytranada shows and I’m only going to keep getting better.”

 

Maribelle’s dad converted their garage into a home studio – “he built me a vocal booth and everything,” she beams – and after accumulating all the equipment she had dreamed of since first making music, she set to work on her debut 2016 EP Overtake.

From a garage in Melbourne to the jungles of Ubud, 23-year-old Maribelle Añes is a gun-for-hire songwriter that’s ready to blow up as a solo artist in her own right.

 

Born into a Filipino family in Melbourne’s outer suburbs, Maribelle grew up singing in the local choir. She was exposed to classic rock and pop from her guitar playing father, before her older sister turned her onto ’90s R&B. Janet Jackson is still her dream collab, she says.

 

Like most musical kids growing up in the 2000s, Maribelle would upload songs to YouTube, but knew she was onto something when one of those songs went viral. Very viral. “It ended up getting 1.5-million views, which encouraged me to keep writing music.”

 

Which brings us to Ubud and the Bali Songwriting Invitational, a luxury camp for some of the world’s best songwriters held for the past eight years in a secluded five-star resort. The Grammy-nominated Oak Felder (Khalid, Nicki Minaj) is a regular. As is Melbourne producer M-Phazes, who’s made beats for Eminem, Kimbra and 2Chainz. But Maribelle was the name on everyone’s lips this year.

 

“It was the first I’ve felt truly inspired in a long time,” she says of the experience. “To be surrounded by such a high calibre of talent, and to be creatively pushed was such an amazing experience for me. I felt like a small fish in a big pond, and just wanted to soak up the great energy. It showed me how much further I can go with my career and that I’m on the right path.”

 

It seems Maribelle has been on the right path for a while now – from her first beats with Canadian rapper D-Pryde (aka Russell), which garnered over 2-million views on YouTube, to her collaboration with Australian duo Carmada, ‘On Fire’, which Skrillex put out on in his OWSLA label.

 

It even got the Charli XCX stamp of approval after the singer performed it with Carmada on triple j’s Like A Version in 2015. “I saw the upload on jjj and sobbed in a random shopping centre,” she says.

 

Maribelle continues to rack up the songwriting and production credits behind the scenes. She signed a deal with Universal Music Publishing Group in late 2017, and has written tracks for  Young Franco (‘Miss You’), Kilter (‘I Hear You’), and The Voice South Africa finalist Armand Joubert (‘Should I’).

 

New single ‘I’m A Mess Without You’ sees her front and centre, the auteur of her own musical universe. “I was happy being in the background, but every time I would sing a topline [vocal] I wrote, people would always ask why I’m not doing the artist thing.”

 

Featuring her trademark percussive vocal, a throbbing bassline and a “body rolling beat” (her words), the song documents the start of a new relationship, but also Maribelle coming to terms with her sexuality.

 

“I was hiding my feelings for somebody, and hurting them because I wasn’t being honest with myself. It’s actually about my current girlfriend and the early stages of our relationship. I was out in the club one night and had a ‘Days Of Our Lives’ montage of all of our memories together and just realised what a mess I was being.”

 

She says the song just poured out of her at the tailend of a month of songwriting sessions in LA, London, Finland and Sweden. “It wasn’t until the very last day, a few hours before my flight home to Australia that ‘I’m A Mess Without You’ came together,” explains Maribelle. “Mario Marchetti (Demi Lovato, Jojo) and I wrote the whole thing in about an hour and I flew home.”

 

‘I’m A Mess Without You’ is the first new music from Maribelle since her debut 2016 EP Overtake, which was recorded in the home studio lovingly built by her father in his suburban garage. “He built me a vocal booth and everything,” she beams.

 

Written on a two-week songwriting sojourn in LA with producer Djemba Djemba (Kehlani, Sia), and featuring collaborations with Australian producers Styalz Fuego and Nic Martin, the EP jumps from the propulsive R&B of ‘Shout’ to ‘Who We Are’ and its sultry vocal and shimmering beats.

 

“As a songwriter I make it my goal to listen to as many genres as possible so my creativity is never limited. The Overtake EP was really an experimental project, a way for me to find myself and my sound. I never really found out who I am or what I really liked until I put that project out.”

 

Similarly, Maribelle started her own independent label, Crush Club Records, because she felt like “I didn’t fit in anywhere”. But the label is more than just a vehicle for her own music. Crush Club Records recently put out ‘Lost’, the new single for promising Melbourne beat-maker Deer (aka Tom Hitchcock) featuring London vocalist Beth Duck.

 

“I wanted to create this platform for anybody else who had felt like they were in the same position – and kind of be that stepping stone for them. There’s no major lockdowns with Crush Club Records. I just love music and want to support local acts who are still finding themselves, or feeling out of place.”

 

Maribelle is also becoming a force to be reckoned with on the live scene. She made her festival debut at FOMO, and supported GoldLink and Kaytranada on sold-out national tours in 2016.

 

“I recently took on board a live drummer which has really brought the set to life,” she explains. “There’s lots dancing and a lots of sweat – from my end at least. Expect high energy, even if there’s only five people  in the room … I’ve been building from those Kaytranada shows and I’m only going to keep getting better.”

 

Maribelle’s dad converted their garage into a home studio – “he built me a vocal booth and everything,” she beams – and after accumulating all the equipment she had dreamed of since first making music, she set to work on her debut 2016 EP Overtake.