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Can you please introduce yourself in one sentence?

I’m Aimee Renata and I’m a singer-songwriter that goes by the name Erny Belle.


How did you get into music?

I got into music when I was 17, we’d spend a lot of time at our family friend's house in Grey Lynn (which is how I know Tiare my guitarist), her Mum and Stepdad have a room set up with drums, guitar and piano. Dad played bass, Tia was playing electric guitar and so I was encouraged to drum for them whilst they jammed. We ended up writing together, after a short stint of playing in a band together, I decided to learn guitar and have been writing ever since. 


What drives you, and what’s your purpose for doing what you do?

My biggest driving force is my love for music and the need for self expression through writing. It’s how I process things internally and externally. My purpose, or reasoning for doing it is that it feels like my purpose and something that I should honour by committing to whole wholeheartedly. As much as it is necessary and enjoyable for myself to create, I like to think of it as a service or gift to people who may enjoy it. That way it’s not entirely self indulgent. I know that it makes some close people feel proud and I like that feeling and I think it helps the drive. 


What is the piece / work you’re most proud of?

I’m most proud of my first record because it was independently released and took a lot of blood, sweat and tears to make. It tested my patience and self belief on excruciating levels, so the fact that I got there in the end (not on my own), is a victory. I had never had any recording experience prior to it, so it felt like a big feat. 


If you weren’t a musician, what would you be doing?

I’d love to be a screenwriter and director. I’d like to make films one day. 


When have you been the most brave, personally or professionally?

I think when I decided to leave the film industry when I felt like I got to a peak of my career within in it. Leaving a peak to start at the bottom of something (music) is daunting, but kind of thrilling!


What piece of advice has been given to you, that you would like to pass on?

Never get married, said my Nana Venus. 


When do you feel most confident?

When I’m with people that get my twisted humour and when I’m hosting! I love dinner parties, I like feeding people. Breaking bread ya know?


What do you do to unwind?

I can’t unwind until my whole house is tidy (I blame my Mother), but once that’s done, cooking with wine and catching up with friends or going to the beach for the day or reading or a movie. Lovely. Good company so I’m not in my head.


Where is your happy place?

My happy, happy place is probably at the dinner table at my Father’s house up north. Especially if he’s caught a big snapper. I love it there because he always has a friend or two that pop round with a bottle of red and they just yarn away for hours telling all sorts of tales and playing records. It’s so comforting to listen to and to be a part of. It’s something you don’t get often these days with my generation, we’re not major conversationalists and people don’t just turn up without warning. It makes me want to get better at talking to people. 

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