Steve Bell Biography
If there is such a thing as a story telling gene, Steve Bell has it.
His grandfather was a great storyteller, enthralling young Steve with tales of the adventures of thirty years of missionary service in China and Tibet.
Steve’s father (whose birth in China was the subject of one such tale), carried the yarn-spinner DNA as well, turning his gift particularly to the imaginative retelling of the life experiences of ancient biblical characters.
Despite the obvious presence of this legacy, Steve’s own storytelling ability took him by surprise.
“One lovely summer evening in Altona, Manitoba I found myself alone on an outdoor stage before a small crowd of festivalers. I had resisted this gig for several months, but a local pastor kept hounding me to take it as a solo artist – something I had always avoided, as I much preferred the safety of a group of musicians with someone else doing the fronting.
Walking onto the stage I was absolutely terrified to find myself alone with a crowd that was actually listening (my early years were spent performing mostly in bars where there were plenty of other distractions). And as I opened my mouth to sing, to my complete astonishment, out came a story--almost against my will. I just started telling some random tidbit of my life. It had no moral, no lesson. I didn’t wrap up with any blinding insights. It was just a story. It was my story, and by some mysterious extension – it was apparently their story as well.”
Steve has honed his storytelling expertise in both song and spoken word over the course of his 16 year career. The results have been outstanding. Thirteen albums and countless miles on the road have garnered strong affirmation for the power of that skill, including JUNO’s in 1997 and 2000, the sale of over 250,000 units worldwide, the launching of Signpost Music (Bell’s own independent record label), and thousands of loyal fans. Larry LeBlanc (Billboard Magazine) calls Steve “a Canadian musical treasure”.
Steve lives in Winnipeg, MB with his wife Nanci and their sons Jesse and Micah. Their daughter Sarah is newly married, and lives with her husband Steve in Ontario. His life in family and community remains an inexhaustible source of story material.
Steve offers his stories and songs in concert, and on his new album Story and Song, with the “hope that, in some way, they can be part of God’s reformation of our common humanity, which springs from God’s own communal nature”.