17 July 1963, Englewood, New Jersey, USA. Belle first considered a career in the music business in her teenage years, after being inspired to sing by the gospel music greats Shirley Caesar and Inez Andrews. Both her mother and father were gospel singers and encouraged her to follow the same path - they were initially resistant to the idea that she should become involved in secular music. Further exposure to shows such as American Bandstand and Soul Train encouraged her to take up an instrument, and while at high school she learned trombone, tuba and steel drums, playing along to R&B and jazz standards as part of the school band. Her performance of the Emotions Dont Ask My Neighbours at a high-school concert won her $25, encouraging her to take up semi-professional employment singing at fashion shows and weddings (often with the band Private Property). She secured a scholarship to the prestigious Manhattan School Of Music to study voice...
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