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PHI Residences PHI Nord Laureates2023 24 Bells Larsen

Bells Larsen | PHI North


April 11 to 26, 2024

Bells Larsen is a Montreal-based songwriter who weaves together cathartic lyrics and memorable melodies in his music. Drawing from experiences of loss, love, and identity, Larsen's songs speak to his life as a trans, queer person. His folk-inspired sound and ardent lyricism slows down the pace of the world around him to create space for contemplation and expression. Traversing between emblematic and actualized narratives, he sees storytelling as a way to make sense of and connect with both the ordinary and unpredictable moments in life.

Good Grief, the 2022 debut from Larsen, was conceptualized during a time of restoration. Healing from the death of his first love, the album bridges the gaps between I, you, and we to narrate an intentional meditation on how we try to grapple with the meaning of loss. The album was soon met with acclaim; The Revue called Larsen "undeniably one of the most exciting young artists to arrive on the scene." Larsen has been featured on the CBC, Exclaim!, and has showcased his music at School Night, POP Montreal, and SXSW. 

If I Was, I Am, his new EP out on Next Door Records, embraces stillness. For Larsen, the last few years have involved a lot of movement—this new collection of songs is an attentive, inquisitive recuperation. He returns sonically to a place of familiarity, reminiscent of early bedroom demos, yet the frequency has shifted. With his newly-baritone voice front and centre, accompanied often only by a guitar, Larsen says: "Contrary to what some might think, the point of my transition isn’t about an arrival at a final destination; I don’t know that such a place exists. The only arrival that makes sense to me is the one where I come home to myself.” Grappling with stories of selfhood, change, and homecoming, If I Was, I Am considers the act of finding oneself as a constant state of becoming.

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