“I’m starting to find that balance between what people want to hear from me and where I musically want to take them,” explains Boston MA native Dutch ReBelle “If I can walk into a room and control the crowd, it just pushes me to keep writing my story.”
More and more people are responding to ReBelle’s story. Dutch ReBelle (ne’ Vanda Bernadeau) has seen the positive energy that she has built for herself in Boston’s hip hop scene to become genuine respect. Audiences are connecting to her mix of introspective punch line filled lyrics and raw golden-era influenced and trap beats that are built for the turn up.
After sharing stages with artists from Action Bronson, Big K.R.I.T., Cam’ron, Wu Tang Clan, Prodigy of Mobb Deep, and Melanie Fiona and the release her critically praised mix tapes, “Beauty vs. The Beast” and “Married To The Music”, Dutchy saw the love come from all angles. ReBelle was part of the Boston Phoenix’s “Freshmen Hip Hop Class”, awarded “Best Artist” at The Fab Empire’s Fab Awards and won “Best Female-Hip Hop” at the 2011 New England Urban Music Awards along with “Best Group- Hip Hop” for her work with the group Famous Nobodies. The Boston Globe called her “The ReBelle with A Cause” and solidified her as a respected emcee on the rise.
With a style that makes seem like the lovechild of Ghostface Killah and Lauryn Hill, Dutch brings aggression and intellect to every verse. In a world where female MC’s feel forced to sell sex in order to get attention, she’s committed to tell the rest of the story. What helps ReBelle win fans is her ability to tell compelling stories with great songwriting. Equally at home with battle rhymes or rocking the club, she sounds at ease on nearly any track.
Critics and fans alike are also responding to Dutch’s music for its distinctive sound; a sound that couldn’t have come from anywhere else but the Bean. The foundation for the island-born but city raised ReBelle came from the unique mix of music that surrounded her in the Boston area.
“I would be at school with my friends and it was Nas, Dipset, Wu-Tang Clan and my favorite Styles P. MC’s that I loved or dancehall artists like Mavado or Vybz Kartel. Like the meanest and hardest joints ever.” said ReBelle. “Then at home my parents listened to music from all around the world; compas, zouk, African music, cubano. I could come home and my dad is bumping Eric Clapton or Bob Marley and my mom is watching an Andrea Boccelli performance. You can hear all of that in my music. That’s why I feel comfortable rocking on all types of beats.”
Her love affair with words started with her penning poetry before the age of 10. At that young age she started putting her words to beats once her older brother visiting from Miami introduced her to the sounds of southern hip-hop.
“He used to point at things around the house and make me rap about them. He made me freestyle constantly about everything,” ReBelle laughs “One of my first raps ever was about some rice sitting in a pot on the stove.”
By high school, ReBelle began participating in after-school ciphers and battles against 100% male competition and it became clear she was gifted. But she had to put the gift on hold. It wasn’t until after graduating from Penn State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism and a minor in Theater, and returning to the Boston hip-hop scene did she take it seriously; even though it was on her mind during every class.
“I was on the Dean’s List wanting to drop out,” explains ReBelle about her college experience. “They charge you like $300 for a book you can get on EBay, read the book in a few days or weeks and still learn more than you did in all those expensive semesters. By then my mind was made up. I wanted to rhyme.”
Alongside her Black Roses, a networking organization founded by ReBelle promoting female professionals, she began hitting the scene heavy. From the surrounding colleges and universities in the region to the clubs downtown, she hit the streets hard. Despite returning to the Boston hip-hop scene with nothing but notebooks full of rhymes, Dutch performed at show after show until her following began to spread all over New England. It was all part of her plan to make an impact.
“I figured I can’t put on for Boston until I earned the right to do so,” said ReBelle. “I was doing like 3 shows a week for a few months. I was any and everywhere. Open mics, half empty rooms, wherever. It didn’t matter. I kept going until people knew my name and I started booking shows at bigger venues.”
While ReBelle took the region by storm, she sparked the interest of The Famous Nobodies (FN), a music collective from Boston that she would frequently see at shows. After one studio session, ReBelle’s chemistry with FN was undeniable and ReBelle was invited to join the crew alongside Chris Brook and DJ Real P.
“I was able to vibe with FN because of our love of the music. We are all lyricists but we love to rock out for the people. Lots of rappers can’t do both. Joining forces helped get us out there even more. They understood what I was trying to do.”
ReBelle has been popping up and solidifying herself as a fierce performer with a spot on national radar with performances at major annual festivals such as A3C, the Brooklyn Hip-Hop festival and the SXSW (South by Southwest) annual festival in Austin, Texas. After ReBelle's "Sunday Morning" video featuring Amandi Music was featured on MTV's RapFix Live, the emcee has been featured in numerous major music publications such as XXL, The Source, Complex, KillerBoomBox and HipHopDX. Now with more eyes than ever on her after releasing "ReBelle Diaries" this past winter, ReBelle's newly released 6 -song EP "KISSKISS" is now available on iTunes.