By Melanie Williams
In April 2012, Barry Fernandes, who performs under the name Belle Vex, tried to kill himself. Now in recovery, the Bridgeport musician committed himself to refocusing and rededicating his life to his music.
That dedication came more clearly into focus for him in the wake of last month’s
Newtown shootings, which have resulted in the “Pay it Forward” campaign. It’s where an individual demonstrates a random act of kindness for each life that was tragically lost.
The shootings reminded Belle Vex of his purpose as a musician and of his struggle with depression and homelessness. He is paying it forward by donating 10 percent of his proceeds from his album, “Urban Legend EP” to the Foundation for the Homeless and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention through April. Both organizations directly reflect his past and helps provides awareness and assistance to those dealing with depression. In addition, Belle Vex is in hopes that his music will inspire and encourage someone dealing with depression.
The story behind Belle Vex is one of survival. Music has always been a part of the 26-year-old’s life, which was split between New Bedford, Mass., and Bridgeport. From third to 10th grade he played cello. As he got older, his musical talent further developed to creating beats electronically, playing in two live bands, and mentoring artists. Yet, his passion was in acting; he has made acting appearances in two short films. He received his Bachelor of Art in Audio, yet due to financial restraints, he couldn’t complete his Bachelor of Art in Film.
His creativity was his escape from an abusive and broken home. At the age of 24, Belle Vex, was trapped back into the dark place he thought he had escaped. While visiting family, Belle Vex was in a serious car accident. The accident left him physically and mentally damaged, and he was forced to reside with family due to lack of income. Belle Vex recalls, “The more pills I took, the darker things got.”
Finally, with no support and nowhere to turn, Belle Vex became homeless.
“I lost all hope, I lost my dreams of being an actor and I had no one to support me,” stated Belle Vex, “The therapists and pain medicine wasn’t given me what I needed, so I turned to music.”
His performing name is inspired by his pain medicine and therapy in part. “I wanted a name that wasn’t me, but encompassed everything about me. Something that was the start of a new beginning but wasn’t just a mask. My music is honest, ironically poetic, and addicting. Belle Vex (French for beautiful curse) was just a perfect fit. It also sounds like a drug or a psychiatrist might prescribe. There wasn’t any other acceptable option.”
Even with music as his outlet and performing at conventions, Fernandes still struggled to fight his severe depression. It wasn’t until after his suicide attempt in April 2012 that he completely refocused and rededicated his life to his music. His music that is still one of the only forms of solid support he has, as many of his relatives aren’t supportive of his recent endeavors.
“When you start something the people close to you really don’t support, but when you get attention, some will notice and support you. I still have family that doesn’t believe in me and my music,” said Belle Vex.
In spite of lack of support, Belle Vex is moving forward. Currently residing in Bridgeport and working part-time as a studio manager in exchange for room and board, he is working hard to promote his music, especially after the Newtown shooting.
“I never wanted to be that type of role model, but after the shooting, it’s a call to action to me. I don’t want to question why it happened, but rather focus on what are we going to do now,” said Belle Vex.
Any teen or young adult who feels alone, can contact him via a message on Facebook. To support his mission, his songs can be downloaded, with 10 percent of proceeds donated to the charities.
Click below for a sample of Belle Vex’s music:
By Melanie Williams