Singer/songwriter Mercy Bell knows a fake friend when she sees one, especially if that person is only using her.
On her new single 'Who Said We Were Friends', premiering exclusively today at Holler, Bell calls out people who only invite her around so they can get close to her "plus one". Listen below.
Produced by John R. Bohannon, the track echoes the feel of a live show, capturing the energy of a honky-tonk dive. "Who said we were friends? Brothers, buddies, guys / I've been watching you undress with my baby with your eyes", Bell sings on the chorus.
The queer Filipino artist is part of a growing roster of artists who are broadening what it means to play country music, sharing new - and necessary - stories. 'Who Said We Were Friends' charges with a swaggering bravado that spotlights Bell's vibrant alto.
"First off, even though I am monogamous, I think we all have a LOT to learn from non-monogamy and polyamory (everyone go read Esther Perel)", Bell told Holler. "I think the culture of glorifying control, obsession, bad boundaries, and jealousy is pretty dysfunctional. And I think your partners should be able to be friends with anyone they want."
Even with that level of trust and understanding, it doesn't mean other people will respect a relationship. Bell wrote the song with that in mind.
"I've had multiple experiences of people trying to get on my good side while duplicitously trying to sleep with my significant other, or have a relationship that is shady and not transparent", she explained. "That shit is just toxic. Sometimes you gotta trust your intuition. Noundaries are great things. Plus, I'm petty and can hold a grudge - and I wanted to rhyme 'Mea Culpa' with 'gulpa'."
She did. "Mea culpa, here's a gulpa my drink in your face", Bell sings with a splash of cheek.
'Who Said We Were Friends' appears on Bell's forthcoming album Golden Child, out August 6. Later this year, she's set to perform as part of the lineup for the 2021 Nashville Pride Festival. The event takes place September 18-19 at Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park.