“Nos despedimos felices”: Basking in the Sweet Heat of BEL’s Dreamy Spanglish Breakup Anthem

BEL © SJ Spreng
BEL © SJ Spreng
The Spanglish “Don’t Look Back in Anger,” BEL’s beautiful breakup anthem “Nos Despedimos” is as tender and uplifting as it is irresistibly energizing: A dreamy indie pop song full of love, empathy, and a sweet, seductive heat, the singer/songwriter’s latest enchantment promises to heal our heavy hearts and get us soaring once more!
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Stream: “Nos Despedimos” – BEL




The Spanglish “Don’t Look Back in Anger” has arrived just in time for us to sweat it out all summer long.

It’s time to fly: A dreamy indie pop song full of love, empathy, and a sweet, seductive heat, BEL’s “Nos Despedimos” is as tender and uplifting as it is irresistibly energizing: The Californian singer/songwriter soothes, stirs, and reignites our wary hearts in two and a half minutes of beautiful multicultural wonderment, turning a breakup on its head and inspiring us to soar once more.

Nos Despedimos - BEL
Nos Despedimos – BEL
Asked me how could you be so blind
I said the ending was divine
There’s no such thing as wasted time
I think we grow up when we cry
Ya es tiempo de volar
Es tiempo de volar
Nos despedimos felices
Hope you laugh when you see this
No going back and I mean it
Mean it
Nos despedimos felices
Broke your heart into pieces
But you’re on track and I feel it
Feel it

Independently released as a double-single with the song “Window Shopping” on March 20th, “Nos Despedimos” is a soul-stirring, breathtaking enchantment. Returning to the spotlight just months after last November’s critically acclaimed third EP Read the Room, Isabel Whelan reminds us not only of her sheer songwriting and vocal prowess, but also that, after four years spent sharing her music with the world, she’s still got a few more tricks up her sleeve.

A longtime Atwood Magazine artist to watch, BEL has been captivating audiences from day one.  “Hope and the human spirit run wild and free throughout… shaking us awake not with a jolt of raw energy but with a warm wash of soothing sounds and inspiring lyrics,” Atwood Magazine wrote of 2020’s debut single “Silver Line.”

In a more recent feature on last year’s Read the Room EP, Atwood Magazine praised the Clovis, California-based singer/songwriter and producer for crafting a “breathtakingly bold, undeniably cathartic, and irresistibly catchy” listening experience: “Achingly intimate and unapologetically candid, BEL’s latest EP is the perfect example of empowerment through vulnerability,” we wrote at the time. “Read the Room turns one soul’s inner brooding into warm, wondrous beauty as she spills her guts seven times over. Tender and turbulent, dynamic and demanding, these songs hold nothing back in reminding us what it’s like to hit our low, and how it feels when we finally do bounce back.”

“Honest, Raw, & Reflective”: Bel's 'Read the Room' EP Is an Impassioned, Empowered Eruption

:: FEATURE ::

Whelan tells Atwood Magazine that she wrote “Nos Despedimos” for her sister, who was going through a breakup at the time and hit hard by the change.

Nos despedimos felices translates in English to we say goodbye happily – like ‘thank God he’s gone,'” she explains. “I grew up in a bilingual household – my mom’s side is from Argentina – so I’d been wanting to write a song with Spanish lyrics for awhile. Writing something in Spanglish for my sister felt like the best place to start.”

“Growing up, our grandparents always placed a big importance on learning Spanish and maintaining a connection to the culture. It was the fastest I’ve ever written a song and I feel like my grandmother was helping me write it from beyond.”

Go write it down in a letter
I say the bolder the better
Baby, he did you a favor
But you won’t see it ’til later
Ya es tiempo de volar
Es tiempo de volar

Ya, es tiempo de volar,” BEL sings in a hypnotic, invigorating pre-chorus, the energy building around her in electric anticipation of the oncoming climax. Her words, translating to “now, it’s time to fly,” are a message to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and keep moving forward with our heads held high.

We can drown in our sorrows and dwell in heartache’s depths, or we can say goodbye happily and work at moving on, living each day as best, as fully, and as meaningfully as we can, finding reasons to smile and laugh and flood our souls with light and love.

BEL © SJ Spreng
BEL © SJ Spreng

Atwood Magazine caught up with BEL to tale more about the making of her first Spanglish song, finding hope in life’s hard times, and her own personal takeaways from “Nos Despedimos.” “I hope listeners take away that breakups can be a beautiful thing for growth,” she says. Catch up with BEL in our interview below, and stream “Nos Despedimos” and its equally dreamy B-side, “Window Shopping,” both of which are out now on all platforms!

Nos despedimos felices
Hope you laugh when you see this
No going back and I mean it
Mean it
Nos despedimos felices
Broke your heart into pieces
But you’re on track and I feel it
Feel it, feel it, ahh, feel it, ahh
Nos despedimos

— —

:: stream/purchase Nos Despedimos here ::
:: connect with BEL here ::
Stream: “Nos Despedimos” – BEL



BEL © SJ Spreng
BEL © SJ Spreng

Nos Despedimos - BEL

Atwood Magazine: Why do you think it took writing a song for a family member to get you writing in Spanglish? Had you tried your hand at it before?

BEL: I had been saying for a while that I wanted to start writing lyrics in Spanish. I was nervous about it at first because I’ve always felt more confident expressing myself in English. It took me some time to find the confidence to express what I wanted to say in Spanish. I definitely tried it before but this song was the first time it truly felt so seamless and like it all clicked.

How did your sister react when you first showed her the song? Have other family members also heard it now?

BEL: I literally played it for her immediately that night after I got home from the session. She had been crashing at my place during her breakup…I was so excited to show it to her. We danced and cried to the demo and probably played it 30 times on repeat. I sent it to my mom the same night too. My whole family has listened! My little nieces and nephews were singing it when I went home to visit recently. It was really special.

Do you speak both Spanish and English with family / at home? Do you also have any favorite Spanish or Spanglish language artists?

BEL: Yes! My mom is Argentine and a Spanish professor at Fresno State so my siblings and I grew up speaking both Spanish and English with her. We almost exclusively spoke Spanish with my grandparents on my mom’s side. My grandmother passed away a couple years ago and she was always super supportive of my music. I have this feeling that she was helping me write this song for my sister. Everything flowed so quickly, the song felt like it wrote itself, and there were little coincidences that made me think she was helping from the other side. I had just met Matias Mora for the first time at this writing session and found out that they’re also from the central valley. They also speak Spanish so I knew that this was going to be the perfect moment to write a song with Spanish lyrics because I felt more comfortable bouncing lyric ideas back and forth.

My mom used to sing a lot of Joan Baez when we were growing up. I loved that she had songs in both languages and I felt really inspired by that as a kid.

BEL © SJ Spreng
BEL © SJ Spreng

Does this open the door to incorporating more Spanish into your music in the future?

BEL: Por supuesto 😉

Quiero discutir la frase, “Nos despedimos felices.” Tell me about what that phrase means to you, and why you used it as a springboard for this song?

BEL: It translates in English to “we said goodbye happily” but in the context of this song, I meant it more as a “good riddance,” like we were happy that person was out of the picture. I wanted to make something that was comforting for my sister–that saying goodbye to this guy was the right thing to do. The phrase has such a nice rhythm to it in Spanish, everything flows so nicely after it.

I love rhyming “felices” with “see this.” Matching two languages together like that opens up a WORLD of possibilities. What was it like when you first got that line down on the page?

BEL: I do too. This song truly felt like it was written in like 20 minutes. Everything just felt SO good and flowed out so quickly once we had “nos despedimos felices.” I was screaming with excitement.

BEL © SJ Spreng
BEL © SJ Spreng

Do you have any favorite lines (from either language) on this song?

BEL: My favorite lines are: “nos despedimos felices, hope you laugh when you see this, no going back and I mean it” and “baby, he did you a favor but you won’t see it ‘til later.”

What do you hope listeners take away from this song, and what are your takeaways from it?

BEL: I hope listeners take away that breakups can be a beautiful thing for growth. It’s easy to feel like time was wasted with someone when it doesn’t work out, but it’s helpful to take it all as an opportunity to learn about yourself and accept the love from all the people around you who are there to lift you out of it.

— —

:: stream/purchase Nos Despedimos here ::
:: connect with BEL here ::
Stream: “Nos Despedimos” – BEL



— — — —

Nos Despedimos - BEL

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? © SJ Spreng
art © SJ Spreng


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