By Annie Reuter

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) –What do you get when you cross Carrie Underwood with Carrie Bradshaw?

The Vanity Belles, a New York-based music act making waves on the local scene.

Both Carrie Welling and Jessi Rae Waltz grew up in musical families, so it comes as no surprise that the duo joined forces a year and a half ago.

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Making a name for themselves in the New York music scene, the band’s self titled EP garnered a mention on iTunes as a New and Noteworthy release earlier this year.

A blend of country roots and city influences, the Vanity Belles define their music as Cosmo-Country. Welling said the initial vision for the band was to be a crossover country act in New York embodied by two small town girls with big city dreams.

“If you combine Carrie Underwood, Carrie Bradshaw and Carrie Welling of the Vanity Belles than you will understand Cosmo-Country,” Waltz said.

“It’s like Dolly Parton wears Diesel,” Welling added.

While Welling moved to New York to attend AMDA, the American Musical and Dramatic Academy, Waltz found herself living in New York the summer before her senior year at Rutgers University. Welling and Waltz grew up writing songs but it wasn’t until Waltz moved to the City that it all came together.

On the path to medical school, Waltz was deprived of writing music. So, she moved to New York and met some girls she started singing with.

“It was such a rewarding experience to be able to perform and express myself in a completely different way than the career path that I was originally on,” Waltz recalls. “I was able to fulfill a lot of this empty space that was missing from my life.”

Welling has lived in New York for nine years and while she has roots all over the place being a military child, she considers herself a New Yorker.

“The reason I’ve been in the city for so long is because of the music scene. It’s absolutely incredible. New York might not be the best for country itself, but there is something to say about the family here and the way that you can literally walk from venue to venue and see music,” Welling said. “Jess and I have really found a family here in the music scene. Everybody supports each other and that’s really important in music. That sets New York City apart from any other place.”

The Vanity Bells are finalizing their debut full-length album, due for release in 2012. With impeccable harmonies and an impressive live show, their performance Monday night at Rockwood Music Hall promises to be a fun one.

“To come see a show is to know that you’re going to have a fun night. It’s important for us not only to perform our material but to entertain people and give people a good experience,” Waltz said. “We have a very spontaneous live show. We try to keep it light and lively and engage the audience because it’s important for us to connect with our fans. Without them we really couldn’t be doing what we’re doing.”

Proud to be representing the country genre in New York, Waltz says the Vanity Belles are inspired by the success of their peers.

“I think it’s refreshing that people across the US and the world are really getting into country music. It’s been really touching to see our peers and people we’re inspired by rise to the top. It really keeps you going to have this bubbling resurgence of music that we’re so passionate about take the main stage.”


Performing Monday, Dec. 19 at Rockwood Music Hall.

196 Allen St.
New York, NY 10002
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For more on The Vanity Belles, visit their website.

Annie Reuter is a freelance writer and the founder of

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