Singer Lisa Bell was born and raised in Boulder, CO, where she first showed an interest in singing after being taken to Dionne Warwick and Ella Fitzgerald concerts when she was six. She sang in school choirs, and as a high school student was selected to be a member of the jazz choral group Excalibur, which performed material associated with the Manhattan Transfer and Lambert, Hendricks & Ross. She earned a scholarship to the Conservatory of Music at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, graduating with a B.A. in Communications and Vocal Performance. Settling in Kansas City, she had various singing jobs that included studio and jingle work, stage appearances in musicals, and concert performances as a backup vocalist for Bobby McFerrin. Moving back to Colorado, she became a member of the Colorado Symphony Chorus, the Boulder Philharmonic Chorus, and a vocal jazz quartet called Jazz on the Rocks. Her debut album, Dare to Be..., was released by Hapi Skratch Records in 2002 and featured her versions of jazz standards such as "Summertime" and "Do Nothin' Till You Hear from Me." The album's release led to her appearances in jazz clubs and at jazz festivals. For her second album, It's All About Love (2005), she took a different tack, writing most of the songs herself and using instruments not generally associated with jazz such as a Dobro and a pedal steel guitar.