The digital era may seem like the perfect time for building a career in music. Creative resources and tools for engagement on social media are endless. However, when it becomes the only chance for success, with the added weight of pandemic isolation, it can take a toll on anyone’s general well-being.
Canadian singer-songwriter noelle crafted one of her most-played songs on Spotify without being afraid to get personal. With more than 290,000 clicks, “Therapy” tackles the importance of mental health awareness. “I want people to know that they’re not alone,” says the musician. “It’s really important to just have an outlet. That’s what I wrote ‘Therapy’ about.”
The 20-year-old, raised on the Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory in Ontario, has already racked up a following of almost 95,000 subscribers on YouTube. She combines her Indigenous roots with an acquired taste for 60-year-old jazz, and everything in between. From powwow drums to Nat King Cole, to pop and R&B, noelle’s music is a collage of genres that she’s been exploring, right up to the present day.
“My dad has a recording studio in our basement,” she says. “He has a band, and makes Native wind flutes and drums in his woodshop. I think it’s really made my music tastes wide. That’s kind of affected the music I write and create today.”
Following a very different path from her classmates, the singer-songwriter inked her first record deal right after graduating high school, signing to Wax Records – the home of bülow, Virginia to Vegas, and Alyssa Reid. “Wax has introduced me to so many incredible writers and producers, with whom I’ve built a friendship, and continuously work, on a regular basis,” says noelle. “They’ve all helped me grow as a writer, and the producers have helped me grow as a vocalist. I’m really grateful to have met these people.”
She’s gearing up for the debut of her first EP, 30K, which demonstrates noelle’s journey to adulthood with a deep, emotional gift for storytelling – which she hopes will move people, and remind them of their first love.
“I was getting over somebody at the time that I wrote the song ‘30K,’” says noelle. “When I went into the session, I wanted to write about my feelings, but I wanted it to be a super-fun, upbeat song. We came up with the idea of, ‘How would you get over somebody if you were rich?’ And we were, like, ‘Okay, let’s go to L.A., let’s go shopping, let’s go to the club.’”
For the past three years, noelle has spent most of her days in the studio, and has recorded an impressive 100 demos. She usually sits down in front of the piano, and plays the keys until a melody comes. Then she applies her lyrics, to try to capture one memorable experience or another – typically, about the ups and downs of falling in love.
“I pull inspiration from so many different things,” she says. “Even if I watch a movie, if there’s a scenario that’s really interesting, that might inspire me to write a song about it. Or, if I hear a song from another artist that’s amazing, and I love it. But also, just, like, if there’s a cool word, or I hear some somebody say something that could be a cool song title”
Now the young artist, who began writing her own music, song by song, as a therapeutic form of self-expression, dreams of performing at the Grammy Awards. “I just want my songs to be able to reach people, so that they know that they’re not alone in the situations my songs are about,” she says.