Dirty Dozen: Noah Kahan

The 20 year old American songwriter from the small town of Strafford, Vermont (population 1,000), Noah Kahan has just released the new  single “Young Blood” which was produced by Joel Little (Khalid, Lorde).  “Young Blood” debuted at #5 on Spotify’s US Viral Chart and racked up over 9M Streams on Spotify in less than 5 Months. Noah recently sold-out his US tour supporting Milky Chance and  show with Ben Folds.

Can you tell us about yourself? Where you’re from and what you’ve been up to over the past few years?
My name is Noah Kahan, I’m from Strafford, Vermont and in the two years since graduating high school I have been writing hundreds of songs, traveling all over the country, moved to Nashville and have signed a recording and publishing deal. It’s been an absolutely surreal few years and it just keeps getting weirder.

How would you describe your music?
When it comes down to it, I’m really just a guy with a guitar. However I like to think I put a unique personal spin on the folk/pop singer-songwriter genre. I try to keep a blend of organic and electronic instruments in the production and try to write songs that are a direct reflection of my everyday life, thoughts and feelings. I’d describe the sound as pretty raw and personal, but also hooky in nature.

Can you tell us a little bit about your influences?
I grew up listening to my mom’s iPod, which was mostly littered with singer songwriters of her childhood, and with folk artists of the modern area. Paul Simon, Cat Stevens, Sufjan Stevens, Counting Crows, Conner Oberst were all artists I grew up listening to via my Mom and they really inspired me in the way they were able to be genuine while not sacrificing hooks or “catchiness” in their songs.

What are you currently promoting?
I’ve been pretty much releasing a single every month, and this month’s single is a song called “Fine”. That’s been the main promotional motivation for the past few weeks.

Have you got a particular song you’ve done that you’re particularly proud of, one that might define you?
Yeah, I think my first single, “Young Blood”, is a song that will forever be my favorite, and the one I would show someone if they were trying to figure out who I am as a human being and as a songwriter. It’s just the most honest version of myself presented in the song, and I also use it as a piece of advice moving forward.

What are you currently listening to?
I’ve been listening to a lot of Billie Eilish recently. She’s this super young and talented British artist who I really think could be the next big thing. She’s fucking dope.

And your favourite album of all time, the one you couldn’t do without?
Probably “For Emma, Forever Ago”, by Bon Iver. That album brought me out of some dark places in life and will always remind me of why I want to do music.

What are your hopes for your future career?
I hope to establish a little corner for myself in the singer-songwriter genre, and to be a unique voice in the industry overall. I’ll be happy if I can have people come to see play wherever I am and just be able to keep making a living making music.

If money were no object what would be your dream project?
Probably would be a little bit more folky, a-la “Bright Eyes” first few albums. That’s the kind of music I could make forever.

What’s the best thing about being a musician?
Being able to perform all over the world, making a living doing what I love, having a constant outlet for my frustration.

And the worst?
I hate flying, so I’d say the travel. Also not being able to clearly distinguish a line between my work performance and my performance as a human being.

Finally, have you anything you’d like to say to the readers of Americana UK?
Follow your dreams! As cliche as that sounds, a couple years ago I was playing in a Gelato shop in my hometown trying to sing over the Bon Jovi music they had on at the time. I had no clue I would get this far, and looking back I wish I had believed in myself more. Good luck!

Author: Rudie Hayes

Rudie is the weekly host of the syndicated radio show – The Horseshoe Lounge Music Session – playing the best American Roots and hosting terrific live guests.

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