Stafford, Vermont’s Noah Kahan has been on a serious roll in the last few months music-wise. At just twenty, his passion is palpable in his work, something only magnified by his recent release “Young Blood” a slower tempo track that displays his gorgeous, sometimes raspy, vocal range almost perfectly. The sound he has created with this track alone gives you one of those heart-opening, positive feelings that can inspire you to move mountains. So check out the track below, and read a little more about one of our favorite up-and-comers in our recent interview with Noah.
How did you get your start in music?
I got my start in the music business through extreme fortune and sudden exposure via the internet, specifically Soundcloud. I’ve been writing since I was 8 and had a lot of songs that I was really proud of and, when I was a senior in high school, I brought a few into a good friend of mine, who happened to be an incredibly talented producer (Nate Choukas). With his help and the help of another talented Vermont native (DJ Whole-Z) we started putting the songs online and although quiet at first they really began to blow up, at least they did in the eyes of someone who had never had more than 100 views online and rarely played anywhere that wasn’t completely empty or filled with talking restaurant goers. Eventually Drew Simmons, who has since become my manager, reached out and came to Vermont to meet with me and my folks and we’ve been balling together as a team since
Where do you draw your inspiration to continually create music from?
Inspiration for me comes from the most honest place possible. I can only write about what I am truly experiencing otherwise I sacrifice what I think makes me pretty good as a songwriter. The music I’ll be rolling out over the next few months stems from my time in the music industry and struggles with self doubt and anxiety while also being on a really incredible adventure. I guess this whole ride so far has kept me inspired
Is there a place where you feel most comfortable as an artist? On stage, at the studio, on the road, etc?
I feel really comfortable in the studio with another person who gets what I’m trying to do. I haven’t been on the road at all so far but I’m really looking forward to that and sure I will find something valuable in that experience as well.
What was the final straw in making the decision to defer your admission to Tulane?
Getting into Tulane was a dream come true in itself, and at the time there had been serious talk about the possibility of a record deal so I was totally overwhelmed. These two achievements were things I had never imagined myself being able to accomplish, so it honestly was a tough choice. After a lot of talks with my family and trusted friends I decided that though college would always be there for me, a record deal might not be. And so the choice was made.
You recently signed on at Republic- what’s the atmosphere like?
I am so grateful to be at Republic, but I haven’t had many interactions outside of my fantastic A&R, Ben Adelson. I have met with several other people at Republic and they all seem so kind and willing to help me advance this thing as far as it is able to get.
I’m not sure. I’ve been kind of in shock since the whole thing started and I guess I’m just wrapping my head around the fact that I might really be able to do this. Hopefully I can go far enough to where I can help some people with my music and maybe inspire someone.
Working with the well respected Joel Little must have at first brought on some anxiety- is that so? And how did it go?
To be honest, the second I met Joel I knew there was absolutely no reason to be anxious. He is an incredibly down to earth person who has the rare ability to sympathize with someone who is on a totally different level than him. He is the most incredible producer I have ever worked with and am so grateful to have had the chance to get to know him and see what he does. He saw something in my music I couldn’t see myself and it translated really nicely into the recordings.
What would you tell other artists, making the decision between college and songwriting?
I would tell them to sit down with the people that love you and have a real conversation about it. To look at how they are currently positioned in life and decide if making a choice between the two is what will bring you the most fulfillment and ultimate happiness. College is an amazing vehicle for learning new ways to create music, new ways to look at songwriting and performance, and can open up so many doors to people who can help you. What surprised me most about the music industry is the down time and patience it takes to develop an act and position them to be successful, so being financially and emotionally prepared for patience is something I would advise as well. Obviously since I’m 20 and have barely released anything I’m talking directly out of my ass, so in the end I would just ask someone older.
Any last thoughts you’d like to pass on to the readers of IMPOSE?
Thanks to anyone reading this! I used to dream about being interviewed for my music for many years so I think it’s imperative to tell you to never stop believing in what you’re doing and to never give up on something you really want. Also please listen to my music cuz otherwise I’ll be a failure and all this dream talk will seem really counter-intuitive.
Tour Dates with Milky Chance
03/08 – Teragram Ballroom – Los Angeles, CA
03/10 – The Independent – San Francisco, CA
03/15 – Durty Nellie’s Chicago, IL
03/17 – Le Poisson Rouge – New York, NY
03/18 – Lee’s Palace – Toronto, ON
Keep up with Noah here.