By: Shayla Lee
Noé is a pop musician that has the full package. From her honest songwriting and soaring vocals to the unique spin she takes on traditional pop music to create pop music with a message, I don’t think there’s anything this girl can’t do.
The now-LA-based musician was born in Paris but grew up between Hong Kong and Aix en Provence in France. As a teen, Noé had her sights on med school but she ended up following her heart and attending Berklee College of Music in 2016. Noé is now in LA working as a singer/songwriter for others in addition to creating her own music.
Noé is off to a great start this year with the release of her strong beat-heavy track ‘Pity-Party’, the dream-pop R&B fused ‘Puzzles’, and her new self-empowerment anthem ‘Color’. With ‘Color’, Noé proves once again that she is an artist who creates music with a message. Her unique fuse of R&B, pop, and electronic influences makes Noé one to watch in LA’s bubbling music scene.
We had the chance to chat with Noé about what ‘Color’ means to her, her upcoming EP ibynoé, and how where she lived influenced her music.
To people unfamiliar with you, how would you describe your music to them?
My music in 3 words would be: Lets get emotionalll. It’s very lyric oriented, super personal… too personal. Some self deprecating humor here and there. Some indie pop/R&B tendencies and lots, lots of guitar.
Where do you draw inspiration for your music?
Lyrically I definitely draw from personal experiences. If you did me wrong chances are I wrote 10 songs about you. I milk relationships and feelings and drama and everything in between like a maniac, just for the sake of songwriting… or maybe it’s the other way around. Maybe dwelling is one of my personality traits and that’s why I write songs, to release it all. Or maybe it’s both, idk I’m still figuring that out, what came first the chicken or the egg? Haha
Who are some of your musical influences?
Tbh my current musical influences change literally everyday. There’s so much music out there, so much to be inspired by. But I guess some artists that have shaped me or that I come back to a lot are Barbara, Norah Jones, Ben Howard, Amy Winehouse, Francis and the Lights, Julia Michaels, Arctic Monkeys. Currently I have a slight obsession with Dominic Fike though.
You were born in Paris, were raised between Aix en Provence and Hong Kong, and are now living in LA. How did being exposed to the different music scenes/music in general influence your music?
Honestly I feel like because of my moving around, I missed out on a lot of the classics of my generation. I was never big on Britney Spears, barely knew Spice Girls, I can’t name you one Jonas Brothers songs, Fall out Boy is a blur and I could go on. I get a lot of baffled looks in sessions. I can’t tell if I just wasn’t an avid music listener growing up or if I truly wasn’t exposed to it. I always felt like trends took forever to get to Hong Kong. We didn’t listen to radio, and I didn’t even know about youtube until I moved to France so keeping up to date was tough. During the summer a lot of my friends and I would leave Hong Kong and go back to Europe or wherever, and that’s when we would hear what music was “in”. So we’d bring that back to Hong Kong and listen to it on a loop til next summer.
Then I moved to France and started listening to the radio. I remember feeling SO COOL if I could name the song and artist playing. But what I listened to the most were Norah Jones, Stacey Kent, Diana Krall, Melody Gardot.. because they were all my mom would put on in the living room. I think these women shaped me the most. Then I became obsessed with sad music like Daughter, Damien rice, Ben Howard, and singer songwriters on YouTube. The more it made me cry the more I loved it. It was the phase where I was just so misunderstood.
How do you approach creating music? Is it the same process each time or does it vary depending on the situation?
It definitely varies. When it comes to my own music, sometimes I write alone on my guitar, other times with a producer/writer. Lyrics are major to me, when I write for myself it’s because I need to express something specific. So most of the time, the lyrics drive the creation of a song. However I also write songs for other artists. In those sessions, I’ll be in a room with a producer and maybe another writer, and we’ll start with melody, lyrics or the beat, depending on the vibe. it’s all about interaction though.
Earlier this year you released “Pity Party” and a beautiful vintage-esque music video to go along with it. Can you tell us more about this track and music video?
Pity Party is about being emotionally wrecked and being a lil dramatic about it. The music video was directed by Marcella Cytrynowicz and shot on film in Palos Verdes. Fun fact, we had initially planned on shooting it inside, but Marcella had a last minute change of heart – so happy she did!
I’m loving your new single ‘Colors!’ To me this track is a self-empowerment anthem. Was it therapeutic to create this song? Can you tell us more about it?
Ah I’m so glad you think so!! Yes this song was really therapeutic to write. I wrote it with my main producer Matt Parad. It’s really about taking control over depression, Something seemingly uncontrollable. Even just performing it is therapeutic to be honest. I hope some people find listening to it therapeutic as well 🙂
Your EP ibynoé will be out this spring. What has the EP creation process been like? What can fans expect?
“Fan” is a BIG word.
Creating it has truly been the best yet most draining thing. My train of thought was basically “I can’t do this – ok this doesn’t suck – ok maybe I like this – ok wow I like this – omg this is sick – this isn’t me – who am I – no, this IS me – ok I love this – nvm I hate this – everyone’s gonna hate this – I suck – I can’t do this” on a loop. But it taught me so much about myself and brought me closer to amazing people. I am truly grateful for the experience, and so proud of this EP.
You can expect twist and turns genre-wise, a lot of personal info, some crying, lots of guitars, that one french song (finally), and hopefully something to take out of it for yourself.
Mental health is something that is really important to us at Femme Riot and we love hearing about how others maintain balance in their lives. As a busy musician, what practices do you implement to ensure your health and well-being are taken care of
Even though I mainly find it exciting, I also struggle with how unstable my career choice is and how irregular my hours are. So personally, I find “routines” to be the essentials when it comes to taking care of my mental health. Unfortunately, it’s easier to fall out of them than it is to set them up. When I’m at my best I’m exercising regularly, eating well and going to therapy. But even though I find those to be the best routines, they are also the hardest to keep up with. It really takes me aback and gets me disappointed in myself when I can’t follow through. So I try not to be so hard on myself, and I set up other smaller routines like drinking a glass of water every morning or reading a chapter/article every night. Little things like that really keep me on track so that when I hit the lows, i have those routines to guide my days and get me through.
Have you faced any challenges being a woman in the music industry? If so how did you overcome the adversity and do you have any tips for other women going through similar issues?
Moving to LA definitely came with a lil slap in the face. I was called into a few meetings only to realize they weren’t interested in my music as much as getting my number. And I’ve had a few uncomfortable sessions. The only times I’ve truly stood up were when it affected something/someone beyond me. One time it was lyrics I found super condescending to women, another time it was the way some collaborators were talking about a female artist not in the room. But when it’s something making me personally uncomfortable, I either diffuse with a little humor or ignore it completely and never work with the person again. I don’t think that’s the way to do it though, because then they just get away with it, or don’t even understand they did wrong in the first place.
I’ve been going to these “Reboot” events organised by Pulse and that has been super inspirational. They get together a group of women in the industry, from top executives to grammy award winning producers and writers to upcoming artists, and we discuss our experiences and different ways to change the narrative. These events really helped me gain confidence in the music industry in general. Made me feel like even in this male dominated industry, my voice matters.
I’m not sure I have the best advice to give, because I’m still figuring it out, but what I would say is work work workkk and support the women around you. Give them opportunities, view them as your peers and not your competition. There are so little of us in this industry, but there is the potential to welcome so many more of us. It is so inspiring to be surrounded by women, and empower one another. Seriously.
Support the women around you. Give them opportunities, view them as your peers and not your competition. There are so little of us in this industry, but there is the potential to welcome so many more of us.
What songs are currently listening to?
Anything we haven’t asked that you want to add?
Just wanted to say thank you for creating such an incredible platform! Love badass women and love that you’re highlighting and giving a voice to so many. Honored to be featured on Femme Riot!