For the countless things that the coronavirus pandemic and quarantine have taken away from our daily lives, the one thing they have given back in excess is free time. In the past year, people have used this time to pursue artistic projects. Among the most successful of these quarantine works of art is Noah Singer’s debut album, Journey. The Florida-native singer-songwriter has amassed tens of thousands of streams online. Intertwining mellow R&B with acoustic balladry à la Dominic Fike, Journey is an easily listenable eight-song album that brings listeners along for Noah Singer’s trip to becoming an accomplished musician during difficult and confusing times while juggling the responsibilities of school, relationships, and life.
Noah Singer’s “Journey”: Making Music During Covid-19
Relatable as much as it is relaxing and enjoyable, Journey reflects on Singer’s life during the pandemic. As a full-time law school student, he doesn’t write music about excess or fame; he bears the weight of the pandemic the same way any college student is.
During the pandemic, Singer has been spending time with both his own family and his girlfriend’s, being careful to follow COVID-19 safety precautions. He tells us that he is prioritizing “staying safe and being extra careful moving from place to place” on a video call from his residence in South Carolina where he is attending Charleston School of Law.
Singer describes the difficulty of juggling law school and music at the same time, and the extra challenges added to both due to the pandemic
“I have to do a lot of the PR and a lot of the other stuff by myself, and I’m glad Meikhel does a lot of the PR stuff,” says Singer of the work shared by him and his PR representative, “but just in general it’s a lot to balance. I’m doing it though! It’s fun, writing music when I can while doing school. Music is a creative release for me. I spend all day in class and reading books and then I get a couple of hours at the end of the day to kind of just let it all out, and that’s when the music comes.”
Making Music to Stay Busy and Stay Sane
Singer’s use of music as a creative release is what led to the creation of his new album, as he tells me the origins of the titular track “Journey” and the romantic ballad “Love on the Brain,”
“I was sitting in my girlfriend’s house in New Orleans during the start of quarantine and I was taking my summer classes for law school, and I would get done and have nothing to do while my girlfriend was studying for her MCATs, and I thought ‘what if I just start writing music?’ I wrote ‘Journey’ and ‘Love on the Brain’ at the same time and realized I created something cool.”
Primarily a singer-songwriter, Singer pens the lyrics and creates the beats for his songs but looks elsewhere for the instrumentation to round out each song. This would already be a difficult task without pandemic limitations, requiring the tracking down of and collaboration with multiple musicians to complete each individual song. Even with this laborious process standing between Singer and his completed songs, he derives inspiration from the tracks he hunts down and enjoys the process.
“I’ve spent days and weeks just looking for and listening to tracks. If I hear a track that I think sounds cool, I’ll write a little snippet to it and write a couple of hooks to see if anything sticks. If not, I’ll keep going, and if so, I’ll buy the track and start working on it. I know a lot of people have these books of lyrics and notes of a thousand different documents and lyrics, and that’s just never how I’ve worked. For me, I would look around for tracks, get ideas from the tracks themselves, and write to them.”
Even within this comfort zone of surfing the web for instrumental tracks and building off them, Singer is ready and willing to grow as a musician and to make his sound all his own,
“I’ve gotten the opportunity to work with a Grammy-nominated producer, and in the future, I’ll actually be able to make my own tracks and tell him what I want it to sound like. I can hum out piano and hum out guitar the way I want a song to sound, but I just don’t have the ability to play it on an instrument yet. I’m excited to express that a little more on my next couple of pieces and do more of my sound rather than sounds that I picked up, but I think it’s also great to collaborate with other beatmakers that put their stuff out there for people to use.”
For Singer, making music is not a new undertaking, although being in quarantine and needing something to do served as powerful motivation to create his first album,
“I was a musical theater and political science double major in college, so I’ve always been into performing and singing, but I’ve never really been into the songwriting part of it. This was my first go at it,” says Singer. “I’ve written a bunch of songs before but never done anything with it, so it’s nice to have the motivation to go ahead and do it now.”
Looking to the Future
A music devotee for most of his life, Singer is equally devoted to his studies in law school, with aspirations in the legal field of being a judge that could eclipse those in the music industry,
“I love music, it’s a passion that I have. If I put it out and people want to listen to it, fantastic! They want me to perform shows? Great, wonderful! Am I going to make sure that’s my priority in life? Probably not, because I’m in law school working on my career and my life. If music can be my career and my life, please!” Singer says with a laugh, “If not, I have my plan. Music is there to be a release for me and to be something to help my mental health and just keep me happy, and it’s doing a good job.”
With dreams of being on stage as much as being in the courtroom, Noah Singer is a remarkably put together college student balancing two passions in life and achieving success in both. Whether you’re a fellow student in need of new study music or just somebody looking to escape reality with mood-boosting tunes, Journey is just the right album.