Artist Interview: 1-on-1 with Noah East

I am talking with Noah East, Indianapolis based piano extraordinaire. Noah is a long time friend of mine and I have enjoyed seeing him play on numerous occasions. He is an incredibly driven musician and is in a great position to become the next big thing from the Indianapolis area. Noah is backed with some incredible musicians on his album and his quality of music speaks for itself. Mixed with his passion to produce incredible music and being extremely humble at that, Noah is a force to keep your eyes on. Noah, it’s so nice to be sitting here with you today.

So tell me, what has been going on with you and your music?

A lot actually. I have a new album, “Bird”, which comes out in a few weeks. The new single is called “Oh Jenna!” It has received very pleasant responses from some radio stations that have already started playing it. I am just really excited about this record and getting out on the road and sharing it with as many people as I can.

You and Robert have done quite a bit of work together. How did you two meet?

We have been best friends since we were kids. It’s very helpful to be able to make music with someone you have so much in common with and you have the same ideas for sons and really vibe well with musically. And having sang with someone for so long our voices really match well together and that really comes out in our live performances.

He did your graphic design work for your MySpace page, too right?

Yes he did. He also did my website as well. He has actually worked with a few other artists as well. He has designed MySpace pages for Eric Clapton, Sara Barrielles , and a few others. He is actually working on a new design for my website and MySPace. It is to better match the new album. He also did the album artwork for this and my last album.

What is your favorite venue that you have ever played?

The Dreamway Lodge in the Berkshires, IN Massachusetts. It is a venue, a ski resort, and a Bob Dylan museum. It is actually where they shot his last documentary. It’s a very cool place. They have 5-star chefs, log cabins, and serves as just a cool place to play music and to simply visit.

Where does your motivation come from?

I think about a lot of things when i think about and write music. Colors, vision, shapes, textures, emotions. I then try to convey them in melody and sound. I I feel that anything you can see or feel can be expressed sonically.

Who is the biggest artist that you have ever played with?

Peter Yarro Peter, Paul, and Mary. He is a really cool guy, too. It was the last show at one of my favorites venues in the country. It is called “Camerata”. It is located here in Indiana. He was very interesting and told colorful and had nothing but rich and wonderful things to say. I I enjoyed every minute of being around him. I have also played with Jon McLaughlin. I am not sure how big Jon is. I played with Michelle Branch once as well.

Do you write all your own lyrics?

Yes. I do play some covers, but I think that music is a very personal thing. I wouldn’t want to sing something someone else wrote for me because I didn’t go through what they did to write the song and therefore it wouldn’t be genuine. I write as a release of emotion, or catharsis, so I wouldn’t want to sing something I didn’t go through or that didn’t mean something deeply personal to me.

If you could cover only one song for the rest of your life what would it be?

“”You Got It” by Roy Orbison. It is one of my favorite pop songs of all time. Just a timeless, classic tune with pop chord structure and the melody; it’s beautiful. His voice is nearly unparalleled by anything in music history. I do a cover of it as a bonus track on my latest album, and it was some of the most fun I have ever had recording.

What toppings do you put on your pizza?

Pepperoni, green peppers, and onions. That is my all time favorite pizza. If you could add tomatoes and make it a deep dish we are in heaven.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

Wow, hopefully five years from now I am on tour making music for a living. I will be getting paid much better for than I am now. But more than anything I want to just be enjoying life. I would like to get married but I’d need a girlfriend fist. I just hope I am happy and healthy and that my mom is still around to see me successful.

What are you drinking on stage?

Southern Comfort, straight, with a lime.

How many tattoos do you have?

Thirteen. I have not gotten any new ones in a year and a half. For various reasons I suppose, I just haven’t had the time or the money. I have some ideas for some new ones this spring through. I am going to make up for lost time.

When did you first play a piano?

About three years ago and it shows. I am not very good. I am just good at making it look like I know what I am doing. I basically just play the bass notes with one finger on my left hand and the melody is handled by three fingers on my right hand. I don’t read music so everything I play I have to either memorize or play by ear. I should really take some lessons. then I might be able to use both hands.

What was the defining moment that you knew music was your dream?

I went to see New Kids on the Block with my older sister when I was like six or seven years old. The girls just went crazy. They were crying, screaming, and they knew every word to every song. And the mus was fun and melodic. On the car ride home I turned to my sister and I said, “Now I know what I want to be when I grow up.” And she said, “What’s that? A musician?” and I said, “No, a New Kid on the Block.” Like that was something you could just be. It was like being a cop or a doctor.

You are headlining full band at Verizon Wireless. Who is your opener?

I would want the best band in America to open up. That band is called the Damnwells. First choice. Then I would see if Bruce Springsteen was up for it. See if he wanted to join the set. I figure if I am headlining at Verizon I might be able to get in touch with him.

If you could meet one person, alive or dead, who would it be?

Either Johnny Cash or Roy Orbison. I imagine it would be like me what meeting Jesus would be for a Christian. I would just want to sit at a bar, have a couple of drinks, and just talk music with one of those for twenty or thirty minutes. They I could die a happy man along with them.

If you were not playing music, what would you be doing?

Probably a career as a second baseman and a lead off hitter for a minor league baseball team. Probably single A since I am a little guy with no power. But I can field with the best of them and I can put the ball on the ground and run it out and steal bases. My whole family is full of a
thletes so I would have to follow in their footsteps.

In keeping with tradition I like to let the artist have the last word. Go.

I just hope everyone listens to my new album when it comes out and gives it a chance. And if you like it support independent music and buy it. Go check out other great independent artists like Robert Mathison and the Damnwells. Check out Cameran McGill, Kathleen Edwards, and Bon Iver, and Josh Ritter. The people making the best music in the world are not people on television or working for the bix record labels. They are people who write and record and produce their own music and tour because they love sharing their unique voice with other people.