When Summer Walker released her Life on Earth EP, music-lovers all around the world were asking, who is NO1-NOAH and where can we find more?! With standout features on Summer’s certified fan favorites “White Tee” and “SWV,” NO1-NOAH established himself as a name to be reckoned with in the R&B realm.
Describing himself as an “artist who likes to do different things, different styles of music,” NO1-NOAH likes to focus on telling his own personal stories. He states, “I’m somebody who likes to keep it real to the music.”
Hailing from Astoria, New York, which he calls the 0-2, NO1-NOAH has officially inked his deal with Summer Walker and her label through the JV with Interscope titled Ghetto Earth Records. Serving as her first artist, it’s his distinct voice, unique style, catchy hooks that captivated audiences instantaneously. Kicking off the new year on a high note, he released his debut single titled “Ridin For My Love,” with an explosive visual as he seeks vengeance against his former fling after discovering she had moved on with a new lover.
Flaunt caught up with NO1-NOAH via Zoom to discuss his upbringing in the projects, biggest influences, turning point in his music career, how he caught the attention of Summer Walker, the creation of “White Tee” and “SWV,” inspo behind “Ridin For My Love,” studio essentials, short-term and long-term goals, and more!
Being from Astoria, New York, what was the household like growing up?
There’s different parts of it but where I come from, it’s mostly the projects. Growing up there, you see a lot of things. It was rough, but I kept myself out of trouble. It made it easier for me to keep myself out of trouble by focusing on music. Honestly growing up there was really dope because it gave me a lot of experiences and real life situations that now, I carry on into the music.
What experiences impacted you the most?
Seeing the neighborhood I grew up in, the people that were around me. How we were raised, the situations we were put in that were very difficult. Trying to make it out of those situations shaped me into being somebody who really wants to thrive, and have inspiration and have this drive in me. Watching those certain situations from where I’m exactly from, all of us were really struggling trying to make a way. That really helped.
Biggest influences coming up?
I used to listen to a lot of old school, watching stuff on BET. 50 Cent, Lil Wayne. Later on in life, Drake, Michael Jackson, Usher, all those artists. I had a mixed variety of artists I liked. There’s even other genres I like, but mostly hip-hop and R&B.
When did you realize this music thing was real?
4 years after I started putting music out. Since way back, it’s something I wanted to do for a living regardless, even when I wasn’t making money. Even when I was making a little money off of music, I thought “oh maybe I can do this and actually start monetizing it.” From then on, I figured out this is something I could make a living off of. Venture off into things I want to do and we could start from here.
“White Tee” is such a vibe, what were you guys on recording that one?
Honestly, it’s a fun song. A song that was made for fun. A good vibe, it was pretty chill. Nothing to take too serious, just having fun with the lyrics. Having fun with the wordplay. It’s one of those moments where it feels good.
How did you come with the line, “I’m that n*gga from the 02”?
Honestly, I was freestyling. Most songs I make, I freestyle and state whatever comes to my mind. The first thing that I feel. Saying that line, that’s where I’m from. I wanted to say it in a cool way where I could put it in a song.
How was that whole video shoot?
It was in LA, in California somewhere. I don’t live there so I don’t know exactly, but a bunch of random locations. It was really fun honestly. It felt very natural, very cool to see people come out. They had the dirty bikes riding around, the 4-wheelers. Had a whole house, had a whole vibe. It was a really fun vibe. Everyone was working, but also in their fun element. I enjoyed it a lot, it was a great experience for me. I really really liked that, it’s one of those memories that stick with me.
How did you guys meet initially?
She had heard one of my songs, it was playing in the background of one of her videos she uploaded to Instagram. I guess the people caught wind of that, the fans I had. They were tagging her. She found me on instagram, contacted me and told me “hey, let’s do something.”
What was your reaction?
At first, I’m like “is this real?” I looked, it happened to be a video message so it was definitely real. [laughs] That was exciting, I was excited to be honest. That was cool, having people recognize you who are bigger than you and in places you want to get to. To be able to have somebody in that caliber recognize you.
What did it mean to be featured on two songs on Summer’s Life on Earth EP?
It feels really really dope. A lot of new people are gonna hear me through just that, it felt like an honor to be on there. I hope to keep working after this already happened to prove myself even more. Everyday I’m trying to be better and get better. It’s an exciting opportunity. Some people look for opportunities like this every day and God handed it to me, I’m blessed with that.
What was the vibe for “SWV”?
That song was pretty cool. Initially, Summer found the beat and did everything first. She set the tone for that, I did my part. That vibe right there was to tryna look for one of those chill R&B vibes. We tried to whip one of those up and that’s what came out.
What does it mean to be signed to her at Ghetto Earth Records/Interscope Records?
First of all, it’s an amazing opportunity for me. I really do think this is a real special moment for me, hopefully for them as well so we can all build together. Try to create a nice team of people who are going to work and show their talents, show how talented we are through whatever it might be. To me, it means I gotta go harder now that we’re here.
Why do you feel you need to go harder?
Whenever a situation arises, you get signed to somebody, you‘re under somebody, people are always looking at you with doubt. In order to eliminate that doubt, you gotta keep working. You have to keep trying to put out the best thing you can, the best product you can, make the best music and prove yourself through that. A lot of people looked at it like “okay, it should’ve been me.” You should prove to people why it should be you.
How’d it feel to release your debut single, “Ridin For My Love”?
It felt really dope, that’s a song we made not too long before it released. We didn’t know what people would think about it, but people received it well. I got a lot of DMs and messages from people liking it. Some people think it’s a little different from the style I usually do, but I’m looking forward to showing people that I can do different types of styles. I can bring it back to me, to another side of me. Trying to be versatile and hopefully accomplishing that in the right way. “Ridin For My Love” is a good demonstration of my versatility. As I release more, people will start to understand more the different sides of me.
What different sides are we going to see?
I don’t know yet because I could listen to anything. I could listen to any beat, it could be something totally different. Something more pop, something more R&B, it could be straight rap. It could be melodic rap, it could be right in between. Any genre. As long as I like how it sounds and I have an idea, I get on it right away. I usually freestyle so you’ll never know what to expect. I hope the majority of the time people receive it well because a lot of work and thought is put into it.
Who or what inspired the lyrics?
It was really a story that happened to me in real life at the moment. It’s a really really long story. A girl I was messing with had somebody else and I was willing to ride for my love. I’ll do anything for the person I love no matter what the situation is that happened.
3 things you need in the studio?
I need a lot of water, that’s for sure. I need not that many people to be there, sometimes being alone is better. I’ll even record myself if I have to, by myself so nobody’s there distracting me or I don’t feel like I’m holding back from saying anything. Some snacks, I don’t really eat snacks but definitely some fruits. I like fruits, like strawberries. Sometimes when they have them in the studio, I’ll eat them all. I don’t really need much but water and space really, to focus on what I’m doing.
What other fruit do you like?
I like strawberries, kiwis, melons, those are really it. Grapes! I like purple grapes. Any grapes. [laughs]
Talk about opening the 02 auto body shop and giving fans a chance to win a $2500 car wrap.
The 02 body shop was a contest we were doing. It was a raffle for two people to get wrap for $2500 each on a car. We’re gonna pick the winners and announce them, the results should be in shortly. We should have two people who are gonna get their car wrapped. When it’s all done, we’re gonna show the world what we did to their cars. That’s a nice gift we wanted to do for Valentine’s Day, it’ll be dope.
Top 5 artists in rotation?
I listen to a lot of Future, I listen to Lil Uzi. It’s funny because I listen to a lot of rap music. Drake of course. I haven’t listened to too much music because mostly, I’m working on music. I can definitely put myself on there, just because of how much I listen to myself. I listen to Kanye, Kanye’s one of my favorite artists. Still listen to his music. I still listen to Lil Wayne songs and Jay Z songs, artists like that.
What do you like to do for fun?
I like to drive, I like cars a lot. I like to drive and have fun in cars. I mostly will be in the studio working. Every now and then, not that often I’ll play video games. It’s fun to play sometimes. I’m a regular person doing regular stuff. Whenever I have to go to another state, that’s exciting. I like to travel.
What’s your favorite place to go?
So far, my favorite places I’ve been to are LA and Atlanta. I’ve been to those places the most but I really do like both those places. I like them equally almost. I might like Atlanta more sometimes then LA more sometimes, depending on what happens every time I go there. I like being home too. I’m from New York so I like home a lot too.
What goals do you have for yourself?
Keep improving myself musically. Keep getting my work out there so more people can know who I am. Hopefully try and get an EP out this year, complete that and do the best I can on that to make something really special. Those are my goals for this moment. I have long-term goals but these are the goals I’m setting right now.
What are the long-term goals?
I want to be one of the people that people really listen to and look forward to musically, that’s one of my main goals. I’m hyper-focused on music and trying to be that next guy. I’m hopefully working towards that.
What can we expect from you next music-wise?
Right now, I’m trying to decide what record to put out next. It might be something slow or more hype, it’s a decision to be made. Shortly after we make it, we’ll release it. I’m thinking more of an R&B track, more R&B focused.
Anything else you’d like to let us know?
Hopefully this year, we get an EP out. When it comes out, hopefully people listen to it. I’m looking forward to that. Hopefully people give me a chance so I can be heard, people can understand my story and know who I am.