Noah Francis Johnson is back this week with his brand new EP 'Bleed', a "passionate protest song against social conformity" which reflects Noah's personal anger, laying bare his own experiences and reflecting on "widening poles across the planet".
He says: "The song "Bleed" is a protest song, my contribution, my footnotes, my personal experiences and my reflections on these widening poles and awakenings that we are witnessing across the planet. "There's some things I can't do, but there's nothing I can't say, it's all that I got left and you're not taking that away."
A fantastic album with 'Life & Times', Noah Francis Johnson is back with his new EP and we couldn't wait to catch up with him to hear all about his musical beginnings, what to expect from his new music and more in an exclusive interview.
When did you realise you had a voice?
I think I would have been very young - when I was seven or eight years old when I realized. But music was always there, the voice, I've always sang. It was all natural for me.
What is it you love about music?
Freedom, singing takes your mind off all the rules and restrictions, so when you sing, you're not conscious of how hard life can be.
How difficult would you say it is to make a name for yourself in this business?
This is a totally different proposition, Making a name for yourself is difficult if you’re aiming for the same hole as everybody else, you know? A lot of people are trying to be famous. For me, it's more about just enjoying what I do. I sing because I love to sing.
How did you find the response to your last album 'Life & Times'?
The response to that was great. That record was retrospective and what I'm getting is a lot of people are in touch with themselves, and they want something a little bit more than generic formula. It's been really great. Spain is my second home. They really embraced that side of the record. It's about my dad passing away and my brother passing and my 'Life & Times' at this point. I was talking to somebody the other day and they said: 'Normally on a first album what happens is, you just expel all the stuff that's hanging on to you, and that's how you start to write other things and that's when it gets interesting'. The response is adult and I'm pleased with how everything is going.
What can you tell us about your EP 'Harvest Tree'?
The first album was about love and connection, what I wanted to do is give something that people can see other sides of me. It's more about disconnection a protest, political, more conscious of what's going on outside my life.
I just wanted to put that out there. Always reflective – I’m not just one sided, and there's a lot more dimensions to expose. It gives people an insight to how hard I’ve been listening, music is more than just about notes & melodies, music in every sense has limitless reach.
How was the experience of recording in the Abbey Road Studios?
That's been my home now for a few years and has been a learning experience for me - I've recorded in The Village studios in Los Angeles, I've worked in Satai studios in Miami, I've worked in Paris with the Ray Charles piano genius Jean Michel Bernard and I could go on, but Abbey Road has got this feeling of inspiration for me and I am really comfortable there, I have great engineers in Ed Hartwell & Chris Bollinger and of course, there's been some great records made there.
People do say it has a certain buzz...
The buzz comes through the people outside constantly writing on the walls, through some of the best bands in the world including the legendary Beatles. This is definitely the place for me to be inspired to focus and channel my music.
How would you say you've evolved as an artist throughout the years?
Like anything, they talk about this10,000 hours don't they? I think it might be 20,000 hours to make you a genius at what you do. I’m at about 19,000 hours in (smiles). The more you do anything you really do get better at it. I'm watching & listening always so when I write a song I will change lyrics & melodies until it stands on it’s musical merit, until you get more and more accomplished as an artist. You know what's great? After a while when you've done it for long enough, it becomes so natural you kind of forget it’s you. To finish a song these days it takes about 20 minutes for me, when it used to take me two or three days.
If you could work with anybody going forward who would you choose and why?
The man I am aiming to work with now - I've met him a few times and I'm bugging him to death - Quincy Jones, and the reason is obvious, because he's the last of the greats. From all the legends he's produced from Frank Sinatra, Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, Sammy Davis Jnr to Michael Jackson, he is my legend. It would be an honor to be part of that dynasty. I know it’s a big ask but it would be a milestone for me. I'm calling him all the time he's ducking me! (laughs).
Do you have a definitive aim for your career?
To be the best I can be, music is my universe, I want to explore and discover myself through it. If there's any aim it's to be natural, not push anything. I want my songs to show an emotional maturity. To let go, let music.