out perform // outlast // out work
Something I really value in this life is peace. I’m all for the occasional adventure and excitement, but when it’s all said and done I just want to return to a place where I can rest and think. My first encounter with Leah Nobel’s music came during one such time. I was sitting on my porch listening to some new music when Joshua Tree began to play. For the next few minutes, I didn’t move. I didn’t think. A calm washed over me like I hadn’t felt in a very long time. When the song ended, I was startled. I realized that I couldn’t recall a single word, like I had fallen asleep while still awake. The second time, I was ready. I listened to Joshua Tree with a purposeful attention to the lyrics. A simple line kept floating around in my head as I did, “If there’s a way I’ll find it”. I shut everything off for a while. No music, no laptop, no phone. Just me on my porch thinking “If there’s a way I’ll find it.” Then it hit me- with this simple line, Nobel, still unaware that I would be contacting her for an interview, had found her way to me. The combined power of the borderline-otherworldly beauty of Joshua Tree and its genuine, heartfelt appeal moved me. It lifted me up. I felt better for having listened. That sealed the deal for me, and I knew that I would be lucky to feature this woman among our past assembly of movers and shakers. It was a pleasure to be able to speak with Leah Nobel about her music and her journey.
Aw, well I am glad it made you feel relaxed. That was the goal. I can’t say I listen to my own music much for pleasure, let alone to relax. My go to calm-down tunes are anything by Austin band Balmorhea or James Vincent Mcmorrow.
I actually don’t really carry that sentiment into my writing. For the most part, I try to be a vessel for the song. If the song is supposed to be, it finds a way to me. I never go looking. I know this sounds a little “woo-woo” but I have always found that if I am trying too hard to make a song work, or be “good” it never turns out well.
It’s hard. It’s very difficult to make a living from art in general, especially for us indie creatives. When you choose to pursue art, you are sacrificing stability in many realms of your life. And if you’re an artist that chooses not to make art a priority, you are also sacrificing little bits of your soul. It’s a catch 22. I have two other jobs besides music, and many of my fellow indie musicians have 9-5 jobs they work during the day and play their gigs at night. If it’s worth it to you, you learn how to make it work.
Actually, I have yet to reach those “ready to quit” moments when it comes to my music. I’ve had a lot of “why on earth did I choose this impossible industry?!” moments and “what the heck am I doing?!” moments but have yet to hang on the cusp of quitting. Even if I can’t ever make a living from music, I will always have it. I love it too much to give it up. In the moments I am feeling down, it usually just takes a few days for my frustration to pass. Maybe I’ll go for a walk, or do some yoga. Sometimes I just have to cry it out or call my Mom for a therapy session.
I would like it to foster connection between people in a positive way. I would like it to sooth and calm. I would like it to help people feel however they need to feel whether it be happy or sad.
If you want it, give it the best try you can. But if you get to a point in the road where it becomes torture or simply just something you don’t want anymore, it’s okay to change your mind and do something different. Like I said, if music can’t be a career, that doesn’t mean that you have to give up creating it.
I don’t know how to answer this question other than saying that I feel in my gut that I’m supposed to be doing this. I love singing. And I love music. It brings me a lot of joy.
I’ve dealt with some hefty bouts of performance anxiety. It has come and gone ever since I started performing music. There have been times when I felt very crippled by it and noticed that it was starting to suck the joy out of performing. Overcoming those mental obstacles and negative self-talk is something I’m very committed to. I still have a long way to go, but I’ve made great progress.
I would love to perform a song while Malece Miller dances. I think she could dance amazingly along to ‘Joshua Tree’.
I love R&B!
Leah Nobel can be found performing near Austin, TX. Anyone who would like to visit one of her shows should visit www.leahnobel.com/shows/ to see where she’ll be heading next! I also want to encourage all of our readers to give Joshua Tree a listen by clicking here. If you like what you hear, Nobel’s full EP Strangers Again is now available for purchase on iTunes! Guaranteed to be the perfect soundtrack to your relaxation.
Thanks for reading! I’m Chancy Johnson, proud to bring them~
Out of the Woodwork.