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Dublin High School Senior Noah Mac Takes Center Stage on “The Voice”

October 16, 2017

DUBLIN, CA–Dublin High School senior Noah Mac stormed onto the national music scene after his blind audition on Season 13 of NBC’s The Voice. The eighteen-year-old singer-songwriter and self-taught musician describes his style as “fresh, haunting, and uplifting”, with a “modern raw indie sound influenced by old school rhythm and blues”.

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Noah Mac at Dublin High School

A Dublin native, Noah made his singing début at the tender age of seven, with a heartfelt tribute to his sister, Stevie, at her funeral. He sang one of her favorite songs, “Judy and the Dream of Horses” by Belle and Sebastian. This provided his family with much-needed comfort, and also, according to his mother, made them “very proud and very shocked”, as it was the first time they realized his talent for singing. Noah credits his sister Stevie for introducing him to alternative music, a genre he says he might never have listened to otherwise.

Noah quickly gained local attention after his performances at school talent shows, and also starred in Dublin High School’s successful production of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musical In the Heights as Benny in the spring of 2016.

noah_lightNoah says he spends much of his time “writing and recording music in a studio he built himself in his family’s backyard shed”. He produced and released a six-track EP, titled “Light”, in April 2017, which caught the attention of the casting agency of NBC’s The Voice. Noah progressed straight to the Blind Auditions, with coaches Jennifer Hudson and Blake Shelton turning around for him; he eventually joined Team Blake.

Here, this promising young artist shares more about his recent appearance on The Voice and his remarkable passion for music, as he adjusts to his new spotlight.

Neha Harpanhalli: First of all, congratulations on joining the Voice family! Two coaches turned around for your Blind Audition, which now has more than a million views on YouTube. How surreal was that moment for you?

Noah Mac: “It was crazy! I just remember being lost in the moment, and the presence of the coaches completely slipped my mind. So when they turned around, it brought me back into the present. The fact that they turned made me feel so much more confident as a performer.”

Harpanhalli: In your Blind Audition, you performed “Way Down We Go” by the Icelandic blues/rock band Kaleo. Was there any particular reason you chose that song?

Noah: “It felt like the right song. I just think the overall feeling of the song appealed to me… although I know that the lyrics are literally about going down to hell. Tying together the melody, the background music, the high and low tones… it just compelled me to perform the song, and I knew that the overall experience would be enjoyable.”

Harpanhalli: Your father described you as being “made of music”… and anyone listening to you perform can’t help but agree. When did you first realize you wanted to pursue music?

Noah: “I think every kid, at least most young boys, at some point say that they want to be a rockstar when they grow up. So of course that was my mindset for most of my life. After my first time singing, which was at my sister’s funeral, it became less about wanting to pursue music as a career. Instead, it became a kind of escape for me, a way of letting out my feelings. Music is the perfect creative outlet to do that. It became my entire life: just trying to let my emotions out and share my experiences through my songs. As I began songwriting and learning how to play different instruments, I became more involved in it.”

Harpanhalli: Who would you consider some of your musical influences?

Noah: “There have been many. I listen to a lot of James Blake, Hozier, and Sam Smith. Hozier’s writing, in particular, is beautiful to me… he’s an artist whom I aspire to be like. Ray Charles, Freddie Mercury, and Elton John are also huge influences on me. I listen to a variety of music, which I think adds to the different genres that I then put into my own style.”

Harpanhalli: What are some of your fondest musical memories?

Noah: “My school talent shows were huge for me. It was the first time I really got onto the stage and showed my peers what I could do. It was the most nerve-wracking thing I had ever done, especially in those early years. But that’s how my community came to know about my music and support me—through a lot of my high school talent shows.”

Harpanhalli: You say that you began writing songs when you were 9-10 years old. How do you think your lyrics/themes have changed over the years?

Noah: “My lyrics and themes have changed so much! When I first started writing my own songs, I wrote a lot about my experiences with bullying. Since then, I’ve opened it up to many different subjects. I went from helping out other people who were being bullied, to coming up with stories that touched upon different aspects of my life. More recently, I have started writing about myself in more personal ways, using a lot of stream-of-consciousness and free-form poetry. I honestly feel like the quality has improved…. but I still kind of stick to my own experiences.”

Harpanhalli: Last April, you released your first EP, Light. What was the inspiration behind it?

Noah: “I think a lot of my EP was just me needing to release my emotions. There’s a track called AFTD, and it was written at a point when I was just so angry at the world, at everything. I just completely let it out through that song, and then I wasn’t angry anymore. I feel like that’s what music has always done for me, and I hope to continue making music that way.”

Harpanhalli: What is one piece of advice that you have received that you take with you everywhere?

Noah: “I’ve gotten the same message from everyone that I idolize: “be yourself”. I think so many people use the words “be yourself” … and we kind of become numb to it. We don’t really understand anymore what it means to be yourself. I think one of the biggest things that I always want to do is really take that advice and apply it to myself personally.”

Harpanhalli: You describe yourself as a self-taught musician. What are some of the musical instruments that you play?

noah_studioNoah: “Well, I taught myself how to sing when I was 7 or 8 years old. My mom used to own a store, and she had this old piano which she used to keep stuff on. So when no one was in the store, I used to sit down at the piano and teach myself how to play “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” or “Hot Cross Buns”. And gradually, I came across the use of chords and began incorporating them with my singing. Later, my dad taught me little “cheat” chords on guitar, so after learning them, I just kind of took off with it. For my birthday one year, I got a drum set, adding it to my collection of instruments. I eventually moved all of my equipment to the studio in my backyard; I got to bring it all together and create my own music.

“My “studio” is actually a shed in my backyard, where one of my older sisters used to have a room. When she moved out, it was just sitting there, empty. I moved all my instruments in there, and my parents bought me a lot of really expensive equipment—which I’m super grateful for—and that’s kind of how it all came together.”

Harpanhalli: Your appearance on The Voice was met with tremendous enthusiasm and support from the Dublin community and the rest of the Tri-Valley. How can we continue to follow your journey and support you along the way?

Noah: “My website, noahmac.com, is probably the best way to keep up with me. I post regular updates and all of my music, as well as links to my social media (Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram).

“I think the response that I’m getting from my community is amazing. I guess I was kind of scared about how they would respond to me being on The Voice. But the amount of support that I’ve gotten… people are being so respectful towards me and so supportive without being too “up in my face”. I’m really grateful for that. I was definitely afraid that things would get overwhelming, but everyone’s been really awesome and respectful. I truly appreciate it.”

Catch Noah Mac on The Voice, which airs Mondays and Tuesdays on NBC at 8/7c. Follow Noah on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, or visit his website at noahmac.com.

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One Comment
  1. Barbara Haring permalink
    October 24, 2017 12:12 pm

    I very much enjoyed the interview with Noah Mac, well done!

Comments are closed.