Noah Kahan Paints an Honest Picture of Himself in ‘Busyhead’ Debut [Q&A]

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Photo Credit: Josh Goleman

If you’re a fan of The Lumineers, then you definitely need to keep Noah Kahan on your radar. When the indie-folk singer-songwriter isn’t touring the world, he keeps himself busy in the studio crafting beautiful tunes that have earned him slots performing alongside James Bay and Leon Bridges. Kahan is on a mission to help people be comfortable with themselves in every way, and he does just that with his brilliant debut album, Busyhead.

In Busyhead, Kahan isn’t afraid to call us out on our insecurities as he does in “False Confidence” and “Mess,” two reflective narratives that detail Kahan’s personal history with inner struggles. This flawless album only includes one collaboration, which is the angelic Julia Michaels on the evocative “Hurt Somebody.” Kahan’s stunning vocals are showcased throughout Busyhead, but they’re exceptionally captivating in “Young Blood” amidst the charming acoustics.

The enticing title track of Busyhead is drenched with rich melodies and soothing guitars that lead us into the lively “Cynic.” Kahan channels his deepest emotions in “Save Me” and “Sink,” which are both instrumentally and lyrically complex in nature. “Tidal” may seem dismal at first glance, but the uplifting track actually sees Kahan mustering up the strength and bravery to keep fighting against depression. And finally, “Carlo’s Song” is a special dedication to someone who was once close to Kahan, who he still respects and misses very much.

On Busyhead, Noah Kahan shared,

“I just want to help people feel a little more at home in their heads. I’ve been told my music is a place where people can escape from themselves, and that is something I do not ever want to change or alter, and I did not do that for this record. I wanted to paint as honest a picture as I could of myself and my journey. I’m so proud of this album and I hope you like it.”

Treat yourself to Noah Kahan’s blissful vocals with Busyhead below:

To celebrate the highly-anticipated release of his dimensional debut album, Ones To Watch recently chatted with Noah Kahan about his writing process, upcoming tour, and Busyhead.

OTW: How did you first discover your passion for music?

Kahan: I have been surrounded by music since I knew how to listen. My parents listened to so many fantastic artists and would always put them on in the kitchen or in the car, so I was exposed to wonderful music at a young age. Hearing Paul Simon and Cat Stevens made me want to do exactly what they were doing. I’ve wanted it for as long as I can remember.

OTW: What’s your writing process like?

Kahan: My writing process varies. Lyrics usually come in bursts, when I’m overwhelmed by emotion, be it sadness or joy. Melodies and structure take fine tuning and take trial and error for me. Some songs I’ll write in fifteen minutes and other songs take 15 months. It depends.

OTW: Can you describe Busyhead in five words?

Kahan: I’ve learned to know myself.

OTW: “Mess” already seems to be a huge fan favorite. What does this song mean to you?

Kahan: It means everything to me. It is a song I wrote at a time when I was struggling with really severe depression and was totally overwhelmed by the world around me. I wrote a song about escaping and in doing so was able to genuinely escape reality. It was wonderful. My fans seem to love it, I love it, and I am very proud of it.

OTW: What was it like collaborating with Julia Michaels on “Hurt Somebody?”

Kahan: It was a very modern operation. She sent me an email with her vocals on it and then we had a duet. Sadly, there is no fairytale story where we both sang into separate sides of the mic and looked into each other’s eyes. But I am very glad she was willing to offer her services on this track. Her contribution totally changed its trajectory.

OTW: What are you most looking forward to on your upcoming headlining North American tour?

Kahan: I’m looking to escape from the real world for a little bit and just be surrounded by the people I love. I’m also so excited to play in some of these rooms. I played a lot of them on my first ever support tour so coming back as a headliner is going to be magical.

OTW: If you weren’t a musician, what would you see yourself doing instead?

Kahan: I’d want to work in mental health advocacy or counseling, or be a professional basketball player.

OTW: Who are your Ones To Watch?

Kahan: Check out Henry Jamison, Wingtip, and Sam Fender!

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Photo Credit: Josh Goleman

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