Noah Richardson is a rising artist from Philadelphia and alumni from West Chester University, class of 2021. He released his first single, “lowercase letters” in 2021 and has shown no signs of slowing down soon.
Molly: Tell me a little bit about how you got started in music?
Noah: I really began with music [when] my mom forced me to do music when I was a kid. And I was like I want to do sports, like I played sports and all that stuff, and I know I didn’t want to do music originally. It was in like second grade I think I did it. But, when I did it, I realized I love performing and singing and like songs and just learning music in general.
Molly: Let’s talk “Painful,” your most recent single. It reminds me of Silk Sonic, Bruno Mars and Dominic Fike’s sound. Can you tell me a little bit more about that song and the songwriting process?
Noah: Honestly, this was probably one of my favorites to write because I worked with two, probably three people including my producer, of the most gifted people that I ever worked with. [I also worked with] my friend Dylan Korman and my friend John Minehart. Dylan played guitar and John played bass. Basically, we were supposed to be practicing for shows and it never worked because everytime we would meet up we would write a song that we really liked within the first 20 minutes. We would start practicing something and then they would get into some sort of groove. So, in the terms of “Painful,” they just started playing this chord progression and it was just so infectious it became this groove. Then I just had this hook in my head. It was just like, “You gonna make this painful,” and I kept singing it over and over again. I remember in the middle of Dylan’s apartment, we were standing in his living room in a circle, in some weird kind of ritual sense, and we were dancing to this song, like really weird. But, it wasn’t even anything yet. We all just kind of looked at eachother like, “At the end of the day, this is really special, we feel something in this room right now. We need to record this.” So, we recorded it and the rest of the night we just kind of went through the song. I sang over top of it and wrote the lyrics, everything like that, and it all came out. It was beautiful.
Molly: So that all happened in one night?
Noah: Yeah so, everything happened in one night. The demo of it happened in one night; the melody, everything was all there, the hook, the pre chorus was there. I just didn’t have all the words for the verses. So, the verses were kind of just like something I kind of learned from John Mayer actually. It was like an interview he had with Zane Lowe; I don’t know if you know who Zane Lowe is.
Molly: Oh I literally used that video in a presentation like two weeks ago.
Noah: Dude, yeah, that video is like gospel. Basically, I don’t know if you remember when he talks about as soon as you pick up the guitar, like just start mumbling whatever comes out of your mouth, if you don’t do that, you’re wasting your time. That has struck home with me with everything that I do. I just started, once I got onto the mic, I literally just started [singing] anything that was coming out, just started pouring out of me. Which is a good thing because you kind of just turn your brain off and just stream of consciousness. You know, everything that you want to talk about, which is cool.
Molly: I love that. How do you think your style or your sound has evolved from your first single till now?
Noah: From “lowercase letters” till now. Which is funny, because writing that song, I don’t know if that was supposed to sound that way. It kind of morphed into that. Around the time that I first wrote that song, I really wanted to be an Americana artist. Like I really wanted to be like acoustic, like blues, like Jack Johnson, like that kind of stuff was really what I wanted to do and it’s completely different now. I really didn’t want to do anything with electronic instruments or super crazy production or anything. I wanted a Jason Mraz kind of sound. But, then I started getting into like Dominic Fike, Brockhampton, Clairo, all the kind of up-and-coming artists that a lot of people our age listen to. I really got into them and their production and their influences. Then I kind of was like, “Dude, I like so much music, I can’t not pull from all these things.” So then, I started learning production myself, and I was like, “Ok cool.” That’s when I started making the sound I really wanted.
Molly: As a recent West Chester graduate, do you have any advice for anyone at West Chester or graduating soon?
Noah: If you are on a path you don’t want to be on, it’s not too late to change your path. I was going to be a doctor; I was a pre-med student and I literally changed everything, did a complete 180 into being a songwriter starting really from the ground up, halfway through college. I’ve worked my ass off and everything. I’m grateful to have had the experience I have and meet the people that I have. But if you work really hard, and actually believe in it, and this stuffs not cliche, if you really work hard and feel like you can do it, you can literally do anything.
Noah is releasing a brand new single, “Baby Talk” May 6 and is currently gearing up for a much bigger announcement. For updates follow his Instagram @noahriichardson and use the link pre-save “Baby Talk” on Spotify.
Molly McShane is a fourth-year Media & Culture major with a minor in Journalism. firstname.lastname@example.org