Noah Issa’s ‘Rude Awakening’
At 11 years old, Noah Issa actively responded to the call of music when he started building riddims and writing songs. Now he proudly wears the titles producer, selector/DJ and recording artiste. Making his presence felt with his interesting fusion of reggae, dancehall, hip hop and electronic music, the Jamaican artiste is unapologetically enjoying his journey, which can partially be defined by his potent single, Rude Awakening.
“I discovered my love for music at a young age, so it wasn’t really a conscious decision to choose that as my career, it was just something I really loved to do,” he shared with The Gleaner, touching briefly on the fact that it was his sheer determination which won over his family. “Music is a risky business, but my family realised that I was totally committed to it,” Noah said.
His professional career officially had its birth in 2007 when the music he made was released to the public and played on local radio. “I was about 15,” he said. Following the trend of giving ‘riddims’ names with a quirky kind of appeal, he was intimately involved with the release of the Carrot Oil and Brazilian Wax ‘riddims’, which featured dancehall acts such as Vybz Kartel, Elephant Man and Wayne Marshall. “I didn’t actually name the riddims, but I got my producer’s credit. Anyway, from there, I continued to produce for other artistes in Jamaica while also continuing to write and record my own songs,” the artiste, whose stage name is simply Noah, explained.
He has been quietly establishing himself since that debut production and his career has evolved as a selector with his mash ups and remixes of Jamaican vocals over electronic sounds, as well as an artiste, with the release of his own original singles.
His first release, New Stylie, a fusion of dancehall, dub, trap and experimental EDM, was featured on BBC 1XTRA’s Diplo and Friends, and this has led to other creative and artistic flows. The follow-up, Broken Wings, explored a different experimental vibe, and is described as having “a transcendental feel, with psychedelic textures combined with sounds of the trombone and bass guitar, creating a form of alternative dub/reggae”. Broken Wings is as hypnotic as it is lyrically creative. But, as Noah says, “doing creative work has always been an important part of my life so being able to share that work with the world while connecting and collaborating with others is a real blessing”.
Another single which has been gaining a fair amount of traction is the “deep and trippy” Overdose. Released in February, it was added to a few powerful Spotify playlists, namely the Best Hip Hop Songs 2010-2020; the Late Night Drive and RapTrap International playlists. Noah, who is based in Jamaica, but has “lived in foreign for short periods”, is humbled. “I’m really grateful for the support. It seems like a lot of people have discovered my music that way. Sometimes when you are creating something and you’ve spent a lot of time on it, it can be hard to keep a fresh perspective on it. So it’s reassuring to see music curators put my songs in playlists next to other songs I like,” he said.
Noah’s latest work is the exciting, genre-bending Rude Awakening, which ignites sounds of reggae, ska, and tropical house. “ Rude Awakening seems to be the most popular and has kind of become the main focus. It has the most streams so far,” he revealed.
More focused on writing, singing and continuing his remixing, Noah’s aim is to perform as a one-man band and he has used this COVID-19 lockdown to his advantage. “In some ways, it was a blessing, as it forced my whole family to come together right here, even the ones from foreign. And musically, staying inside is something I’m used to, because I spend so many hours in the studio,” he pointed out.
He has so far only released singles, but promises fans that a body of work, perhaps an EP or a full-length album, will eventually be in the making.