Nolen is an incredibly exciting Orlando, Florida-based alternative artist with Jaden, Joji, and Khalid influences, among others. We sat down with him to discuss his music, favorite artists, and more.
Hey! Introduce yourself. Where are you from?
Hey guys, my name is Nolen and I’m an alternative artist residing in Orlando, Florida, but born in Memphis, Tennessee.
When did you start making music?
I officially started making music about a year ago now. Growing up, I learned piano and I was writing songs that I could never get anywhere because I didn’t have the right equipment. When I started going to college, I was provided with everything I needed. I started by producing and recording the songs I wrote as a kid, but then I realized that a lot of them were either too pop or sappy. They didn’t fit the sound I was going for, so it was back to the drawing board for me.
Who inspired you to start making music?
A lot of artists actually. Way too many to name, but the top five I would say are Jaden, Joji, Khalid, a band named Lord Huron, and Bill Withers. All of them have a unique thing about them, whether it’s Lord Huron’s authentic storytelling through music, Khalid’s laid-back, night city vibe, or Bill Withers’ intimate deep, lyricism. I see a huge value in exploring multiple artists and studying their music to see what I’m doing wrong and what I could do better. I’m a huge student of the game and I wouldn’t want it any other way.
How would you describe your music style?
My music style is jokingly all over the place. One second you could hear me doing Alt-RnB, the next I could be rapping, hell you could probably hear me scream one time, but the thing that makes it all come together is the overall vibe. A lot of the music I make is for nighttime drives, summer love affairs, and coming of age self-realizations. It’s a lot in the package, but I love making this style of music because it helps people. On one of my songs, Mr. Nice Guy, I got a lot of comments from people about how much they related to the main topic of the song and how listening to someone relate to them rather than be the person on top, helped them realize that it’s not just them. For people to tell me that, it made me extremely grateful that I decided to go on this long journey in the music industry.
Who are you listening to now?
Okay, I’m gonna give you a solid line-up. Death Cab for Cutie, Childish Gambino, The Weeknd, and Arctic Monkeys. Death Cab for Cutie’s Transatlanticsim album is probably one of the best I’ve ever heard and I hate that it took me so long to give it a listen. The title track of the album tricked me into thinking this song came out in the late 2010s, but when I realized it was made in 2003, I felt tricked, the production was just that great.
Then for Childish Gambino, you have Because the Internet, and if you haven’t listened to that, drop everything you’re doing and give it that listen. The Weeknd is self-explanatory if you’re not revisiting House of Balloons or giving After Hours that 52nd listen, then what are you doing right now?
Arctic Monkeys is the band I’m still growing into, but 505 has had me trapped for the past few weeks. The feeling you get from that song is a feeling like no other. No matter what spectrum of love you’re on right now, you still heavily relate to it. It has this weird magic of putting you in the driver seat of the singer’s eyes and making you relate, even if you have zero experience with what the song’s about.
What’s your best project or single so far?
I think my best single is my latest. I said in an Instagram post before it released that the song and lyrics were 100% me. What I meant by that is the song is empowered with pent-up personal emotions and I had to get off my chest, and the overall topic is interesting too, but I kinda want people to figure it out rather than me telling them.
Any upcoming releases from you to look out for?
Let’s see, we got a few months before Fall, so I would be on the lookout for tons of new music. Spring and Summer are usually when I come to life and when I’m releasing music, I’m focused on releasing music. So let’s see how this goes.
Have any shout outs?
I have to give a shout-out to my fans, my friends, and family. They’ve supported me throughout my entire life about pursuing a music career and I don’t even have to say a word or tell them that I’ve released music before they’re posting it everywhere on the web. It’s rare to have one of those circles and I’m so blessed to have them.