Written by Kelly Holm
For Oklahoma-born singer-songwriter Noah Barlass, the climb to stardom has been up and down.Music was the path he’d been pursuing all his life, but, at points, he needed some time away from the spotlight in order to fully realize his true passions.
“[I’ve known I wanted to be a musician since] the womb,” Barlass said. “I actually can’t remember a time where I wanted to do anything else. Even as a toddler I knew I just wanted to sing to people.”
Barlass started performing in church at the age of five, giving a cappella renditions of old-school hymns like “Father, I Adore You.” By six, he was writing his own music, although he says he didn’t write a serious song he was truly proud of until he reached his teen years.
“I was 14. It was all about people hurting and how we all just need love,” he says of that original song. “Cheesy, I know.”
But by 15, Barlass was professionally cutting records, including one consisting of original music co- written with Nashville big names. He toured around the country and his upward trajectory seemed to signal that he was living the high life. This initial success, however, was just one peak in Barlass’ overall journey.
“I was an artist when I was a kid till I was 17. I eventually stopped performing because I wanted to
discover my sound,” Barlass shared. “That led to a huge journey of self-discovery and lows that shaped me.”
During his three-year hiatus from public life, Barlass left his rural hometown and underwent what he describes as “the classic ‘I moved to LA and lived out of my car’ story.” Eventually, he found his way to the second season of Fox’s reality singing competition The Four: Battle for Stardom, where he was a contestant in 2018. It proved to be just the vehicle Barlass needed to re-launch his career.
“Fergie [The Four’s host] called my voice insane,” he said. “I am still dying from that.”
During his time competing on the show, Barlass dabbled in the ecclesiastic roots of his youth, delivering a soul-soaked take on Zedd, Maren Morris and Grey’s “The Middle” backed by a gospel choir.
“We artists are constantly changing and growing,” he mused, “but instead of changing I would say I have put my focus more on trying to refine the artistry that was already there.”
His catalog of influences has expanded to include modern-day hip-hop and R&B as well, such as Brandy, Ro James and Beyonce.
“Watching videos of Beyonce perform at the Glastonbury [Festival] changed my life,” he tells Elicit. “That crowd, that energy… that’s the ultimate goal.”
Barlass says the most significant lesson he’s learned from The Four is to focus on protecting his energy: a commitment that’s difficult, but important in a time when much of the showbiz realm is at a standstill. He promises to keep himself occupied, though, with upcoming projects and plenty of coffee. His latest song, “Misunderstood” premiered on Elicit Magazine a few weeks back and is an emotional rollercoaster of wanting to be successful, while dealing with insecurities.
“Life can suck. I want to make positive music that inspires change,” he says. “I want to make sexy songs that make people escape, and I want to make sad songs to show people that they aren’t alone… don’t be afraid to ask for help.”
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