KAMSI Features Noel Scales
KAMSI Mag: Hello, can you tell us a little about yourself.
Noel Scales: Hey, I’m a singer, songwriter, and a Taurus. My favorite food is Mexican—anything Mexican (laughs) but no, I’m a former Temple student. I’ve been singing for my whole life and I‘ve been writing and producing for five years straight through persistently. I’m a cool cat; I’m a cool person (laughs)
KM: Did you produce all of your music?
NS: Well, I write all of my music. I haven’t produced any of my singles. Well, I arrange all my songs, I play keys on a lot of my songs but as far as drumming and other instrumentation, I don’t do that. I have producers that does that.
KM: How long have you been playing piano for?
NS: I have been playing for my whole life but I didn’t take it seriously until – I don’t know. To me it was always a way to further my musical knowledge. I sing and play piano, that’s like one of the things that I do and I have been doing that since 15.
KM: So, you mention you have been singing your whole life so when did you get into the actually singing industry.
NS: Not long ago. I fully dived into the music industry four years ago. Which is was for as long I’ve been singing and producing.
KM: How did you first get introduced into music?
NS: My dad was a rap and jazz fan and my mom was a Prince fan. So, I was introduced from my parents. The music they would pick out for me and Prince was that n*gga (laughs). Prince was the only one.
KM: I know that you dabbled into poetry as well. Do you still write?
NS : I’ve recently written a poem for a family purpose. The poetry helped with my songwriting but I wouldn’t say that I am poet. I’ve written a poetry book called “The Ladies Room”. It’s published in bookstores down south. I’ve done poetry in high school and was able to get opportunities through poetry. But yeah, I feel like the poetry has helped me springboard into being an amazing songwriter. That was what I’ve always wanted to do. It was to be able to create and to write stories. I want to make music for everybody.
KM: What was the most valuable or rewarding experience you’ve had in your career?
NS: I’ve finally got to work with one of my favorite producers of all time at an award winning studio in the greater Atlanta area.
KM: How did that work? Did he reach out to you? Or did someone from your team reach out to him?
NS: It’s a long story (laughs).
KM: What was that moment like when you guys connected?
NS: He text my phone. He was like “where you at? You in the studio? Let’s meet.”
KM: What was your thought process when you performed for Brave New Voices?
NS: I was so young and naïve so I just wanted to go hard. That’s all I cared about. I didn’t care that I was going to be on a show. When I was doing poetry, I did it because I was an angry kid. I just wanted to channel my energy and I didn’t know how so I started writing it down. And that’s how that became what it is. One day we did a slam and they told me I won a spot on a teen show that’ll be featured on HBO. I thought they were joking. Like, you’re lying (laughs). Then next week, they came with the cameras and I’m like “oh y’all deadass serious” (laughs).
KM: Would you say that Noel is the same as today or have you changed?
NS: So much. I’ve changed so much. I’ve had time to mature and understand what I want and don’t want. What I want to do and what I don’t want to do. I am a lot more open, fun, and personable. I’m more spiritual. I’m more intentional. Every day, I try to do better. The only thing that is the same is that I’ve always wanted to do music.
KM: Did you picture yourself doing music for a while now or did something else lead you to this?
NS: This is the only thing. Or a wife (laughs). Just keeping it real (laughs)
KM: Do you have a lot of time for a romantic life? Or is that secondary?
NS: I haven’t but I would like to. I’m not mad about that though. I think it’ll come once I have an understanding of how to balance things in my life. I need to balance it by myself first before I can balance it with someone else.
KM: Have past relationships inspired some of your work?
KM: Which one stuck with you the most?
NS: My song “Excuses”. Everybody f*cks with excuses. When I wrote that, it came like water. There was no effort.
KM: What kept you motivated to this point?
NS: Good question. To be honest, it’s the feeling inside that I know that this is what I am supposed to do. I don’t feel like I’ll be able to continue music if I didn’t feel that way. That’s just me being real. I know this is my destiny. I don’t know what it’ll become but its knowing that I am an artist.
KM: Is there anything that intimidates you in the industry:
NS: Yeah, trying to keep up with yourself and everybody else. Also, creating content that I believe in to where if someone says anything bad about it, it doesn’t shake or shatter what I believe is to be true about my art. And to always be constantly good and being good enough, you know? I’m such a people’s pleaser it’s ridiculous.
KM: How would you describe yourself or your music? How do you set yourself apart from the rest?
NS: I like to believe that I’m the princess of trap soul. I love trap music and I love soul. I was raised singing neo-soul music naturally being from Philadelphia. I was trained as a jazz vocalist, but I love the trap music sound. I love Lil Uzi Vert, Travis Scott, Young Thug and Gucci. As far as production, I love Metroboomin, London on the Track, Wonder girl. I am into those beats, the sound and vibrations. I love the Atlanta trap music bounce. The next single I’m going to release is going to be an official trap soul record.
KM: Which trap artist would you love to collaborate with?
NS: Off the top of my head, Lil Uzi Vert for sure. Second, would be Young Thug. Me and Lil Uzi can definitely do an album, but me Thug can do a single. I also want to do something with DeDe. I would say Future but I’m “future’d” out (laughs). As far as women, I love Jesse J. That would be funky and fun. I love a lot of female artist like Beyoncé, Rihanna, Nicki Minaj. But, I HAVE to collaborate with Janelle Monae.
KM: Is there one album or artist that you can listen to on repeat?
NS: Probably Frank Ocean, “Channel Orange”. But my current one is the Lil Uzi Vert Project. Not “Love is Rage” but the new one, I forgot the name of it. Also, I really like the new Rihanna project and obviously, both Kendrick Lamar’s albums.
KM: What is your ultimate goal in life?
NS: I used to have vague goals but now they're specific. I want a Grammy and to produce a project that is noteworthy, innovative, musical and swaggin. I want to expand people’s musical mind. I want them to think, “This is weird but I like it”. You can get so much from music.
KM: What’s one thing you feel that people need to know about you?
NS: People need to know that I am true authentic artist in every way. Like, I am a weirdo, I am a true introvert but an extrovert for the sake of my job. I am creative; I dig deeply creatively, mentally, spiritually and emotionally. I’m not a gimmick or a packaged album to be sold. I am brand but I am not a product.
KM: So, when should we expect your album?
NS: Ugh, I hate to give a date. I feel like frank Ocean (laughs). It won’t be like that. It’ll definitely be out before two years (laughs). My album would, maybe, be out in fall 2016. I want to make sure I have the right production and step my sh*t up. I feel like it has to be correct and I want to step it up every time. I’m going to drop it when it’s ready to drop. I want to give it a deadline, but I can’t. Nonetheless, it’s going to be an amazing, sonic project. My ep in one word is trap soul.
Interview by Chinazo Enigwe
Photos by Ryan Watkins