It’s not an easy task to open up and be vulnerable, and it’s an even bigger challenge to accept and make peace with all of your flaws. But that’s exactly what new upcoming Los Angles based artist No/Me seeks to do with her music. In her first breakout single “Consistent,” released under the label of Republic Records, No/Me takes a page straight out of her own journal and transforms it into a musical ode to self. She aims to be an inspiration for self-empowerment and strength and emphasizes a want to stand up for others.
In this exclusive interview with TUC Magazine, No/Me talks family inspiration, her personal mission to empower others, and future projects in the works.
Shawn: So, what inspired you to choose the stage name “No/Me?”
No/Me: It’s actually my Hebrew name. My roots are Israeli so it feels comfortable going by the name that my family calls me.
Shawn: I see that you’re based out in Los Angles. Were you born and raised there?
No/Me: Yeah. I was raised in a small Jewish community where I sang in my religious school’s choir. I finally branched out when I went to UCLA, where I began making music. I experimented in a few bands at the time, starting with a piano/guitar duo that turned into a folk group, which eventually evolved into a rock band.
Shawn: What was your upbringing like? Childhood?
No/Me: It was an odd combination of things. My dad is really progressive and a huge music fan. He would sing Simon & Garfunkel songs to me in lieu of lullabies and would tell me all about Bowie and Bob Dylan, almost as though they were magical creatures. My parents divorced when I was young so when I’d spend weekends with my dad, he’d sometimes take me to house parties filled with stoners and musicians and I’d sing in their living rooms at 3 am – they probably got a kick out of seeing an 8-year-old singing Joni Mitchell songs at the top of her lungs. My mom, on the other hand, is much more conservative and showed me music from a different part of the world. She’d blast Israeli songs in Hebrew and Arabic on the way to school every morning. I fell in love with Middle Eastern melodies and the feisty female attitudes. I enjoy combining both worlds in music now.
Shawn: How was your time at UCLA?
No/Me: AMAZING. I played shows around LA nonstop with my old bands, 2-4 nights per week. The best part is that I still consider them as family. It recently came full circle when my drummer from those days, Joel Manduke, became my musical director and live bandmate. We’re playing our first shows this January and it’s crazy to see how far we’ve each come, musically speaking.
Shawn: If you weren’t singing, what else would you be doing?
No/Me: Oh, I’d definitely be a psychologist. At the end of the day, my goal is to help people.
Shawn: Okay, for those discovering you and your work for the first time, what would you like your fans to know about you?
No/Me: The most important thing to me is to stand up for myself and those I care about – which is basically anybody struggling. When I was growing up, I was bullied badly, but music gave me a sense of belonging in the most brutal times. I hope to create music that empowers people, the way it always has for me.
Shawn: What would you say your biggest influences were or are?
No/Me: I’m a sucker for inner rhyme schemes and metaphors so The Shins hit me right in the gut. I love Nirvana’s angst, Regina Spektor’s quirkiness, and Alt J’s production is so tasty. I love the way they fuse choir boy textures with middle eastern elements.
Shawn: So how were you discovered? How did your deal with Republic Records come about?
No/Me: While working at a music management company, a song I worked on caught the attention of the CEO. He went to New York the following week to meet with Republic about a separate artist he was working with, and played my song to Rob Stevenson, EVP Republic Records. He signed me shortly after. They’ve been great with giving me the time and tools I need to hone my sound. I’m really lucky to call them my partners.
Shawn: What inspired your single, “Consistent”?
No/Me: Oh, that was a very introspective moment for me. I really faced myself in the mirror and saw the good and not so great aspects of myself. I felt like I wasn’t living up to external and internal pressures to be perfect but writing the song helped me target and embrace my flaws, and give less of a fuck about other people embracing me. It no longer mattered to me if people accepted my quirks because they’re part of what makes me who I am. I like who I am.
Shawn: You’ve compared the lyrics to that of a journal entry. Would you say that most of your inspiration for lyrics comes from feelings that you’ve had in general throughout your life?
No/Me: For sure. My songs are my journal entries. They’re extremely personal – the verses in one of my songs in my upcoming EP are made up of texts someone sent me during a breakup and the choruses are my response. Writing allows me to psychoanalyze myself every day, it helps me figure out what I’m actually feeling and why. It’s a liberating process. The scary part is releasing music because as soon as the songs are out, my friends and family get a front row seat to the inner workings of my mind.
Shawn: How did it feel having your song featured on a game like FIFA?
No/Me: It’s been absolutely amazing. For the first time in my life, I have fans messaging me daily after discovering the song telling me what it means to them. There’s no greater feeling than knowing that my song is connecting with people. That is literally why I am doing this, and FIFA helped give me that platform.
Shawn: So, what can we expect to hear from you in the future? I hear that you’re working on an EP.
No/Me: I finished writing my EP! My next single, Savior, is set to come out in late January. I can’t wait for you to hear it.
No/Me’s single “Consistent” is available for streaming on Apple Music and Spotify, and can be heard in the FIFA 19 soundtrack.
No/Me’s latest single, Savior is also available for streaming on Apple Music and Spotify. You can find her performing live in Hollywood late January at Black Rabbit Rose.