18 Things to Know About Jewish Musician Noah Kahan

The singer-songwriter has called himself the "Jewish Ed Sheeran."

Hozier. Ed Sheeran. Bon Iver frontman Justin Vernon. What do all these folky, popular, guitar-playing artists have in common? If you guessed “they’re not Jewish,” you would be correct.

But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a Jewish musician of their genre and caliber worthy of our attention! We’re talking about Noah Kahan, the 24-year-old singer-songwriter whose star is on the rise.

Here are 18 things to know about Noah Kahan.

1. Noah was born in Hanover, New Hampshire, to a Jewish family.

2. He has three siblings: Sasha, Simon and Richard.

Please enjoy this cute throwback of them:

3. Noah first started writing music at age 9 and learned guitar at age 12.

“The first song I ever wrote was called ‘Wednesday Is The Worst Days of My Life‘ and I sang it at my talent show,” Noah revealed in a YouTube video for Billboard. “And then I had to go to mandatory therapy for two weeks with the school guidance counselor because people were so concerned. It was a banger, honestly. But they just couldn’t understand it yet.

Check out the full video below, where you can also learn an additional 11 things about Noah!

4. Noah grew up in the small town of Strafford, Vermont, which greatly influenced his songwriting.

“Growing up in small town Vermont led me to create music that reflected small town values,” he told Boston University’s radio station. “Isolation, curiosity about the world at large, and the beauty of my surroundings all tie in to the folky sound I try to elicit.”

5. In 2015, Noah was accepted to Tulane University.

Ultimately, however, he decided to defer his enrollment.

“Getting into Tulane was a dream come true in itself, and at the time there had been serious talk about the possibility of a record deal so I was totally overwhelmed,” Noah explained of his college decision. “These two achievements were things I had never imagined myself being able to accomplish, so it honestly was a tough choice. After a lot of talks with my family and trusted friends I decided that though college would always be there for me, a record deal might not be. And so the choice was made.”

6. In 2017, Noah signed a record deal with Republic Records and his debut single “Young Blood” came out the same year!

Also in 2017, he released his wildly popular song “Hurt Somebody“:

7. He has cited his musical influences as Paul Simon, Ben Howard and The Lumineers.

8. Noah has a great review of dry shampoo:

9. Noah made his television debut performing on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” in 2018!

While the video of his performance is no longer online, check out Noah’s Instagram post from that day, where he notes that he’s “excited to make history as the first person to pee their pants during a TV debut!”

Right on, Noah!

10. Noah has referred to himself onstage as “the Jewish Ed Sheeran.” It’s even in his TikTok bio!

But in an interview with Atwood Magazine, he explained their key difference, beyond Jewishness, of course: “I like to think Ed Sheeran looks more like a catfish and I’ve got more of a gecko vibe going on.

11. Noah has opened for or performed with the likes of Ben Folds, George Ezra and James Bay.

12. He’s always asking the important questions of the music industry:

Uh, Noah… that somebody might have to be you.

13. Speaking of albums: His debut album “Busyhead” came out in 2019. You can listen to Noah discuss the album here:

14. Noah has an adorable dog named Penny!!

Please enjoy his numerous photos of her:

She’s perfect and we love her, even though she doesn’t like it when Noah sings:

15. He’s been very open about his struggles with mental health.

I’ve been struggling with anxiety and depression for as long as I can remember,” Noah told an Australian news outlet. “I didn’t know what it was until I got into high school. Then, when I started releasing music and seeing it connect with others, I realised it wasn’t something I had to be ashamed of and that people were actually connecting to my music. So it’s a real thing and it’s a really hard thing I have to deal with all the time and it sucks, and it’s shitty. Sometimes it feels like everyone around me is doing well and I feel like I’m kind of missing something. But what’s great is music gives me an outlet to express it and it helps other people. So [anxiety] has its ups and downs.

16. At the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Noah left New York City and returned to his parent’s home. During this time he also spent one week at a friend’s house, where he wrote and recorded an EP, “Cape Elizabeth.”

Here’s the post announcing the EP, where Noah explains his thought process behind the new music:

17. He’s jokingly discussed retirement:

Extremely relatable.

18. Noah’s second album is due to come out in September 2021!!!

“While writing this record, I’ve taken stock of who I am as compared to who I was when I started and what that means, for better or worse. I do have some perspective,” Noah told Republic Records. He went on, “I’ve also lost a lot. I’ve lost people close to me for different reasons. I’ve lost friendships. I lost my dog. Those experiences haven’t necessarily hardened me, but they’ve made me incredibly grateful for what I have now. The biggest change is a little bit of clarity in terms of who I am and the person I want to end up being. The songs on the record represent a new understanding of myself.

Mazel tov on your latest album, Noah!

Evelyn Frick

Evelyn Frick (she/they) is a writer and associate editor at Hey Alma. She graduated from Vassar College in 2019 with a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature. In her spare time, she's a comedian and contributor for Reductress and The Onion.

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