Blending elements of tranquil indie folk, lo-fi drums and passionate acoustics, singer-songwriter Noah Trumble, a junior at North Star High School, is attempting to make his mark in the Lincoln music scene.
Trumble’s work ethic has led to the release of two albums over the course of 2020, “dreams.,” which was released April 27, and the latest release, “projections.,” which was released Aug. 30. With goals of live shows, a degree in music production and a full-time career in music, Trumble’s passion for musical creation is equally as strong as his goal to form an intimate relationship with his listeners.
Trumble’s solo music career started with a birthday present amid coronavirus-induced isolation — a MacBook.
“I downloaded GarageBand on [my computer], and then I was like, I really had nothing else to do, so I might as well use this time to create something special,” Trumble said. “So I basically wrote an entire album in about two weeks, and then I just recorded a bunch of it.”
Trumble's musical background originates long before his experiment with GarageBand. Beginning at the age of 7, Trumble received piano lessons from his church organist and a graduate of the Berklee College of Music.
Once Trumble entered high school, he became acquainted with the music department at North Star High School. Trumble is a member of the school theater and choir department, and plays piano for the school’s jazz band. He said these activities aided him in composing music and creating emotion.
In high school, Trumble also began experimenting with songwriting by recording bits and pieces of ideas on the voice memos app.
When the COVID-19 pandemic took a stranglehold on the public’s collective consciousness however, Trumble and his family decided to isolate themselves after Lincoln Public Schools transitioned to online learning.
The added psychological pressure of isolation took its toll, and Trumble said having nowhere to go and being isolated in his bedroom led to an overwhelming monotony that had him questioning if releasing an album would even be worth it.
“I got halfway through the first album, and I asked myself, ‘Is this really worth it to be able to put something out that might not even have much of an impact on people?’” Trumble said. “But I eventually got past it, and as we all are adjusting to everything with hybrid learning, I believe that the more you do something, the more you get adapted to it. … I think it is definitely one of the defining moments where I said, ‘OK, I think I want to do this for the rest of my life.’”
Despite its origins in isolation, connecting with others through his art defines Trumble’s music. Trumble said he was molded into the person he is today by classic rock bands like Fleetwood Mac. He admires the influential 70s rock legends for their ability to form connections through music, reach the soul and affect the emotions of the listener.
“The essence of good music is if it can connect with someone, whether that’s changing their mood or whether that's feeding off of a mood they currently have,” Trumble said. “I think you know you made something special when people have that connection, just like artists like Fleetwood Mac have done.”
Incorporating a personal connection between the artist and the listener seems to already be working for Trumble. Garnering over 880 followers on Instagram and over 270 monthly listeners on Spotify since April of this year, Trumble expressed how many of his peers have reached out to him through Instagram direct messenger detailing what effect his music has had on them.
Trumble shares pre-released songs with his mother, sister and girlfriend. Trumble remarked on his admiration for how his family members and his girlfriend view music as an audience and their overall appreciation for the craft.
His mother, Breanna Trumble, elaborated on the pre-listening process, heaping praise for the work her son has done.
“I can be a very detail-oriented person, and I think in this case that helps Noah with the fine tuning towards the very end of his process because once he’s to that point of the album he has heard these songs in his head and on his computer for months,” Breanna Trumble said. “The ‘projections.’ album had several songs I had no critiques for. He really knew what this album sound was going to be from the very beginning. I’m a proud parent for sure, but I also really am a fan. Even if he wasn’t my son his music would be on my playlists.”
One reason Noah Trumble has been successful in shaping bonds over soundwaves is his personality. He said his style is on-brand with the likes of Harry Styles, with flashy dress-shirts, pastel colors, his face adorned with eyeshadow and eyeliner and polish on his nails. His fashion sense has changed dramatically since the beginning of quarantine. Trumble chalks this up to an increase in confidence and self-worth.
“I’m not the same person as I was when I made my first album, ‘dreams.,’” Noah Trumble said. “Spending more time with my family, reconnecting with myself and meeting my girlfriend has made me more confident as a person. It has made me more genuine, which is why I’m able to be so fluid with things like doing makeup and painting my nails.”
This embracement of style also bleeds into Noah Trumble’s musical evolution. He said fans expressed how “projections.” sounds matured and evolved.
A major reason for this is the shift in genre. While both projects are indie releases with acoustic guitars, breathy vocals and quirky lyrics, “dreams.” features much more prevalence of lo-fi hip-hop. With an atmospheric and ethereal landscape combined with hip-hop and jazz influences, Trumble said lo-fi study music affected how he made his first album. His method of songwriting stayed relatively the same for “projections.,” as Trumble uses guitars and piano melodies to tell a story and fills in the empty gaps with lyrics after the instrumentals are finalized.
“The hardest part for me is the lyrics. I can very easily convey a story through instrumentals, but I don’t feel confident with lyrics despite how talkative I am,” Trumble said. “It’s hard to translate the emotion of the song and the storyline into lyrics.”
Because of this, Trumble said he takes a more abstract approach to songwriting. For the song “running from what’s true.,” he came up with an electric piano melody and produced the entire instrumental before considering lyrical arrangement. In another example, Trumble had written a poem about his girlfriend, Elizabeth Hayes, that wasn’t initially intended to become a song, but it became the track “let’s love in the clouds.” which features Hayes on the harp.
“It was a self-fulfilling experience to produce music with such a talented human being,” Hayes said. “Noah’s creative energy is the kind of inspiration I wish everyone could have in their life.”
As his music continues to gain traction, it can be difficult to remember the element of balancing high school with a budding musical career. Trumble said he tries to keep himself as busy as possible for the sake of dedicating as much time as possible to the activities he loves.
Trumble listed his short-term goal as being able to have his first live show as well as continuing his education at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln for a music production degree. Trumble also said he hopes to release more albums to achieve the goal of forming an emotional bond between him and the audience.
“I want to reach out to as many musical genres as I can to reach as many people as I can. I feel like my songs are very random, but when you listen to them I want people to say, ‘Oh yeah, that’s Noah Trumble.’”