A little over a month ago, EARMILK covered indie-pop darling Noé's "Pity Party", the first single off her upcoming debut EP, i by noé. Today, her third release "Color" is out with a dreamy music video directed by Juliette Labrousse, showing off the ethereal French-ness that silhouettes every note like silk.
With a colorful bio that includes being born in Paris, and spending her childhood between Hong Kong and the small French town Aix en Provence, Noé instantly captivates you with an air of mystery that makes you wonder who is behind those soft and dreamy vocals. And perhaps that is the reason behind her debut EP title, i by noé, which also happens to be her social media tag. When asked about the name, she shares that "it's my personality, my feelings and everything in between, seen through my artist project Noé. What I mean is, I try to be as honest as I can be in my music, because being authentic and myself is really important to me." But she also admits what we all eventually come to terms with, which is that "humans are complicated af. There will always be parts of me not put on public display...because I'm learning new things about myself everyday and at a rate where it's impossible to share it all. Thus, I by Noé is a disclaimer of sorts."
Now living in Los Angeles, Noé has been skirting the lines of R&B, electronic, and indie pop and seems to have solidified her most impressive craft with her latest releases- her storytelling. Taking a more personal and stripped back approach to "Color", Noé lays it all on the line and takes control of an unhealthy relationship with her abuser, otherwise known as her depression. But while you may expect the usual self-deprecating approach to her lyrics, Noé decides to forego the "fuck you" sentiment in the "hope that 'Color' is more of a 'hey you'. Because you acknowledge the relationship but don't let it rule you or your state of mind. You take control."
Collaborating with producer Matt Parad, Noé manages to display her breathy vocals with the support of a simple, stripped down instrumental build. The result is surprisingly uplifting, proving that not all personal battles end in melancholy. When asked about the meaning behind the chorus line "everything's in color", Noé explains to me that for her, "depression comes through in waves. And when I'm in it, everything seems so dull. The worst is that most days, I forget it's depression. I think the negativity is just me/my personality. I forget that depression is like a lens filtering everything and that 'everything's in color' when it leaves. So many times I need to be reminded of that. And I'm guessing a lot of people do too."
As soon as Juliette Labrousse reached out to Noé with her vision of the video representation of the song, she was a fan. Every visual in the video is meant to represent different aspects of depression. The imagery is deliberate and hued with different color saturations, bringing the song and its lyrics to life. When describing the experience on set, Noé has nothing to give but praise: "It was truly liberating to feel like I could trust [Juiette] completely and didn't need to do anything other than follow her directions. She's a real talent."
With three singles under her belt, Noé is ready to kick off the spring of 2019 with the highly anticipated release of her debut EP. We can expect a French song dedicated to her hometown Aix en Provence, as well as a continuous stream of raw vulnerability and emotional release in her songwriting. When I inquired about what inspires her the most, she was overwhelmingly honest: "When I get hurt. I have issues expressing any negative feelings. I truly hate conflict and would rather 'suck it up' than confront someone. So I write a song because I'm trying to say something. Nothing gets me writing like a build-up of internalized emotions." And while I do not wish struggle and conflict upon anyone, I do wish that Noé keeps finding more reasons to write. Because as long as we have her beautiful songs to listen to, everything can remain in color.