Theres a mysterious thread connecting The Weeknds dystopic, album-closing ballad Angel from Beauty Behind The Madness and Kygos electric single Stay a distinctive, sultry vocal belonging to eighteen-year-old Maty Noyes whose voice has a kind of old-souled texture and whose songwriting abilities are well beyond her years.
Noyes has always been a free spirit. A dreamy, music-obsessed kid, Noyes was barely out of elementary school before committing her life to music. Hungry for adventure with fearless abandon, Noyes set out to pursue her passion with uncanny resolve. I just knew, she remembers. I knew school wasnt for me. I knew staying in a small town wasnt for me. I knew my life was going to happen somewhere else. It was less that she was running away from a bad or troubled life she had good friends and a close family but more that she was responding to a genuine calling. She needed the freedom to delve deeper into her talents and fully get in touch with her distinctive, sultry indie pop sound.
Some people are just born to the artistic life. It was one of those cosmic things, Noyes says of her early connection to music. Ive been writing songs for as long as I can remember. Childhood piano lessons led to the guitar, which led to twelve-year-old Noyes playing gigs in their small Mississippi town. I wanted to play all the time, it was like an addiction, she remembers. The eighteen-year-old says she looked to the greats while aspiring to become the artist she is today, "I admired the legendary Etta James and Billie Holiday for their raw vocals. I was also looking up to modern music icons like Alanis Morissette for her honest lyrics, Amy Winehouse for her pure heart, and Madonna for being the baddest bitch in the game."
Upon visiting Nashville for the first time at age eleven with her guitar in hand, Noyes intuitions were confirmed as she played on the street among the citys palpable creativity. She then convinced her parents to let her move out of their home and into her own place in Nashville when she was sixteen. "I never felt like I fit in a small town, she describes. I love everyone from there, but I need the diversity of a big city. She cut her teeth in music city, gigging a lot and connecting with her management team. But Nashville was just a stopover - both literally, in that shed soon relocate to Los Angeles - and also figuratively in that its against every bone in her body to be tied to one genre or one form. As much as Noyes is inspired by the American songwriting greats, shes a decidedly modern artist, as drawn to the idealism and emotional expressiveness of her generations identity as she is tied to the classic rock and roll or soul iconography. What Noyes is aiming at, really, is a kind of all-inclusive elusiveness; shes a singer with Marilyn Monroe-like mystery and Madonna-like emotional transparency.
Noyes debut single, In My Mind, co-written with William Wiik Larsen may be the best showcase of this intoxicating pairing of honest songwriting matched by the hazy mystery carried in her distinct vocal presence. Over a simple guitar lick and a palpable beat, the lyrics drip off Noyes lips effortlessly. Shes challenging a lover for questioning her loyalty, openly confessing her vulnerability while still maintaining a cool, enigmatic confidence. In My Mind falls in the same, undeniable vein as Stay, the hit single Noyes also wrote with Larsen. The powerhouse combination of Noyes songwriting and vocal prowess combined with Kygos dance-hall ready production made Stay an international success. The song hit number one on the Billboard's Dance Airplays Chart and number two on the iTunes US Dance Chart.
But beyond the numbers, what Noyes music reaches is a primary connection to the message of love and compassion, the through-line in all her music. I, like a lot of people in our country right now, am feeling downtrodden and bossed around, told what to do, Noyes says. I want to make songs that show love can triumph over hate. Shes working every day on new material, borrowing a bit from one genre and blending it with another, constantly looking for new ways to explore her art and her central theme. I dont believe in limits, says the singer of her chameleonic sound. Any day I go into the studio, I could come out with something disco or super poppy or it could be a soul song. I am all about pushing boundaries, breaking through limitations and avoiding boxes. For me, I want contradictions to define me. Because contradictions challenge me to be undefinable, to be more tomorrow than I am today.