After years behind the scenes, New Zealand's Rory Noble steps out on his own
He's worked with everyone from Ruel to Kanye West, but now, Rory Noble has his sights on his own sound.
In 2019, we posted an observation about how songwriters and producers found behind-the-scenes were beginning to enter the spotlight themselves, as shown through the then-developing solo careers of Sasha Alex Sloan, Benny Blanco, Leland and Australia's own M-Phazes. It's become evergreen content in a way, with more and more artists reduced to credit sections now stepping forward with music of their own - especially with artists having more time than ever thanks to the pandemic, and the lockdowns it imposed on touring over the last two years.
It's something that New Zealand-based musician Rory Noble can relate to, most likely. Over the last five years, he's developed a track record as one of the country's most esteemed and blossoming producers, working alongside international heavyweights all while uplifting, supporting and collaborating alongside other Aotearoa-based artists. He's grown in both prowess and popularity over this time, to the point where now - in 2021's latter months - he's someone constantly showcasing his presence as a multi-talented musical threat, with his fingers in many artistic pies.
One second, he'd be enlisted by Kanye West for his Nebuchadnezzar opera project - something which came to fruition after being asked by Perth-born collaborators FnZ to work on Kanye's Jesus Is King record. The next, he'd be enlisted by everyone from Tinashe to newcomer Claire Rosinkranz, before returning back home for co-writes and production credits alongside Ruel (for Bright Lights, Red Eyes), Niko Walters, Genes and more.
Now, however, Rory Noble is toying with music of his own, launching his solo project with its debut single Team last year.
"Over the last four-five years working as a producer, I’ve always written songs for myself and always had this idea of putting out stuff. I used to joke about it. I didn’t think it would ever happen and now… it is," he told Cool Accidents on launching his solo work. "Producing for other artists - having to be that sort of translator for other people - and now doing it for myself… it’s been a weird experience. But I think my debut track, Team, summed it up as a good starting point for my artist project. It’s also pretty me. It’s got all the instruments I play on it."
Team was a single that strived to showcase Rory Noble's strengths across every area in which it thrives, further emphasising the songwriting and production which drives a lot of his work behind-the-scenes but with a bit more of a personal and intimate touch. Then, there are the vocals that intertwine themselves amongst Rory's hand-crafted production, the lyricism being a first for Rory Noble as he steps out of his comfort zone and uses his own personal project as a chance to experiment and deepen his skillset beyond what he's capable of showing as a behind-the-scenes go-to.
It's something that continues with the release of his second solo single High Again, which with its release on Friday just gone, makes it two-for-two from the musician as he continues to step out of his artistic and personal shell with everything he puts out. High Again continues to float towards the genre-less mix of sounds debuted by Rory a year ago, moulding together touches of hip-hop, electronica and indie on the single's swerving, texture-defying production. There are also the vocals that come over the top, encompassing a more pop-centric sound with flourishes of R&B scattered amongst it - High Again being a really forward-thinking mix of sounds.
It's a testament to Rory's work over the years, which as we alluded to before, switches between different sounds and genres depending on the artist he works alongside. Now, it's something that's present in music of his own. You can hear the butter-smooth vocals of Ruel amongst Rory's own; the jagged indie-pop edge of someone like Claire Rosinkranz in High Again's own production; the forward-thinking and experimental prowess of Kanye and DJ Mustard layered amongst the song's hip-hop tapestries - it's all there.
The new single also comes with the announcement of Rory's debut EP WHERE DO WE GO WHEN THE WORLD ENDS, scheduled for release next year. Following suit from Team and High Again, WHERE DO WE GO WHEN THE WORLD ENDS is bound to be a forward-thinking capsule of tracks that further signify Rory Noble's creative strengths; those that he's shown many times over the years and those - like his vocals - which are only just now beginning to see the light thanks to music of his own.
"The project represents stories of the last three years of my life, and a lot of the times when anxiety was ruling my head. For me, it's a vent," he teases of the project, with more information to come. "I hope other people can hear that I’ve been through all sorts of crazy situations but I'm still standing, breathing and here to tell the tale. I just want to put out the most interesting music I can, regardless of genre."
High Again is a brilliant start to that, and you can check it out below: