Music has always been in Amari Noelle’s blood.
Raised in Gary, IN, and having a mother who is a singer, the rising R&B singer found herself gravitating to the art. Although Noelle was initially focused on basketball, she joined a singing group she met during gym class at her performing arts high school.
From there, Noelle found herself exploring music more on her own.
However, without money for studio time and transportation, she was on a tight budget. Initially, she bought studio equipment but found it to be too challenging to learn. The dilemma turned Noelle to leverage what she had — her iPhone.
She remembered making movies via iMovie in high school and figured that she could also use the editing program to make music.
“I looked it up on YouTube and saw Steve Lacy and a whole bunch of other people and they taught me what to do,” Noelle recalled to AfroTech. “I tried it and uploaded it to SoundCloud, and it ended up getting 5,000 plays. And they were like, ‘What studio do you go to?’ And I’m just like, ‘I make this on my phone.’”
After officially making the pivot from basketball to music, Noelle would record for hours on end after work both at home and in the car.
“I knew I wanted to do music after I graduated from college,” she said. “I got kicked off the basketball team in college. I went on a scholarship, got kicked off, and I’m the type of person, if I can’t be successful in one thing, I’ll be successful in another. I had picked up [music] as a hobby in high school. So, I’m familiar with it and people liked me. I was doing it a little, but then when I graduated college, I’m like, ‘I can’t find [any] jobs. I can’t do anything.’ I was working at Papa Johns, and Dollar General, but always working on my music.”
Although Noelle quickly found her groove, thanks to utilizing her phone — she admits that in the early stages of her musical journey she struggled with caring about others’ opinions.
“I can say at first, I was uncomfortable because I’m a perfectionist. I didn’t know how people would really take to me recording on a phone. When I used to say it, they would be like ‘Oh that’s cool, but are you going to get in the studio?’”
Thankfully, Noelle stuck to her “unorthodox” way of recording music because it led her to meet her team at LVTRRAW, a production, and management company.
In addition to securing a team, Noelle landed the support of YouTube after becoming a part of the YouTube Music Foundry Class of 2022.
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As previously reported by AfroTech, the program provides independent artists with seed funding to develop their content and partner support to grow.
“YouTube has taken a weight off my shoulders,” Noelle expressed.
“The most rewarding thing to me is the funding that they put behind it because it gives me an opportunity to just freely express myself creatively without worrying about how I’m going to do [things],” she continued. “The wild visions that I have, because of YouTube and the Foundry program, I’m able to still put those into play and I don’t have to just put them on the back burner.”