Country Next: Noah Hicks
We take pride in introducing fans to country music’s brightest new stars through our Country Next series. Here, we chat with Noah Hicks.
Noah Hicks; Photo by Joel Alexander
Noah Hicks is beginning to make a mark in country music with his songwriting prowess, distinguished vocals, and likable southern charm. The rising country singer/songwriter grew up on a farm in Carrollton, Georgia, and quickly drew interest in music after learning how to play the guitar at an early age.
In January 2020, Hicks, who had just turned 21, officially decided to call Nashville home. And, while people everywhere would soon be forced to isolate due to the Global Health Crisis, Hicks found himself living with a core group of like-minded individuals. They made the most of their time building on their musical craft despite businesses closing their doors.
“We’re all in music somehow. We were able to Facetime and keep each other sane, doing our own thing. Even when the world shut down, we still tried to raise a little hell,” Hicks recalled of taking up residence with fellow artists Tyler Chambers and Dylan Marlowe.
Hicks kept his head down, penning songs with other writers like “Drinking Alone,” which led to him signing a publishing deal with RED Creative Group. He also caught the attention of Rhett Akins, and the two ended up joining forces for Hicks’ single “No More of ‘Em.” The track appears on Hicks’ debut EP, I Can Tell You’re Small Town.
Now Hicks is out with his six-track EP —Tripping Over My Boots. On the project, he demonstrates his undeniably sharp songwriting skills with tunes, including the title track, “Making Up My Mind,” “Breaking Up & Getting Drunk,” “Creek Don’t Rise,” “Different Boots,” and “Back Home Buds.”
Hick’s, who is currently on the road as part of ERNEST’s first-ever headlining Sucker For Small Towns tour, recently caught up with Country Now to talk about his musical background, songs on his Tripping Over My Boots EP, his goals for 2023, and more.
Read on to find out more about Noah Hicks in this exclusive Q&A below…
How did you begin a career in country music?
So, I have a buddy named Reed Morris. He was doing the artist thing back in my hometown. He just turned 22, so I guess he’s a year younger than me now because I’m 23. Anyway, he was doing the thing and already had a song or two released, coming to Nashville So, I was playing backup for him and stuff like that, and one day he called me out on stage. I say stage, but we were tucked into a corner at a local club on the second floor. So, it wasn’t like a crazy show. It was like a little restaurant show. But it sounded alright, and I took a liking to it. So, I ended up singing more and getting offers to play by myself – not just with my friend. So, I started doing the solo thing.
Did you initially want to pursue a career in the country genre?
I always knew good country music songs. I always picked the good ones off of records. I’d come up here and talk to songwriters and stuff like that, and they’d be like, ‘Those are the best songs.’ I always knew that. I always had a sense of what were good songs, and not just radio, just great, lyrics. Honestly, it’s about the art if you want to get down to it. But I always played guitar, listened to country music, and I have always been a big fan of the deep cuts. It wasn’t until I saw people like Muscadine Bloodline, Riley Green, Jon Langston, and Travis Denning, the guys that were coming up. I saw what they were doing, and that’s how I got inspired to chase it myself. I’ve also lived country songs out. You can pick any country song out there and I’ve just about lived it. I’ve lived a very country life. I grew up on a farm in Georgia. So I was starting to understand what a lot of those songs meant. I can listen to songs that I used to listen to now and be like, ‘That has a whole new meaning now, than what I thought.’ But, I didn’t want to move to town until I was 21 because it sucks having to not go out. I did sneak into bars and had a fake I.D., but it wasn’t really – I was still as nervous as all get out. Everybody tells you, you’ve got to be here to play, and that’s 100% the truth.
Do you come from a musical family?
The Hicks, on my dad’s side, are very musical. My aunt plays piano and sings, and my other aunt sings. I’m sure my uncle can sing. My uncle Dwayne plays and sings, and all his kids play and sing. So, the musical gene comes from that side and that bone. I was always around guitars and stuff like that. But it was mainly gospel music. My dad can sing too, but it’s usually gospel music. And so I started liking playing guitar, and music became an outlet.
What was it like moving to Nashville in 2020, when the world was shutting down?
I’m glad I did, honestly. Luckily, I do a lot of groundwork at home and on Instagram and stuff like that. I made a lot of friends, and I was sleeping on relevant people’s couches. I’d sleep at Chad’s house – everybody knows Chad, and Tyler Chambers was living there too. One of my current roommates, Dylan Marlowe, lived there as well. And he had a publishing deal, so he was doing that thing. Tyler and I hung out a lot. We would always chill together, and so did Dylan and Chad. We would go out, and they were always like, ‘Hey! This is my buddy, Noah.’ That helps with networking. So, I got a lot of that done before moving to town. When I moved to town, I’m kind of glad the pandemic happened. In a sense, for my sake, I would probably go buck wild and go to the bars because I had just turned 21. I wanted to rip up the town and make a name. Now I can go out and network. I can finally do it. And I did a lot when I turned 21. But, when things shut down, it forced me to focus on – the publishing deal fell into my lap, and it’s a blessing that it happened. But it made me put my head down. It humbled me a lot. Luckily, I have a great house with great roommates, and we’re all in music somehow. We were able to Facetime and keep each other sane, doing our own thing. Even when the world shut down, we still tried to raise a little hell like us good ‘old boys do. So, looking back and reflecting on my 21-year-old self, I’m glad it happened. I just wish I had spent more time on TikTok. That’s my only regret.
Your new EP is called, Tripping Over My Boots. Tell me about the title track.
So, I had that title in my phone and had a write with Will Bundy and Jordan Minton that day. I usually have a handful of titles, and I said the title. It was one of those things that just fell out. Will Bundy is a talented writer as well. He came in swinging hard with the melody on that song. It was all around a great day. It’s one of those days where it wasn’t a hard day, but we wrote the best song we could that day.
“Breaking Up & Getting Drunk” is another track on the EP. The music video you shot looks so fun! Can you tell me about the song and video?
We wrote that song in about 45 minutes. We wrote four songs off of the EP there. That was one where we were all drunk. We had to take the go cart, and we were going to head to dinner, and were drunk. The story is Will Bundy’s phone just crapped out on him. We were chatting through it, and, as songwriters do, you have a creative and imaginative brain. So we were racking off scenarios of what could happen. Bundy, he’s country as cornbread. I wish I could play the original demo of what he did. It’s hilarious. It was one of those things where I couldn’t even sing it. He started spit firing like this rap. I was like, ‘That’s cool!’ So the song fell out, and we went to dinner. When we were doing the vocals, the fun started coming out. We were doing all of these crazy voices and trying to be different. We had the bright idea to go back down to 30A, and the label was like, you can bring whoever you want. Everybody’s schedule was pretty busy, except for one friend. His name is Will Smiley. This man can drink – quick backstory, I dated his sister in 2018-2019. We broke up, but we stayed friends, and he’s an in-my-wedding type of friend. So, he was the perfect candidate. We did nothing but smoke cigars and drink the whole time I was down there, and it was one of the moments that was cool to bring him along. It was cool getting him to have a little fun.
How about “Making Up My Mind”? How did that one come about?
That was one that we wrote at the beach as well. I did “Making Up My Mind,” “Breaking Up & Getting Drunk,” “Different Boots” and “Creek Don’t Rise” at the beach. We wrote two others that didn’t make the EP, but they’re still great songs. But, it was one where I had the title on my phone. I think I was playing that little riff. But, when you’re at the beach and writing with a bunch of professional people – Hunter Phelps is as professional as they come, Will Bundy is professional as they come, Jeremy Stover is definitely as professional as they come. I would say he’s an old-school professional. He’s the man, which is a good thing. So, when you have a room like that, you can almost talk through the song. It’s weird how that works. Some people are just more on fire. That was one where I can’t remember if it was a morning or an evening write. We wrote about two songs a day. I think we wrote three in one day. But, it was one of those songs where I’m almost positive I had the title on my phone, like 99.9% sure. But, it just fell out, and I’m glad it did.
I saw you’ll be touring with ERNEST. Has he offered you any advice?
He crashed a vocal session. I was writing at Big Loud one day. He came in. I was like, ‘You’ve got good timing, sir.’ It’s one of the things. You can tell somebody all day long that you know all of the right things. This is what to do. But, every single career path is different. With someone like ERNEST, he’s been at it a minute. It’s one of those things where now that he’s got his plate, he knows how to eat it. He knows what to do with it. He knows how to sit at the table that he’s sitting at right now. He never gave me advice, but he didn’t have to. I would watch him in and take mental notes. When he does a pre-show, I stick that in my back pocket. So it’s just using yourself to be aware of what’s going on around you because we’re all on the same moving path. It’s just that people are climbing differently.
What do you want fans to know about you and take away from your music?
I’m just a good old boy. This is something that I’ve dreamed about. Sure, it wasn’t a life-long dream. But, if you feel like you’ve got something you’re halfway good at, even if it seems irrational, chase it. If your thing is to travel the world and sleep in a van, do it. Don’t just think about it. Do it because you won’t know unless you try. So, chase your dreams. This is definitely what I can say, don’t let anybody stop you from being you. I’m just like every other person with the same insecurities and the same everything. Every single person is human.
What are your goals for next year as we close 2022?
I’d like to be on the back of a nice tour for the spring. That would be a great goal, just playing and having shows. That’s like the end goal. I mean, I write songs every other day. I’m writing as much as I possibly can. But shows are the things that are hard to come by for sure. So, playing is like my biggest goal. I want to be slammed. Having a calendar written out a year from now is a goal for me. But, anything and everything I can do and beyond, let’s do it! So I hope this record gives a little lift off to a busier schedule.
Melinda Lorge is a Nashville-based freelance writer who specializes in covering country music. Along with Country Now, her work has appeared in publications, including Rare Country, Rolling Stone Country, Nashville Lifestyles Magazine, Wide Open Country and more. After joining Rare Country in early 2016, Lorge was presented with the opportunity to lead coverage on late-night television programs, including “The Voice” and “American Idol,” which helped her to sharpen her writing skills even more. Lorge earned her degree at Middle Tennessee State University, following the completion of five internships within the country music industry. She has an undeniable love for music and entertainment. When she isn’t living and breathing country music, she can be found enjoying time outdoors with family and friends.