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NextGen Spotlight: Noah Bouchard

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a man with dark curly hair looks to the side in a park. he is wearing a hooded jacket
Photo credit: @eric.aydin.barberini

NextGen Fund artist Noah Bouchard discusses his debut album, 'Love of My Life', the benefits of collaboration, and his advice for emerging artists.

Hailing from Wales but now based in London, chill-hop rapper Noah Bouchard's music is all about expressing your whole, true self.

Receiving a Youth Music Nextgen Fund grant enabled Noah to finish the recording and production of his debut album, 'Love of My Life', as well as the mixing and mastering. It also helped him to create three music videos for the project, shoot five cover photos and support on the promotion and marketing of the record.

The project had been years in the making, a true labour of love that encapsulates the direction Noah wants to progress in as an artist. The creative process not only enhanced his songwriting, but his musical ambitions and visual style too.

Noah delves into the trials and triumphs behind 'Love of My Life', unveiling the collaborative journey that helped to shape his sound. From unique music videos to his side project, Salad Saladson, Noah dives into the essence of artistic freedom. Reflecting on his journey, Noah also imparts his advice for developing artists, that self-discovery breeds authenticity, the cornerstone of impactful artistry. 

What were some of the most significant challenges you faced during the recording, production, and promotion phases, and how did you overcome them?

The creation of this album spans over several years in total and there were definitely a few challenges we faced. I started the process during the pandemic lockdowns so a lot of the initial studio sessions were done over Zoom, which definitely slowed us down at first.

It was my first time trying to create more of an aesthetic identity for a project and considering all the elements that bring together an album, from the sonics to the artwork to the videos and the character of the album itself, which was a big learning curve. I really enjoyed this though, as much as it came with stress and creative blocks, particularly when trying to pull something effective together on a budget, but I love pushing myself in these kind of activities.

I think the most important thing that helped me overcome the challenges was working with people that I have genuine relationships with and who I trust with my vision. This made the whole process such a joyful experience, even in difficult times. I think it was also really important to stay true to my ambitions and desires for the project and allowing myself to take time to get things right rather than rushing.

On ‘Love of My Life’, you have collaborated with several rising artists, such as fellow Youth Music NextGen Fund artist Hemes. What do you find most rewarding about collaborating?  How have the collaborations influenced your own journey as an artist?

It’s one of the best parts of being an artist to be honest. I love the art of everyone I collaborated with on this project and it’s such a privilege to have them involved. I find it so exciting to give them a song and see what they do with it. It can be really eye opening to hear the pockets they find and the way they interpret the song, it can completely change the way I hear my own music and I love that so much.

While creating the project, you gained confidence in expressing yourself visually. How has this growth influenced the creative direction of your music videos?

I’ve also been a pretty shy person so I feel like the visual side of things never came naturally to me. I wanted to create a strong creative direction with this project though so it’s something I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about and working on. My music is all about expressing yourself completely authentically and I wanted that to come across in the artwork and videos too, while finding fresh ways to present it all. I’m more open to taking risks as well (like filming a whole video through a Snapchat filter for ‘Sometimes’) and I’m looking forward to pushing myself further. I feel like I’m still generating new ideas, it’s nice to have another way to create beyond the music alone.

What are your tips for planning and executing a music video?

First thing is to think about what makes you unique as a person and artist and what makes the song unique. Through that you can find your tone and the kind of images you want to portray, and from there you can find your concept and the more practical ideas for what the video will involve. It’s good to be conscious of your budget too and to think about how you can create something special and eye catching while working within that. It may take a lot of reflection and planning to execute that, but often the best music videos aren’t the blockbuster style blowouts but the ones where the artist has really focused on their messaging and presentation even in a DIY capacity.

As well as releasing under Noah Bouchard, you have a collaborative side project called Salad Saladson. Can you tell us more about it?

Salad Saladson is a duo including myself on vocals and Volcano Szn on production (and occasionally on vocals too!). We went to school together and have been making music together for close to a decade now. We tend to make more lo-fi, sample based hip hop and we’ve released 2 projects together so far. Maybe a third is in the works…

Does having a separate project enable more creative freedom outside of your solo project?

Yeah, I do feel that for sure! I think with Salad Saladson I loosen up a bit, just focus on having fun and experimenting with words rather than getting too caught up in grand concepts or emotional think pieces. It’s just a chance to play and enjoy making music purely for the experience of it.

Lastly, looking back on everything you’ve learned, what’s one piece of advice you would share with fellow up-and-coming artists?

Get to know yourself. The better you understand yourself, the better you’ll be able to express yourself and therefore the better art you’ll create. I find the songs where I truly feel that I’m being my most raw and authentic self are the ones where I feel most satisfied with my creation, and often also the ones where others relate most. So yeah, spend time reflecting on who you are, who you want to be and what makes you unique.



Connect with Noah Bouchard:

Instagram: @noah.bouchard

TikTok: @noahbouchardmusic

YouTube: Noah Bouchard

Find out more about the Youth Music NextGen Fund here.

The Youth Music NextGen Fund has been made possible thanks to our principal partners the Players of People’s Postcode Lottery, and support from PPL (Phonographic Performance Limited) and the Dr Martens Foundation. We are also grateful for our vital support from the National Lottery via Arts Council England.

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