Noah Kahan is a singer-songwriter on the up-and-up in the folk music scene, focusing on storytelling and driven by his humble roots from a small town in Vermont. His single, “Hurt Somebody,” helped expand his fame far outside his hometown, gaining over 1.4 million streams on Spotify in less than a week. He’s opened for artists like Ben Folds, Milky Chance, and the Strumbellas, and will be opening for George Ezra at the House of Blues on April 22. WTBU DJ Monica Sucic asked him a few questions about his favorite places to write, his inspirations, and his reaction to his recent rise to popularity.


Monica Sucic: How did growing up in Vermont influence your music?

Noah Kahan: Growing up in small town Vermont led me to create music that reflected small town values. Isolation, curiosity about the world at large, and the beauty of my surroundings all tie in to the folky sound I try to elicit.


MS: Do you think your music would be different if you had grown up in a city?

NK:  I think there would be different sounds and influences, but I believe that folk music is the most beautiful thing in the world. I would try to be involved in its creation no matter where I was.


MS: Does nature influence you as a songwriter?

NK: Nature absolutely influences me as a songwriter. I live on a tree farm in Vermont and the grand scale of trees and wilderness is something I try to understand and explore through songwriting.


MS: Where’s your favorite place to write songs?

NK: I like to write back home in Strafford where I feel like a normal kid again!


MS: How do you cope with challenges or writer’s blocks you may face while writing songs?

NK: Writer’s block is a term that I think is unreasonable and unrealistic. The reality is that although a writer might not be creating their favorite content, they are still ultimately able to write. The idea of being “blocked” by some unseeable force is really just a common feeling of being creatively exhausted in technique or inspiration. When I struggle creatively, I try to remember what my mother, who is an incredible writer has always told me; write exactly what you are feeling. If I feel as if I am out of ideas, or empty, or afraid of not meeting a deadline, I turn that very emotion into a song. That way I am never truly out of ideas.


MS: Who are some artists that inspired you to pursue music? 

NK: Bon Iver, Cat Stevens, and Bright Eyes played a huge role in me wanting to write songs. They made it seem so achievable. Their music is full of beauty and imagery, and I wanted to be able to create what they do.


MS: Who has been your favorite artist to tour with so far?

NK: I have loved every artist that has brought me on tour. I had a very special connection with LP, who was an amazing mentor and person. I am forever grateful to her for bringing us along.


MS: Who’s an artist that you would dream of touring with?

NK: I would love to tour with Ben Howard or Hozier. Or Gucci Mane.


MS: How did you react to the success of “Young Blood” as well as the success of “Hurt Somebody”? 

NK: I am in a state of surreal shock; it is unbelievable how well these songs have done and how much they have connected with folks. Constantly impressed and grateful.


MS: Can we expect an album any time soon? 

NK: You can, coming this year.