Natural Confidence: J Noa Interviewed

The Dominican phenomenon looks back on her astonishing rise....

To her 227,000 Instagram followers, Dominican rap prodigy J Noa has become a beacon of strength, unity, and resilience to many young aspiring artists across the globe. At just 18-years-old, J Noa has built an unrivalled reputation for her ricocheting flows and lyrical substance. Exuding with a fierce determination she swiftly picked up the title of the “daughter of rap”. From nought to sixty in a matter of seconds, although English isn’t her native language, the Latin Grammy nominee leaves any listener captivated. 

Signing to Sony Music at 15-years-old, music has become a way of life since she was little. Meeting up with the local boys in her hometown of San Cristóbal and freestyling in her past time, J Noa quickly recognised her talent and continued to pursue it. Using her mother’s phone to record videos for social media she quickly garnered views and became viral. Encouraged to make her passion a career, little did J Noa know this spot of virality would be the start of a life-changing journey. Often drawing from life experiences for lyrical substance her storytelling ability has received global praise. 

Now releasing her debut album ‘Mátense Por la Corona’ [Kill for The Crown] curated by award-winning producer’s Trooko, Faster, and RIKE Music, this project consists of 10 tracks that each detail her journey and life experiences so far. Creating 22 songs over the course of one month in a writing camp, J Noa gave several tracks to each producer which would then make up the final project. Engraved sonically with contemporary soul and jazz, the title track is paired with a compelling black-and-white visual and recreates an old-school spy-like movie. Emphasising her status as a global prodigy, J Noa has formed a lane of her own. A testament to self-belief and chasing after your dreams. 

CLASH got the chance to catch up with J Noa following the release of her debut album ‘Mátense Por la Corona’. Speaking all things music, finding confidence, and more. Tap in below to see what J Noa had to say…

I’d love for us to go back to the beginning. Could you give me a clearer idea of your upbringing and how you were introduced to music?

My upbringing was very personal because I learned many things by myself, and my mother also greatly influenced that. It was never necessary to introduce music; it naturally became a part of my life on its own.

Would you say you had any musical influences or perhaps still have them today?

Yes, the neighbourhood, the boys rapping, and my environment. I grew up watching street freestyle battles; those were my influences, the guys from the neighbourhood.

At what point did you want to start taking music seriously? 

I used to record myself with my mother’s phone, making videos for social media with a backing track. One of those videos went viral, and that’s when I started to feel the support. Then people started joining my project, and from that moment I realised that the hobby I had was something serious.

You also did a Tiny Desk performance last year which is incredible, and the response was amazing. How was that? I know you’ve also shot a COLORS performance as well. It must feel incredible to reach these milestones at such a young age.

It was a unique experience because it gave me more visibility on a global level. I didn’t even know about the Tiny Desk platform or how relevant it was for an artist to be there. The same vision applies to my COLORS show, which is also a super important platform.

Another thing I’ve noticed about your music is that you don’t really have any featured artists on your tracks. Is this a conscious decision or would you happily work with other artists? 

I’m just waiting for the opportunity to present itself. Lately, I’ve been focused on my music career. 

Let’s talk about ‘Octavious’, it has an incredible and fierce energy about it. Were there any messages that you wanted to convey with this release? 

‘Arrogant’ is a song named sarcastically for people who assume I’m arrogant. Some people label me as arrogant because of the confident way I talk about myself as a person and as an artist.

You’ve recently shared your debut album, ‘Mátense Por la Corona’. Could you tell us about why you chose that name for the album title?

Yes, the title refers to the main song, which has the same name. It means that I don’t need any crown, I don’t need anyone’s approval; I’m just making music. Let them fight to be number one while I continue making music.

You give the impression of being a very self-assured woman who wouldn’t let anyone make you think otherwise, which at your age can be quite challenging for people. Where do you channel your confidence from?

My confidence comes from always believing that to earn respect, you must first have character and confidence in yourself.

Lyrically, you’ve always talked about issues that are important to you and you speak about a culture that resonates with many others worldwide. In a world where lyrics can be seen as imitations from platforms like TikTok, how important is it for you to stay true to your roots and promote something meaningful?

My lyrics are sacred, and no platform or technological advancement interferes with my creativity. My culture is also sacred wherever I go.

What’s your creative process like? 

Almost every time I go to the studio, I have the songs or lyrics already written on my phone. I can create music anytime I feel inspired; for example, I have songs that I wrote on a plane.

Putting the music aside, what is it you like to do in your spare time? What kind of things make you happy? 

Eating, cooking, and sleeping. 

What else can we expect to see from you this year? 

Lots of music, some collaborations, and many shows.

J Noa’s debut album ‘Mátense Por la Corona’ is out now.

Words: Elle Evans // @elleevans98
Photography: Edgar Nuñez

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