It’s easy to believe in Noah Schnacky.
His music is earnest, his smile is captivating and his mission is much bigger than simply trying to be the Next Big Thing.
“My generation feels disconnected,” the 22-year-old singer/songwriter says. “There's more connection through social media, but there's more loneliness than ever before. I hope to be a part of the reason that goes away.”
In its best forms, music can be a communal experience, especially when it’s built around one artist telling a personal truth that overlaps with everyone else’s personal truth.
That’s what Noah Schnacky does. Whether he’s embracing risk in “Maybe We Will,” pleading for reparations in “Comeback” or pledging patience in “Hello Beautiful,” he’s creating a body of work that looks at young love with uncommon maturity, and it’s quickly created a solid core of followers.
He self-released his first official single, “Hello Beautiful,” on his 21st birthday – Jan. 27, 2018 –and crossed one million streams in the first eight days. Quickly catching on in the streaming world - he began to amass a grassroots core of over 500,000 fans - which anchored an army of believers.
The “anchor,” meant as a symbol for the community he is creating, can be found throughout his social media accounts. “The idea,” he says, “was to create a culture that could anchor itself together. So now there's thousands of people who all identify with the anchors by their names and have connected on social media and become great friends because of that common interest in the music.”
And no one connects like Noah Schnacky. For about four years in his teens, he doggedly learned new cover songs, adapted them to his own personal style and posted videos of those performances. For 3-4 hours daily, he engaged in direct messages with fans over the music.
Once “Hello Beautiful” was in circulation, he took the connection a step further. He got permission from one fans’ parents to surprise her, and he knocked on her door to deliver an acoustic performance of “Hello Beautiful.” She melted – thanks to the earnest music and the captivating smile – and video from the personal pop-up show went viral. Schnacky has gone on to find other extreme ways to surprise his fans.
“I just wanted to show people that I care,” Schnacky suggests. “The ‘Hello Beautiful’ promotion strategy – for lack of a better term – really was just us trying to be good to other people.”
Born in Minneapolis, raised mostly in Orlando, Noah got serious about chasing country at a young age. He wrote his first song, about a girl in his sixth-grade class, when he was 12 years old. “It was so lame,” he says with a laugh. Still, it came direct from his own life, and he continued to write from a personal perspective. “Hello Beautiful,” was the first song that Schnacky felt fully hit the mark.
“It was genuinely my story,” he says. “It was from a vulnerable place, it was the storytelling that I love, and it was one of those songs that kind of fell out of the sky and was exactly what I was hoping to say about myself.”
The years in between age 12 and 21 were focused. Schnacky built his guitar skills and generated his audience with regular online covers of artists and songs that inspired him. And he visited Nashville periodically to network and do the occasional recording session.
Back in Florida, Schnacky would continue to create music and grow his following, consistently connecting with his fans online. Inspired to give more of his time to helping others, he began to work with the Make-A-Wish Foundation, which he had a personal connection with through his cousin and best friend who was born with half a heart. Enduring 30 surgeries before losing his life when Schnacky was 15, the event impressed upon Noah the importance of making every day count.
“Losing my best friend so early in my life definitely changed my perspective on what’s important,” Schnacky says. “And there was a lot of discovering how short this life is. At the core of all this, I've seen the hurt that my generation – and society as a whole – is going through right now. So at the end of the day, the reason I make music is because I want to connect with those people and show them they're not alone.”
To make those first independent recordings, Schnacky turned to Nashville studio musician Ilya Toshinsky (Carrie Underwood, Florida Georgia Line) for production help. Schnacky was determined not to knock on doors – if the music mattered, he reasoned, Music Row executives would reach out to him – and the first to get in touch after the release of “Hello Beautiful” was songwriter Shane McAnally (“Body Like A Back Road,” “Follow Your Arrow”), who was similarly low-pressure: he didn’t want to push Schnacky into any sort of business deal, but wanted to help him in whatever way he could.
Schnacky officially signed with Big Machine Records in December 2018, and within weeks, he was in the recording studio with producer Dann Huff (Keith Urban, Rascal Flatts), who put together a band that included their original producer, Toshinsky.
“Influentially, 80% of my library was Dann Huff songs,” Schnacky says. “He has this ability – and he says it himself – to create a track that is almost about to fall apart at any given moment, like you never know what's gonna happen. It's not comfortable, it's wild, but it stays together in the most beautiful way. Trying to capture that when you're an independent artist was tricky but we tried our best. Now I get to work with him. It's crazy.”
The results are making people believe in Noah Schnacky. The blue-eyed soul feeling, the intense melodicism, the sincerity in the performances and the dedication to making a difference are all embedded in the tracks, which bear favorable comparisons to John Mayer, Thomas Rhett, Shawn Mendes and Old Dominion.
Schnacky is dedicated to succeeding, though his definition of success isn’t about numbers as much as it’s about making a difference. Music’s communal nature is significant, but it comes from connecting with people in a personal way, one-to-one from the artist’s head to the listener’s heart.
“The power of music is unbelievable,” Schnacky says. “A movie can bring you to tears, it can change your perspective, it can bring you new joy, it can make you laugh – all in two-and-a-half hours. But a song can do that in two-and-a-half minutes. I want to be a part of that kind of influence, to help people through hard times.”
Noah Schnacky will make you believe.