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The Wessex Wire

The Wessex Wire

Noah Kahan rises to fame through media and relatable lyrics

Noah Kahan performs a show in Edmonton, Canada, in 2024. (Photo courtesy of no_thoughts_kurapika (CC BY 4.0))

From his small hometown in Vermont to Tiktok to the Grammys, Noah Kahan’s rise to fame is unique among common. Like countless other music artists, Kahan’s fame was engineered from social media. However, he ascended into the spotlight with a speed unheard of. His music takes emotional folk-pop to a new level while reaching top hits since 2022. 

Kahan actually hated all social media and never saw the point in it until his career skyrocketed from the audience Tiktok brought him. 

“I knew there was potential for a moment to happen for me,” Kahan said to The New Yorker. “I didn’t realize it would happen so quickly and in such a big way. I didn’t think it would be through viral success. I f–g hated social media.”

Raised in a musical family, with a father who played guitar and a mother who sang in a band, Kahan’s early exposure to music laid the foundation to his future career. His hometowns of Strafford, Vermont, and Hanover, New Hampshire, were where Kahan’s musical trajectory began. During his young years, he found these towns to be claustrophobic, isolating and boring, but also where he learned to be emotionally introspective. 

Beyond his musical talents, Kahan’s down-to-earth personality and relatable lyrics have endeared him to fans of all ages. He’s open about his struggles with anxiety and self-doubt, using his music as an outlet to express those emotions; which continues to inspire countless listeners to embrace vulnerability and seek help when needed. By sharing his own experiences, Kahan has fostered a sense of community among his fans, creating a greatly supportive environment where people feel understood. 

In 2017, Kahan released his debut single, “Young Blood,” which quickly garnered praise from music critics and listeners alike. It showcased Kahan’s ability to capture complex emotions with simplicity and sincerity, earning him a dedicated fan base and laying the groundwork for an inevitably great career. As “Young Blood” gained momentum, Kahan continued to release captivating singles that showcased his unique blend of folk, pop and indie influences. Tracks like “Hurt Somebody,” featuring Julia Michaels, and “False Confidence” further solidified Kahan’s reputation as a rising star in the music industry.

Along with his striking numbers on Tiktok, he’s had a steady presence on the Billboard charts since the release of his third album, “Stick Season” in 2022. The album was very clearly about the feeling of being stuck or left behind; while the term ‘stick season’ in Vermont refers to the period of time between the last of the autumn leaves and the first snow. A couple of other hit songs include “Dial Drunk,” “Homesick” and “Northern Attitude.”

Perhaps one of his most popular songs, “Dial Drunk” is about his attempt to drink his way out of a heartbreak, ending up hunched in the back of a police car and begging for a way out. Kahan admits that he would never end up in the back of a police car or punch an officer, but he tries to add parts of himself into every song. 

Kahan holds many iconic songs, but two will always stick out from the rest. “Call Your Mom” and “Everywhere, Everything” hold very special places in our hearts. “Call Your Mom” is primarily about the importance of reaching out for help when struggling with mental health issues; discussing someone offering unconditional support to a struggling friend, including calling their friend’s mother.  “Everywhere, Everything” is a rare moment of happiness, a love song with a few strings attached. Kahan leaves it ambiguous whether his love is reciprocated but the lack of self-deprecating and hopeless metaphors is an alluringly welcome change.

Noah Kahan’s rustic roots in Vermont to his viral visibility on Tiktok, along with his ascent to the Grammys, have paved the way for his emotionally intelligent lyrics and the creation of introspective characters that resonate with fans navigating the terrains of anxiety and self-doubt. He’s definitely one of the few celebrities that deserve the platform they have, and we cannot wait to see the accomplishments he will reach in the upcoming years.

Photo credit: “Kahan performing in 2024” by no_thoughts_kurapika is licensed under CC BY 4.0.

Behind the Bylines
Adelaide Minnella
Adelaide Minnella, Apprentice Editor
Adelaide Minnella, but you can call her Adie, is an Apprentice for the 2023-2024 Wessex Wire. She loves field hockey, lacrosse, the seasons of summer and fall, baking, cooking, her favorite show is “Friends” and her favorite movie is “10 Things I Hate About You.” Her favorite music artists are Taylor Swift, Noah Kahan, Gracie Abrams and Phoebe Bridgers. On the weekends you can find her babysitting, reading her favorite books, or hanging out with her core group of friends. 
Naya AlZarabili
Naya AlZarabili, Contributor
Naya AlZarabili is a Sophomore Contributor on the Wessex Wire and enjoys expressing herself through not only literature, but other artistic outlets like film and music! She spends the majority of her time reading or visiting local autumnal destinations with her cousin. Naya wouldn't be herself without a weekly Chipotle bowl, Arctic Monkeys, Laufey, and every Greta Gerwig movie to date.
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