Noël Wells Shares New Singles Off Upcoming Album
Noël Wells: comedian, director, actress, and now musician. What can’t she do?
Wells began her career in 2010 when she moved to Los Angeles to perform in the Upright Citizen’s Brigade Theatre. Her bread and butter until recently was comedy. She was briefly on the cast of Saturday Night Live and can be found in many CollegeHumor and Cracked.com videos. She also played the love interest, Rachel, in Aziz Ansari’s critically acclaimed Netflix comedy Master of None. But, we‘re not here to discuss her acting and comedy career.
It would seem Wells was destined to eventually come back to her roots to start her newest creative endeavor. Born in Texas, her father is a Tunisian immigrant and her mother is of half Mexican descent. She didn’t start playing music until 2016 when, overwhelmed by her life, she found solace by playing a guitar that she found in an Airbnb she was staying at while filming a movie. Fittingly, the Airbnb was in Texas. Wells’ music, whether purposeful or not, is undoubtedly tinged with sounds of the southwest.
Her first single “Sunrise,” off of her as-of-yet unnamed album, is crafted with Spanish guitar and punctuated with castanets. It feels like a walk through a touristy area of Santa Fe, with beautiful landscapes and pueblo style buildings. If this song was a stone, it would definitely be turquoise. The tune has been gobbled up by the media and given extremely positive reviews.
“‘Sunrise’ is about the world we are in being completely upside down,” she says of the track. “We are all marching off to get things done, feeding ourselves into a system while we put our blinders up to what’s really happening, humming to tune it all out.”
“Star,” the second single released from the forthcoming album, has a similar feel. Both songs seem to belong in the desert. They both contain bright instrumentation with dark undertones. Wells has been compared to Norah Jones and Zooey Deschanel, but if a comparison is necessary, she is closer to Mazzy Star. Her voice is wispy and soft and there’s a darkness to her lyrics that take her a step or two away from the rainbow Zooey Deschanel persona or romantic Norah Jones sound. In “Star,” the lyrics “we’re gonna both be stars, we’re gonna drag each other down” show the darkness she holds onto. However, the song is backed by a light acoustic guitar melody throughout.
Unsurprisingly, Wells initially thought that she would make an album of “moody ‘Sad Girl’” songs. Had she not chosen to work with producer Chris Nelson and engineer Branden Stroup, who decidedly lightened the mood and feel of the music, it might have truly been a ‘Sad Girl’ album.
Wells is happy with the outcome of her music. She explains, “while the songs still retain that (sadness), now they’re also really fun. You can listen and cry and smash shit or dance to them and have sex … At the end of the day, I didn’t want to bum people out, but I do want them to know all the heavy stuff I see and feel, and also that I have a lot of hope that it’s going to be alright.”
Be sure to check out Wells’ new album in the upcoming months.