5 Things with ‘Chasing Destiny’ Star Johari Noelle
Her almond-shaped eyes absorb her surroundings as her sweet presence invites you in with a warm hello and bright smile.
Johari Noelle is floating, and she has every right to be. The 20-year-old college student’s life has just become a whirlwind of press and performances after the singer/songwriter recently competed on Kelly Rowland’s BET docuseries, Chasing Destiny.
Slowing down? Not even an option.
“Me and music are one in the same,” Noelle expresses with a smile. By the time she hit Northern Illinois University, music fully became her identity. “I sung everywhere,” she laughs. “That was the first thing people knew.”
Appearing on a show that has been viewed by millions is also opening up more opportunities for Noelle. The multi-talented songstress and model signed with the Gill Hayes Talent Agency and just booked her first commercial for the ALWAYS brand.
During a visit to the JET offices, we got to know more about the budding starlet and why she’s definitely one to watch.
“Vocally, I’ve never had any training and I was so in awe because some of the girls had been in groups before, or background singers to mainstream artists. I was a complete rookie. I never harmonized before and I was scared about that and having that ear. I would talk with Kelly all the time, like ‘Hey, I really want this but this harmony thing – I need to learn about the ear.’ She said ‘Listen to music a lot more but in a different way. Listen for other notes and where you can fit in and place yourself in different songs.’ Frank’s advice was to learn the piano (laughs). Everything else is being confident in what you bring to the table. Don’t compare yourself to anyone.”
“I don’t just think about the music or the talent factor. Think about your backstory and who you are internally. Artists can be really crazy people – we can be lunatics. We can also be really centered, zen people. It’s just a matter of where you are and where you connect within yourself. I think an artist is someone who can understand where they connect, and they’re able to translate that in their music and people can take it and understand it in their own way.”
Everything Ain’t What It Seems – With struggle comes strength
(Takes deep breath) “Whew, I’m a twin and we were born conjoined at the abdomen. They separated us at one hospital then put us in a helicopter and flew us to another hospital right after because they had to work on us individually. They had to resuscitate me because I was born with breathing complications. Growing up, we were in and out of the hospital for surgeries just to keep us looking and operating like everybody else. With that, kids would tease us just because we stood out like sore thumbs. Because we were light, they thought we were half White but, we’re completely African American. At the time we were like, ‘Oh my God when is this ever going to end?’ And as we got older, we realized that it never ends. People have no idea of this story. Because of what we went through as children, it just molded us to deal with it and not take things too hard or personal. Unless they know you, it honestly doesn’t matter because if they did, they wouldn’t feel that way. I take criticism like the strongest person ever because of what I’ve been through and it takes a lot to get through it. I think God gave us this thing to make us invincible.”
Not “This or That” Kind of Girl
“Never let someone define you.” – Johari Noelle, Twitter March 15
“One thing I learned while being on Chasing Destiny is in the industry people like to put you in a box and say you have this look or this sound, so you’re going to be this kind of artist. I just don’t believe in categories and being boxed in a certain place. It’s okay to be a thick girl who sings rock-n-roll while dressing in dance attire. Who cares?! As long as you have a message or something to give, give it. You should never let people define or try to categorize that.”
“I went to an event and the guy was talking about songwriting and how sometimes we over think it. We think it has to be extremely deep or complex. We forget that it’s just about communicating what you feel. Now that I have that advice, I can definitely write much clearer now. In the past, I would write songs just about my experiences which at that time dealt with love. Now, I’m kind of taking a shift. I really want to talk about this experience – being a young woman in society, in this industry and how we get caught up in competing. I want to talk about women–the things we go through, our insecurities, things that challenge or enhance our confidence. That’s really where I want to go with music.”
Keep up with Johari’s journey at joharinoelle.com