I first met Maty Noyes at her all ages show at The Knitting Factory in Brooklyn, on a cold December night in 2018. The early show had a hard out and tight crossover leading into the late night event. Over a recent Zoom call, Noyes recalls the infamous load in of cyberpunk go-go dancers dressed to the nines in gothic leather corsets and six inch heels, carrying dungeon whips. “I remember thinking, it’s okay, my fans are going to learn one day how the real world works,” she says.
By that time, she’d already had an uncredited feature on the Weeknd’s breakout record Beauty Behind The Madness, written an international smash for Kygo, released two EPs, and racked up millions of Spotify plays on singles like “New Friends” and “Say It To My Face.” Under contract, the label machine built momentum but didn’t allow Noyes to evolve artistically. She was kept in a box, styled, dressed, and groomed to stay in the major label pop darling lane. That’s why her highly anticipated debut LP The Feeling’s Mutual, released September 3, is such a revelation; after years of working as a cog in the music industry machine while her team treasure-hunted for the smash hit to make her a star, Noyes decided to make it on her own by unleashing her talent on the world.
The Feeling’s Mutual breaks the mold of straight-forward electro pop; visually, Noyes embodies a classic Marilyn Monroe beauty, while embodying the power, grit, and strength of neon warrior princess. Noyes’ effortless vocals tie the cross-genre record together like a collage of musical chapters. “My dream would be to chart on like every radio station you know in every genre, all at once,” she says. “Because why not? It’s possible.”
And it’s been a long time coming, too. Noyes grew up in a small conservative town in Mississippi, never feeling like she fit in despite floating between different social groups – but music spoke her language. “I was fortunate enough to have a dad who played really great classic rock growing up. The Beatles were a huge sonic influence for me,” she recalls. “I knew from a very young age that I’d dedicate my life to music, even before I really knew I could sing. When I was twelve I asked my parents for a guitar for Christmas. Without much thought, a week later I was already writing songs. I just had a lot on my little heart that I wanted to get out.”
Her supportive mother offered incentives for performing. “Basically, she was like, I’ll give you fifty bucks if you play the show. And back then fifty bucks felt like a million dollars,” Noyes says. “A trembling twelve year old, I got up on the tiny stage at our local coffee shop, and sang in public for the first time. I was hooked.”
Uninterested in college, and a self-proclaimed old soul, Noyes convinced her parents to let her move to Nashville at the age of fifteen. Under the stipulation of taking weekly drug tests, financial independence, online schooling, and her promise to attend church every Sunday in her hometown three hours away, Noyes was granted permission to move out as a minor and follow her dream. “I moved to Nashville alone, the day I turned sixteen. I found a place, started babysitting and put a band together with two of my best friends. I was having the time of my life,” she says. “The music I wrote alone back then was so thoughtful and raw.”
In the heart of Music City, Noyes was poised for serendipitous stardom. “One particular night I ended up at a house party in a mansion. I had never experienced that level of wealth, and I suddenly ended up singing to the owner, as he’s accompanying me on the piano,” she remembers. “He turns to me and says ‘You’re really good, but I’m drunk. Why don’t you come back tomorrow so I can really hear your sing?’ The next day I show up, and he ends up being my manager for five years. Literally my first six months of living in Nashville, he and his partner got me signed to a record deal with Lavo, an imprint of Republic.”
A California girl at heart, after signing a publishing deal, Noyes started taking frequent writing trips to LA. She made the official move and got into the studio grind, writing every day with a new person, in a different genre. She quickly learned the nuances of pop music studio culture and found success as a top-line writer almost overnight. “I wrote a song called ‘Stay‘ and it was just like any other day. Suddenly it was picked up by world-famous DJ Kygo and got half a billion streams,” she says. “I’m not even an EDM artist. I didn’t even want that, but it just happened.”
Her ethereal voice was also featured on “Angel,” the closing track on the Weeknd’s Beauty Behind The Madness. Noyes had been working with producer Stephan Moccio via Interscope, who took the risk of asking Noyes to sing on the track without Abel Tesfaye’s permission. Her lush, captivating vocal runs send shivers down your spine, so it’s no surprise that Tesfaye loved her voice, and took it as an honor to break a new artist. But the credit went unlisted, as it would’ve disqualified her from winning a Best New Artist Grammy on her own accord; as a newly signed major label artist, she was already learning the politics at play in pop music.
But perhaps more dismaying was the fact that Noyes was prevented from releasing her own work as her label kept her under lock and key. “A lot of my friends would be hearing all this cool stuff I was doing, but the world would never get to hear it,” she says. Right before the pandemic hit, Noyes decided to cut ties, ditching the publishing deal and dropping her management.
“I’d lost a lot of that fearless independent girl from Nashville,” she explains of the move. “I ended up signing a one-album deal with a new label just to put music out in the meantime and keep creating. During quarantine, I spiritually got a fresh start. I started reconnecting with myself and writing intimate songs in solitude. I was regaining parts of myself that had been lost through my immersion in the industry.”
Releasing The Feeling’s Mutual “feels bittersweet,” says Noyes. “It was finished and supposed to come out two years ago. Sharing the songs with the world feels like a weight lifted off my chest. I can finally start to catch up with myself and feel authentic creatively. I’ve had to live with imposter syndrome.”
Finally free of the major label system, Maty Noyes has regained her autonomy, and her autobiographical lyrics embody her real-time emotional processing. There’s a sharp attention to detail within each sophisticatedly crafted song, and each has become a vehicle for Noyes to grow, heal, and evolve both emotionally and spiritually. “I feel so lucky as a songwriter, because if you stay true to the craft, you really get to see what’s going on with your inner world. You analyze and learn about your patterns, and your intention,” she says. “You get to view your life from a whole-story perspective. It’s like therapy, and a lot of people don’t get the chance to do that.”
Stylistically, she tries on many hats, and while genre-bending in hip hop, psych-rock, electro pop, and classic jazz, she resonates brutal emotional honesty within each melody. When asked about her personal favorites, Noyes gushes over “Time.” “I love the guitar, and how it gives me a classic blues feel… it’s beautiful, and timeless. It’s the direction I’m heading toward; I’m really proud of that track.”
Lyrically, “Time” captures the feeling of falling in love without getting caught up in the fear of abandonment. It’s an ode to the fool, and fearlessly rushing into the unknown of infatuation and lust. “It’s the most beautiful time of the relationship, the lustful beginnings. This song says, we don’t know what’s going to happen in the future, but we have this beautiful time right now – I want to make it so good, we’ll never forget it,” she explains. “My openness to love, it’s both my superpower and my kryptonite. Getting deep with another person acts as my truest inspiration, my drug. I’ve always been a serial monogamist.”
The silky Mark Ronson-esque samba-infused “Alexander,” another stand-out on the record, exudes a bittersweet longing. “Listening I was really impressed with the way it naturally flowed as such a classic melody,” she says. “It really takes you on an emotional journey.” The last chorus jumps up almost two octaves, a whistling falsetto looping and weaving around her swan song. Its video shows Noyes with a spiritual advisor in a mysterious Plague-Doctor-goes-to-Coachella mask; Noyes takes a magical pill and descends into her fantasy, a technicolor dream world, the depth of the deep sea, the underworld. Caressed by her ego, Noyes morphs into a butterfly, as she moves through floral dimensions of space and time.
“I made the video for ‘Alexander’ with my friend Marcus, and took on the role of producer and stylist. He was a CGI guy, and had all the equipment and gear we needed. We shot it on barely any budget in my garage. I was so proud of the entire vision coming to fruition,” she says.
One of the record’s most powerful anthems, “He’s Doing Your Job” is about being attached to an avoidant, “emotionally unavailable” person while another courts her. The chilling lyrics are direct, as Noyes plainly states her desires: “I need someone to ask how I feel/Someone who wants me to heal/Someone who’s holding my hand/When the anxiety gets way too real.” With an easy-going acoustic energy, the track unpacks attachment styles, addressing issues around having a despondent lover from both sides. “That song still gives me goosebumps,” Noyes says.
The Feeling’s Mutual is nothing if not relatable, so much so that it’s hard to believe Noyes was ever discouraged by her label from releasing candid material like this. But she’s taken it all in stride, and shares the hard-earned wisdom from her decade in the entertainment industry with eloquent poise, earnest grace, and a hint of her rebellious heart. “You’re gonna come across people who want to help you, and they’re going to speak in absolute extremes. They’re going to say there’s only one way to do things if you want to make it,” she warns. But Maty Noyes learned long ago that compromise didn’t mesh with her artistic vision. “Listen to your instincts. Don’t make decisions out of fear. You can feel in your soul when you’re crossing the line of your integrity. If it doesn’t feel true to your artistry, you shouldn’t do it.”
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