words by Courtney Simich
I stumbled upon dismal dreampop artist Noah Kittinger about three years ago. The singer songwriter/producer behind the solo-project Bedroom played me through a melancholy blip. The clouds parted but the music stuck.
The relationship I have with the 23-year-old Nashville native is not unique. Fans have been deeming Kittinger’s music their “favorite music to cry to” since he released the debut EP, Toys, his sophomore year of high school.
But, with his teenage years behind him and new music on the horizon, a lot has changed for the artist since 2012. I reached out to Kittinger at the brink of the New Year to discuss vulnerability, his evolution as an artist, and what’s in store for Bedroom in 2019.
NK: Nashville, TN.
What is your creative process like?
NK: It really depends. It has changed so much over the years. It could be me and a guitar or piano then studio, or just straight to studio. I’m always trying new angles of working. It allows different things to come out that way.
So, Bedroom… what was going on within your four bedroom walls creatively, mentally, and emotionally at age 16?
NK: Probably a lot of silly teen angst that seemed like the end of the world at the time. Looking back, I was just a kid trying new sounds and writing about what was on my mind or in my heart at the time. There are plenty of songs I wish more thought went into.
In what ways did that shift at 18?
NK: I think I started to come into my own around that time. I had been finding my sound for a couple years and then made Grow. I was a bit more mature and not as whiney as 15 or 16-year-old me.
What about today?
NK: Well, I’m 23 now. I haven’t put out much since Grow but I can definitely say that my process musically and lyrically is completely different. I sit on things much more now. I allow more thought and different approaches in. I don’t just make a song and say it’s done. I have different versions or ideas I want to roll with. The problem for me now is sticking with one and moving on.
[[“I think that makes the best art, just honesty”]]
How does it feel to own this “music people can cry to” territory?
NK: Really good. That’s my bread and butter is music you can put on alone in your room. I’d much rather be on that side of things than on the party music side.
I can relate to being most inspired by the sadder moments in life. Do you ever start to crave that in order to produce your best work?
NK: I’ve grown up a lot since Bedroom started and I’ve learned how to roll with the punches and write about other stuff. I never want to play into the idea of someone suffering for their art. I don’t want to be miserable to put out something for other people.
Today, you have over 5 million Spotify streams on Nothings Lasts… how does that feel? Did you ever expect numbers to reach that level?
NK: I never thought of streaming numbers during the time the older stuff came out. I just wanted it out. It feels really cool now, though. I’m happy the numbers have risen due to organic growth within my fan base. It’s a good feeling.
You’ve developed quite the fan base. I’ve seen a few Bedroom tattoos on social media. What is your reaction to fans tattooing your lyrics and album art onto their bodies?
NK: It’s pretty insane. I’ve seen loads online and a few at shows this year. The thought that I’ve done something that people connect with that much is really humbling.
Do you have anything tattooed on your body?
NK: I have a smiley face on my left ankle that my friend Gonz and I gave ourselves with a self-made tattoo gun one night. No real reason. Just silly. Whiskey was probably involved.
Who inspires you that is specific to the Noah Kittinger experience?
NK: It changes. But, these days its collaboration, and as cliché as it sounds, family and friends. I’ve learned the value in all of that.
Fans listen to your music during extremely vulnerable moments. What does total vulnerability look like to you?
NK: Being aware and honest. Not really bullshitting yourself. I think that that makes the best art, just honesty.
Are there any misconceptions about you and your art?
NK: I don’t know of any. I don’t really pay attention much. I stay pretty low key. So, I don’t think people know a lot about me personally.
That’s an interesting response because, for example, when I listen to your single Family I feel as though listeners are getting a pretty intimate look at what is going on in your life.
NK: I mean if people feel like they are connecting with me through the music then that’s cool. I guess I just meant that I don’t like when artists make it all about them. I don’t like when you go on an artist’s social media and all you see is them.
You want to let your music speak for itself.
You’ve mentioned that you tend to keep your head too far in the future. How do you try and force yourself to live in the moment?
NK: I used to have no idea how to live in the moment when I was younger. It was beneficial in some ways I do believe, but I’ve just learned how to work hard and take things as they come.
Where have you been and where are you going?
NK: I don’t really know ha ha. I’m currently in a limbo state, I think. I’m between what Bedroom was and what it’s about to be. I’ve learned patience over the years with this project. So, all I can say is that I am going forward.
In an Instagram post, you say, “2019 big year”. Why’s that?
NK: I’ve spent the majority of this year assembling a team for the next record. I have some really great people in my corner now. I guess I just meant new music and more shows, more reach. I began a new LP last year and it’s currently and jumbled mess, but I’m working on getting it together.
Who did you have in your corner during the most recent tour?
NK: I met Blake six years ago working at a grocery store. He was wearing a Daniel Johnston T shirt and that began our friendship ha ha. He's been in every live format of Bedroom since 2014. I think of him as a brother.
I met Jules through him, he was playing in some bands around town and I needed a drummer. He's the homie.
He didn't tour with us in the spring, but I met Jacob through an old friend a few years ago. He plays synth and keys in other bands and was super down to help out for the last show in LA in December.
What is it like to have fans today relate so deeply to songs you wrote during a different time in your life?
NK: It’s very touching.
Is there ever a disconnect? Do you ever find yourself having to explain “Hey, I’m in a different place in my life now”?
Not really. I mean, all of those song still mean something to me and even can still be relatable to me.
So…what would you tell your 16-year-old self now?
NK: “Listen to your mom” ha ha.
Stream music by Noah Kittinger on Spotify below:
ABOUT THE WRITER
Hey, I'm Courtney. 22 years-old living in San Francisco CA. When I'm not working my 9-5, I'm trying new restaurants with my roommates, going to as many live shows as my wallet will allow, and, of course, writing. It will probably take me a lifetime to successfully put into words how listening to a good song makes me feel but cheers to the journey!