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Fitz and The Tantrums


By John Davenport

Thank you, Noelle, for giving us the opportunity to interview you for It was an awesome show in Carrboro, NC!

Q. Are you originally from LA?

Actually I was born in Denver, Colorado but moved to LA when I was 6 years old.

Q. Who has been the major influence for you as a singer/entertainer?

I have been influenced by a lot of things musically. My dad was a DJ so I always had access to his vinyl. I listened to a lot of Parliament, Teena Marie, Pointer Sisters, Ms Franklin, Temptations etc etc as a kid. I was always listening to something.

Q. How did you connect and become a member of Fitz and the Tantrums?

I was actually recommended by our Sax player James King, who had worked on the EP, “Songs For A Break Up” Vol.1. Fitz wanted to put together a live performance and James had him call me for additional vocals. One rehearsal and here we are 3 years later.

Q. What was it like performing with Daryl Hall?

It was such an honor to even be asked. We were still pretty early in the release of our album and I was really familiar with “Live” from Daryl’s house already, so I was exceptionally excited. Everyone was so great to us. It was a trip hearing Daryl sing our songs. We loved it.

Q. How do you feel about the no guitar approach to the sound of the Tantrums?

I think it’s been an integral part of our sound. We really wanted to do something different with our approach to soul music and because Fitz and I are not really guitar players the songs we write always start with piano. It’s funny because no one really misses it when they hear our music other than guitar players. (John is a guitarist lol)

Q. When I watched the Amsterdam version of “Don’t Gotta Work it Out”, I thought to myself….James King “don’t gotta” have a band… how does it feel working with a sax player of this stature?

James is amazing as well as all of they guys in the band. They all have quite the resume. Definitely lucky to have these guys on the same page and wanting the same success out of this project, cause they could play with anyone.

Q. How much influence do you have with the Tantrums as far as song writing and arrangement?

I am a lyricist so my part is within the writing of the lyrics. I have some input on the music part, but normally leave that with the guys. Fitz and I come together to sew in the rest of the pieces.

Q. How do you feel about the musical chemistry between you and Fitz?

It’s interesting. I’ve been dong this for a long time and it is rare when u find someone that brings a balance. We fit each other in that way of the Male/Female dynamics. He is a great producer and always has given me a different perspective in listening to things and vice versa.

Q. After this tour, what’s next for the Tantrums?

Recording the next record. We also have a West Coast tour coming up in January.

Q. From your last project “The Rebirth”, did you write “Stray Away”?

Yes, as well as the other songs in the LP, along with Carlos Guiaco, the Band’s leader. “Sinking” and “Stray Away” were both my solo songs on the LP. That’s great you know about that project. I had a lot of fun in that band.

Q. I understand that you worked with The Black Eyed Peas. What project did you do with them?

I worked in a few songs on the Elephunk LP. “Let’s Get it Started” was one of them.

Q. Any influence from Boz Scaggs?

Love Boz, but haven’t really thrown him in the realm of creative thought with Fitz. Though I would love to do a cover of “Finding Her”.

Q. When did you first realize that you wanted to be a singer/entertainer?

When I was about 9-10 years old. I always loved performing for people, family. I didn’t realize that there was anything really there until High School though.

Q. After you decided to pursue a musical career, what obstacles did you face and how did you overcome them?

Financial issues were always a big set back and finding the right producers to work with. I was always lucky with other people projects but never really found anything I could be serious about until “The Rebirth” came about. I learned a lot about my voice and my abilities as a writer and performer in that band. When I’d left that project I was in motion to trying to figure out what I wanted to do. It wasn’t really in my head about joining another band, Fitz just fell in my lap.

Q. Have you had any formal musical training or are you self taught?

I am pretty much self taught. I took vocal training for about a year when I was still in high school. But that is about all.

Q. Do you have any advice for a young lady wanting to pursue a career in music?

It isn’t easy, no dream ever is. Learn as much about your craft and who u want to be within it, learn the business and keep chipping away. The success is always in the timing. Have Fun!

Awesome Noelle!

Find out more about Fitz and The Tantrum’s on their website

Noelle singing “Sarah Smiles” – You go girl!!

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