20-year-old Maty Noyes is here to stay - and if you don’t know her name, you’ll most likely know her voice by now, thanks to her 2015 collaboration with Kygo, ‘Stay’, which went Top 20 in the UK and has been streamed over 400 million times on Spotify. She was also heard on ‘Angel’ from The Weeknd’s ‘Beauty Behind The Madness’ LP, and has frequently collaborated with Canadian super-producer Stephan Moccio, who co-wrote Miley Cyrus’ ‘Wrecking Ball’.
It’s in Maty’s solo material that she really gives us a sense of who she is as an artist – ambitious, outspoken, and often wild. She can do bombastic, outrageous anthems such as ‘London’, as well as neat little pop earworms like ‘in my miNd’, and toe-tapping new single ‘Say It To My Face’. Last year’s debut EP ‘Noyes Complaint’ will soon be followed up by her first album, and fans are on tenterhooks waiting to see what this exciting and unpredictable rising talent will give them next.
We caught up with Noyes recently to talk about the importance of honesty and truth both in songwriting and in relationships, how growing up in rural Mississippi shaped her musical tastes, and her extensive list of life-long ambitions.
A lot of people think that ignorance is bliss in relationships, but I’m just not that kind of person. I like to know everything. I think that real true love is accepting that brutal honesty and learning not to judge it and accept it.
COUP DE MAIN: How does your songwriting process work?
MATY NOYES: I try to adjust it for the people that I’m working with. When I first starting writing songs, it was all just me, so I would write the entire song on the guitar, write all the lyrics, and it would usually come together in fifteen minutes. It was really quick. Then when I came out to LA, I signed a publishing deal and all of a sudden I had to start working with producers, so that was a totally different process. So now, what I usually do is let the producer make a track, and then I’ll write all the words and the melodies. I just try to adjust to every person.
CDM: Do you write your lyrics specifically for the songs, or do you write poems or prose and then evolve them into song-form?
MATY: Sometimes I have a random idea and I write it down in my notes. Sometimes I have voice memo melodies that I go back and listen to. A lot of times, I feel it in the moment and completely do things from scratch. It’s different every time, but the one thing that’s consistent is that every story is true.
CDM: Your new song ‘Say It To My Face’ is all about a breakdown of communication in a relationship. How important do you think being able to be completely honest with the people in your life is?
MATY: A lot of people think that ignorance is bliss in relationships, but I’m just not that kind of person. I like to know everything. I think that real true love is accepting that brutal honesty and learning not to judge it and accept it. My whole life, I’ve always been a very peaceful person, and I’ve been attracted to these broken men that I’ve loved to try to fix. And then recently I’m just like, fuck that, I don’t want to do that anymore, I hate that. I talked a lot about that in my songs ‘Stay’ and ‘in my miNd’. So I decided, no more fuckboys, I’ll never do fuckboys again, I’m never gonna date anyone again. And then I met someone, like, a month later who was really nice and really honest and the first person I could be honest with, no matter how much it hurt. He didn’t judge me and he totally accepted me for who I was. So I kind of found myself missing getting in fights and missing that reaction, even though I hated that reaction, and I didn’t like fights. So that’s what that song’s about – we’ve been together for three months, he’s never been mad at me… I don’t understand! I don’t understand being treated this way, or being this honest with someone. It sounds like it’s a bad thing, but it’s actually like, “If there’s anything in there, just say it, because I’ll take anything I can get!” <laughs>
CDM: Your previous single ‘London’ is an incredible, crazy song and I’m not sure I’ve ever heard anything quite like it. Where did it even come from?
MATY: ‘London’ is a really, really, really, really special song to me, for sure. I mean, it came together with the producer that I work with probably the most and have a really good relationship with, Stephan Moccio. It was actually the first song we ever wrote together. We wrote it when I was 17, and cut all the vocals when I was 17, did the 50-piece orchestra and everything then. It was a really magical song that took us over two years to create before we could put it out. We were in the studio and we started doing this chant. It sounded like, “Mon to the munk and tree to the trunk, I’m gonna go to London.” One of the engineers, Jay Paul, was like, “It sounds like you’re saying the word ‘London’.” I was like, hey, I can run with that, and I made it about what it was like to leave home and go off on my own and just to have no fear and see what happens.
CDM: I saw some drawings and collaging that you’d done on your Instagram story. Is there ever an interplay or relationship between the songs you write and any art you create?
MATY: I feel like no-one cares about that, and I think it’s so cool, and I’m like, why does no-one care?! <laughs> That’s a good question. I think with my collages, they’re very much inspired by the world and my songs are very much inspired by my crazy stories and people I meet personally. They kinda have their own little outlets. I love doing it all. I also love to write screenplays. I do everything. It’s artsy, but music is definitely my baby.
CDM: Lyrically, what's your favourite song that you’ve written?
MATY: That’s a really good question. I’ve been working on this since I was 12, so I’ve got, like, four albums worth of stuff done. At this point, I just couldn’t choose a favourite song lyrically, because there are so many that I’m really excited about, and that I really love, and that I’m really proud of. I just want to get it all out.
CDM: What do you think is the difference between a good song and a great song?
MATY: I know every day when I go to a session, I will not put something down on a microphone unless I think it’s great, because I want to be able to listen to it later and be so proud, and be able to show it to everyone. For me, a great song is consistent with lyrics, it’s consistent with the tone of the voice in the melodies, and it’s consistent with the track. A great song has to have all those things.
CDM: You hail from the small town of Corinth, Mississippi. What sort of music did you have around you growing up?
MATY: It was really cool growing up in that town. The hipsters in Mississippi are more hipster than anyone in the world. <laughs> They’re just beyond. You’d see little bands, they would be sophomores, juniors, seniors in high school. They would be so incredibly talented and come up with these crazy songs. When I was really young – like sixth, seventh, eighth grade – I would sneak out and try to go to those shows on the weekend, and hope that the older kids would accept me, because I didn’t fit in with people my age. That influenced me a lot, being around this cool group of older kids who realised I was young, but I was still cool. I would keep my music on the down-low, I wouldn’t tell anyone about it. I was so young, they probably didn’t expect me to be anything. I grew up around that kind of stuff, and then I grew up around my Dad playing a lot of big, classic music. He was a great influence too. I really loved Elvis and Johnny Cash growing up.
CDM: You said you’ve been writing music since you were 12, but what was your first song about?
MATY: I got this guitar and two weeks later, I started writing songs. I don’t know how, no-one understood it, it just worked. The first song I wrote was called ‘Bigger’, and it was about this girl who’s really, really, really pretty, but she didn’t know that she was really pretty, and she was too afraid to ever kiss a boy, so her lips just kept getting bigger until they fell off her face and she died. <laughs> That’s actually what my first song was about!
CDM: If you were a country, what would be your national anthem be about?
MATY: Oh, definitely world peace, happiness, acceptance, and letting people remember that life is short. And that doesn’t have to be a scary thing, it can be a beautiful thing, and [you’re] meant to enjoy it, if you can. So definitely stuff like that, just to put people at ease, and know that they’re not alone.
CDM: What’s on your bucket-list?
MATY: There’s so many things. I definitely want to be an iconic artist. I’d love to not only break out massively with my music, but become involved with acting and writing. I love fashion, I’d love to start my own brands – my own make-up brand, shoe brand, clothing brand. I want to try to give as much as I spend, do as much good as I can. Do a lot of collaborations with a lot of great people. I’m crazy – I want to find the aliens, and find out the reason we’re here, and, like, save the world. <laughs> It’s so crazy, but it’s true! And I also want to build my dream house somewhere. And I also want to buy a massive farm, like 3,000 acres long, and employ a bunch of people who need a second chance. And save all the dogs in the world from all the pounds. So those are, like, my goals right now. <laughs>
CDM: When should we expect your debut album? Have you got any other exciting things coming up that you can tell us about?
MATY: The number one comment I get is, “When are we getting the album?” That’s actually the question I’m asking too, because I’m totally ready to give it to you guys. So I’m really hoping that there’s one more single and then the album comes out. I think it’ll be soon. I’m really, really, really pushing for it to be soon, because I think everyone needs more music. I’m always doing cool collaborations. I can’t really name any right now, but I’ve definitely done some great collaborations that will be coming out.
Watch the lyric video for 'Say It To My Face' below: