Check out my poignant interview with Chicago based singer-songwriter Noah Jack. Noah is a spectacular and brilliant talent, whose story is worth exploring and delving further into. When Noah was born, he was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder and wasn't able to talk until he was 5 years old. He recalls being able to hum when he was 4, and remembers vividly being able to sing before he could even speak. After undergoing speech therapy, he lived a relatively normal childhood and his ordeal is reflected most eloquently throughout his music. We talk about his beginnings in Park Ridge, IL and how being diagnosed affected him, and how music helps him cope with his condition. Plus, we talk about his new single "Neighborhood" and how it reflects the state of the world we live in now. Here is the transcript from our chat:
Give us your name and what instrument you regularly play?
My name is Noah Jack and I am a singer and i play guitar sometimes.
How did being diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder affect you when you were younger?
I had a fantastic childhood with amazing parents and brothers. I did go to 2 pre schools, and speech therapy, and other classes when I was super young. But mostly I had a regular childhood as a kid.
How does that ordeal with being diagnosed still affect you to this day?
I tell my story to others and especially in my writing. I want people to know because it is apart of my story, and I want people to understand my life. I am happy with where I am, so Autism Spectrum Disorder is still with me and I am happy.
When was the moment you realized that music was helping you cope with your condition?
When I was four years old, my mom and I would go to speech therapy, and my mom would put on the radio. I would hum along to the melody and my mom noticed it. After a while she knew I loved to sing and I would be asked to sing for benefits and charity functions. Music has been with me for my whole life, and I’m pretty lucky.
Give us a sense of your upbringing and how it's reflected in your music?
I am the youngest of 5 brothers. So my childhood was amazing. All of my brothers helped me in some way. I would be around them so much and I was very lucky about them. None of my family is musically talented, so I have no idea how I got my talent.
Take us behind the recording of "Neighborhood" and your upcoming LP, and the process and whole story behind it?
We started recording the song in January and it was a long process with a lot of retakes and a lot of work. The success of the song is amazing so I am so happy for that. My new EP will hopefully be released next year. I am now recording new songs for them.
Does performing on stage give you a therapeutic effect to cope with everything going on in your life right now?
I love performing. Being on stage is my favorite thing in the world. I want to be performing all of the time. I am releasing new music to get back on stage.
Besides music, what else do you like to do in your spare time?
I love watching baseball, and I love hiking. I’m also trying to get into photography.
What's next on the musical agenda, any upcoming shows around Boston sometime soon?
I have family in Boston and I have never been to Boston so one of my goals is to perform in Boston.
Lastly, how has being diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder shaped your life up until now?
I can tell my story to everyone now. I want people to share my story and be inspired. I want to make a difference in someones life. I want people to donate to Autism Speaks, and spread the word. I hope that with my music I can be a voice for many people who have ASD.
Thanks once again to Noah Jack for sharing his story in this incredibly enlightening interview. It must be incredibly difficult for Noah to share his struggles so openly to everyone, but Noah does a great job of taking everything in stride to show that he is just like everyone else when it comes to being a performing musician, and shaping the sound and culture of the world around us and how we interpret everything. Such a positive and inspiring talent that is a shining example of the struggles we encounter every day. For more on Noah Jack, please 'Like' him on Facebook from this post here, and check out his music on Soundcloud from over here and keep an eye out for his upcoming LP that should be released sometime next year.