7 minutes with Noan Drinkswater
As a big fan of authenticity and Howard Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences, I get excited every time I see a person whose activity is aligned with their natural talents. It is then that we see that human beings are capable of doing wonderful things in any discipline. Such is the case of Noan Drinkswater, a clear example of what happens when a person works in alignment with his intelligence, in this case musical. Composer and singer of all his songs, Drinkswater, after releasing titles such as Heartbroken, Waves or Baggy Eyes, has released his album, Get a Change. His music is intimate, experiential and authentic. He is currently 19 years old and is studying creative music production at the prestigious Bath Spa University. We spoke about self-awareness, the creative process and the importance of being honest with oneself.
1.When and how did you discover that music was your thing?
When I was 6 years old I was given a very simple keyboard with recorded songs on it. What I did was to listen to the songs and look at the notes on a little screen. I would hit the “pause” button and repeat it. That’s how I learned to play my first song on a keyboard, repeating the notes I saw. Seeing this, my parents decided to sign me up for piano lessons, which from then on became my after-school activity. From that moment on I started composing my songs. Years later, when I discovered Garage Band on my father’s iPad, I started producing and I haven’t stopped since. Since I was 6 years old I haven’t stopped discovering and experimenting with music.
2.How difficult can it be to identify what you are good at? What kind of obstacles did you encounter along the way?
In my case I have been lucky because it was not very difficult for me to discover it. From the beginning I saw that I really liked the piano and I was very good at it, and that music was my thing. Besides, my parents have always pushed me to choose my path, which is also a great luck. There are many children who find something they like and never do it again in their lives because they haven’t had the support of their parents.
3.How would you define creativity, according to your experience?
I think there are two types of creativity: one that you control and the other that you don’t control. Regarding the one you control, there are certain processes you can use to get into creative mode. For example, I have two production programs that I work with on a regular basis. With one I play and with the other I do serious stuff. With the one I play with, I make music just for the sake of it and it’s much easier for me to be creative than with the other one. This would be the creativity that, in a certain way, you look for. Then we have the other creativity, the one you don’t control. In my case, most of my songs I write very late at night, when I can’t sleep. At that moment I feel I can write a song and I do it spontaneously, without having foreseen it. This is the creativity that you don’t control.
4.Every artist has his creative process… How would you describe yours?
Well usually at 3am I come up with songs and write them… But this is random. When I have to work, I try to get myself into a suitable environment and mode. I take my computer and all my stuff and force myself to start even if what I create sounds bad. From there, I build other elements that sound good around the first thing I created that I don’t like the way it sounds. In the end, I correct what I didn’t like and the final result sounds great. This is usually the creative process I follow in my productions.
5.The question is obvious, but I would like to know your opinion: To what extent is the quality of the work related to the fact of being honest with oneself as an author? What happens when authenticity is compromised?
When the author is honest it shows a lot in the music. For example, all my songs are about my things, my experiences, what has happened to me. If it’s not like that, I don’t know what to talk about, I can’t tell anything authentic. That also shows in the drawing. Artists who have their own style are clearly recognizable because they are authentic and true to themselves. All the artists I follow, I recognize them for that, for their own style and authenticity. Now that I am building my brand, I question myself a lot about authenticity. I can’t show in my brand something that is not authentically mine for the simple fact of introducing content. I want to present to people who I am in my purest form, even if it means less content.
6.What advice would you give to someone who is working hard to know themselves and bring out their natural talent?
If someone is working hard to bring their talent to light, that’s a lot, they are doing a good job. Support from those closest to them, such as their parents, could also help a lot. I don’t think I could have done it without my parents, who from the beginning saw that this was what I liked and pushed me into it. They knew that, since music was my passion, I was going to work hard, and that’s how it is, like now, when I’ve managed to get into the university I wanted. If you really believe in it, go for it. Take the risk of going for it without knowing if it’s going to work. You have many years ahead of you to make mistakes and then do what you think is best. But without a doubt the best thing to do is to have someone close to you from the beginning supporting you.
Thank you so much for sharing your purpose with the Shaker Community, dear Noan Drinkswater! Find out more about him at www. noandrinkswater.com