'They Might've Even Loved Me': NoMBe's Debut Album Is A Tribute To Women In His Life
Musician Noah McBeth, or NoMBe as he's known on stage, is keeping the rock star image alive.
Usually shirtless, flaunting all denim and a bandana, McBeth has been creating a name for himself lately. He made his rounds at the South By Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, last week, and has just released his debut album, They Might've Even Loved Me.
NoMBe says the album is dedicated to all the women in his life that have impacted him. "It's stories across the board — from my mom, to ex's, to flings, girlfriends, high school crushes," the artist tells NPR's Sarah McCammon. "I'm just trying to tell stories that are true to me, and at the same time dedicate to the women in my life currently."
NoMBe was born in rural Germany to a German father and an African-American mother. His parents split up early in his life, and NoMBe was raised mostly by his grandmother and his godmother — who happens to be none other than singer Chaka Khan.
McBeth says "Chaka has been in my life for as long as I can remember. She's an old friend of my dad's, and a lot of people don't know this about her but she actually speaks German, she's lived there for a few years."
"She's an incredible human being," he says. "I've learned a lot from her in terms of showmanship, how to carry yourself around fans, how to deal with demanding schedules ... so I'm proud to call her a friend and family."
NoMBe, who tours with an all-female band and creative team, identifies as a feminist. He says his song Man Up is a call to action for men. "It's the most straightforward political song that's like a statement on the album," he says.
"On the surface it's about men having to step their game up with their role in society, and it can't always come from the oppressed person, you know," he says. "There has to be some point where 'the person that is in charge' needs to have a change of heart, right? So to reverse that you have to be more concise in everyday life."
The artist says we can be more thoughtful beyond making simple blanket statements of support, like "Oh yeah, women are awesome." He adds, "I think we all have to aware how much we are all feeding into that. So you know it takes a village."
NoMBe's sense of responsibility comes from two strong women in his life: his German grandmother, and his mother — who wasn't always present in his childhood, but has since become an important influence on his life and music.
"My mom is my biggest fan," he says. "Sometimes we have a falling out, then we patch it back up, but we talk about everything. That's how she was able to affect this record so much and affect me and my relationships ... we really feed off each other in that way, and it's family. I owe her everything."
NoMBe's debut album, They Might've Even Loved Me, is out now. Hear more of his conversation with All Things Considered at the audio link.
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