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Johari Noelle: LA To Vocalo’s Studios In 30 Hours

Written by on October 14, 2022

Photo by Rakim Winfert.

Bekoe: Let them know, hey! Speaking of Chicago, what are some things you miss?

JN: I mean, the food, for one. The food! 

Bekoe: What’s the first thing, as soon as y’all got here, where did you go? What restaurant did you go to? 

JN: I haven’t had a chance yet! But, I’ll tell you one thing, after the show I definitely want to get into some unhealthy stuff like some pizza, some chicken, some Italian beefs. I mean, I kind of want to get a to-go plate of everything. I want to make a quick stop by Portillo’s, Harold’s. I mean, even JJ’s is really good.

Bekoe: Look, I see you getting hungry talking about it! 

JN: I’m so hungry. 

Bekoe: That’ll be like the number one thing, a lot of people say when they move out, how they miss the food.

JN: Oh, man, yes, the food. I also missed the weather, like the way that the weather changes, like it’s fall here. It’s so pretty and cool and the leaves are beautiful. You don’t really get that out there, everything’s kind of the same the entire year. It gets a little chilly, but you don’t experience seasons. So I kind of missed that, too.

Bekoe: That’s beautiful out in Cali, I’ve heard. I haven’t been there yet. 

JN: Really?

Bekoe: Yet. I plan to make my way there soon, because I also have some friends, a lot of friends that stay out there. So eventually I’m gonna make my way out there.

JN: You got to visit, just visit.

Bekoe: What’s the first thing I should do when I get to Cali? Put me on, come on, Johari! Put me on. Put us on!

JN: Okay, you know what, you call me when you get there and we’ll just take you to a few spots.

Bekoe: Oh, perfect. Y’all paying? [Laughs]

JN: [Laughs] Let’s talk about it after the show! 

Bekoe: Gas was almost $10 out there! 

JN: No, really!


Bekoe: Look, so let’s actually transition into what you’re here for. You know, you’re back in Chicago, you have a show at Promontory. This is the first time you’ve performed here… it’s been three years. So it’ll be the first time in three years. And that was the last time I’ve seen you, was like three years ago! So, how exciting for that. How exciting is that for you?

JN: Man, it’s really exciting. I mean, one, the pandemic, I felt like, slowed so much down. I had so much lined up. And so, being able to jump back in, and really pick up where I left off here, is super fun and exciting to do. And just being able to tap in with other artists out here that I love and admire and support. We’ve got Matt Muse, we’ve got Lei Dominique, Pierce English, who’s a great R&B singer. And then from LA, I’ve got my friend Emery Kelly, who was on a Netflix series, but he also makes R&B and pop flair. So it’s gonna be fun to bring all of that to one show and introduce both worlds. So my LA world, and then my Chicago world intertwined… it’s gonna be a great time.

Bekoe: It sounds like you hand-selected these performers.

JN: Well, so basically, what I did is I posted on social media, “Yo, I’m planning a show in Chicago, who should I put on the lineup?” And the first group of people that reached out, I just was like, “Alright, alright, let’s figure it out.” And I really wanted to pick people that, you know, I had close relationships with and people that I was fans of, and just also people that were super responsive, which was great. I heard from them super fast. I wish I could add more people, honestly. I want to do more of these shows, where I have more artists locally and just have an annual residency, if you will, that’d be really dope. That would be super cool. We’ll see, I’m gonna try. I’m gonna work on it. 

Bekoe: Make it happen! 

JN: This was really hard, so I’m excited to be able to put this together. And yeah, I definitely have to do that.

Bekoe: Again, where can people expect… when does the event go down?

JN: So the show is this Friday night, at 7 p.m. the show starts, so please be on time. Pierce will open up the show and I will close out the show. And we’ll also have merch available to purchase on hand. The show sponsored by Sure, shout out to Sure. I appreciate them. And yes, we’re also doing an after party. So if you get a ticket to the show, you’ll get details on the after party.

Bekoe: Look, I ain’t drink, but I might have to take a shot to that, because it’s a celebration! You back in the city and you’re hitting the stage, it’s been three years and I finally get to see you and your glow up. And see what this performance coach been up to! I’m ready to see how things are panning out.

JN: You know, it’s just added more alive to some of the songs. One of them, that’s my favorite, is “Crazy Lonely.” So that one has stuff, and “Show Me”‘s got moves, and all my other new songs like “Get Free.” I’ll also be performing songs that I released last year, like “Grey,” “Games Forever,” “Get Free.” My new single, “Your Way,” which I’m super excited to do. That’ll be my first time performing that one, too!

Photo by Rakim Winfert.

Bekoe: And, you know, this is the first station to break it, as well because I got “Your Way” loaded up to end off our time. But before I even get into it, you got to let everybody know how they can get merch, just in case they can’t make it out to the event. Or if they want to make it to the event, let people know where they can go purchase tickets and how they can purchase merch, as well as follow you.

JN: Yes. Okay, so in regards to merch, you can order merch online on my website, You can also follow me on Instagram @JohariNoelle. And that’s also where you can get the tickets to the show, the tickets are located on Eventbrite. You can also get them on Promontory’s website, my website. So yeah, my Instagram, my Instagram bio, Promontory’s website, as well as Eventbrite, and it’s “An Intimate Night with Johari Noelle,” live at the Promontory, sponsored by Sure.

Bekoe: I’m gonna definitely make sure I pop out and get some footage, I’m finna enjoy myself Friday. Y’all be there, I’m gonna be there. And, like I said, I got your single loaded up, “Your Way.” Break it down first, before… we make our exit, who produced the record? And is there a new project in the works? What’s going on with the new single?

JN: So, the new single was produced by an East Coast producer, his name’s Reezy. Shout out to him. I met him via Instagram, with another team of producers and writers, and we got together and we made “Your Way.” The song is really about reciprocity, but in the more villain sense of just embracing being the bad guy. I think that sometimes in relationships and in love, we let ourselves fall victim to being a victim, you know what I mean? In this song, I’m kind of taking my power back and saying, “I’m gonna get mine.” You know what I mean? So it’s kind of one of those songs, for anybody that has been in a relationship or a situationship where you felt like somebody was trying to do you dirty. This song is basically saying, “Hey, I’m gonna do my dirt, too. So don’t get mad when I do my dirt.” I’m encouraging you to be a villain. But it’s also up-tempo vibes, you can dance to it, you can get ready to it, you can workout to it, you can really do anything to it.

Follow Johari Noelle on Twitter and Instagram, and stream her music on Spotify below.

Interview and audio production by Bekoe

Photos and video by Rakim Winfert

Introduction, transcription and editing for length and clarity by Morgan Ciocca

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