Sitting Down With Joe Noto: Talkin' About the Rising Star and His New Smash "Hell of a Better Place"
On April 24th Joe released "Hell of a Better Place" and as I was throwing together UPstar. Music's "Rising Country Friday" I stumbled across this song and I was in awe. I think we all have a special spot for those deep and meaningful songs, especially with everything going on today. If you are looking for a comparison before giving it a listen, it gives that same tear jerking vibe of Riley Green's "I Wish Grandpas Never Died". Whether you are feeling a little down or just bored sometimes, we all find ourselves putting together an imaginary list of things that we wish happened or what life would be like if certain things didn't happen like "Wow... I wonder if the Yankees would have won the World Series if the Astros didn't cheat" things like that. Still salty about it to this day.
Get to Know Joe
You may not have heard his name yet, but one you will for sure be hearing in the future. Joe grew up in the Village of Royal Palm Beach and currently is a student at Florida State University. Joe describes his childhood as one filled with all sorts of music from Country which was a necessity on his mom's side of the family to Jazz and Rock on his dad's side. It wasn't just listening to music that made him fall in love, he grew up with musicians around him as his grandfather was in the Jazz scene up in Rochester, NY which is where I'm from...small world. His dad played drums in a Rock band, Joe always had the passion for music and was inspired by his family to get into music one way or another. Joe didn't dig into Country Music outside of his favorites like Tim McGraw, Shania Twain and the Dixie Chicks because that's what his mom always listened to. As he grew up, his buddies were all big Country Music fans so it began to rub off on him and soon realized the stories behind each song which Joe was intrigued by. He recalls one night in 6th grade listening to Alan Jackson's "Remember When" and finding how incredible the story telling was and went on to say "In Country Music you can always take a lesson, you can always take a story from what you hear". Joe didn't start singing until high school where he was a part of a Rock band, but always found himself wanting to play Country songs and his urge to perform and chase his dream kept growing.
"Hell of a Better Place"... Joe's Latest Single and a DAMN Good One
Written by: Joe Noto, Produced by: Grady Saxman
Wait for it... ARE YOU KIDDING ME??! Personally, I'm all about the deep and meaningful songs that help you put life in perspective and allow you to be grateful for everything you have. I put "Hell of a Better Place" in the same category as tear-jerkers like "Five More Minutes" by Scotty McCreery and "Humble and Kind" by Tim McGraw.
Inspiration behind "Hell of a Better Place"
Joe and I then talked about what inspired this song and the story behind it. It started one weekend during his spring semester of his freshman year and the day before he had gone fishing, and he was laying in bed thinking "damn, I wish my fishing pole didn't tangle yesterday and that would be pretty cool to put in a song, so I started thinking of other lines of things to tie in with things I wished never happened and then another line came to me "going to see my grandfather, didn't mean stopping by his grave"... so here I was with two lines, but had no idea the direction I wanted to go with it." He then started to think about how to make bad things better, but still didn't have a solid idea until he started writing it like a poem without a guitar and the song just started to build from there. After playing it at shows and getting great feedback, Joe was trying to find the perfect time to release it and and when he talked to some one up in Nashville he said there was no better time than right now with everything going on right now. And this is a song that everyone needs right now... excited to see it do well.
Q & A With Joe Noto
Q: What have you been doing during quarantine?
A: "I have been doing a lot of staying up late, my sleep schedule has been totally thrown off. I have been bike riding with some friends we all live in the same neighborhood and going out everyday and get on some trails like we're kids again and have been going out a lot by myself and fishing and been doing that. So just been doing a lot of biking and fishing and online classes have been tough."
Q: If you could have dinner with one rising artist, a star and a legend who would they be and why?
A: "My legend even though it's not one person would be Brooks & Dunn, then Ashley McBryde and HARDY. So for Brooks & Dunn, I have listened to them since I was young, I always knew their songs, Ashley McBryde is the rebel Country Music needs right now, and am absolutely fascinated by her style and her writing. And HARDY just seems wild, and I would love to meet him, and his songwriting is second to none and just pick his brain."
Q: How has it been balancing college and pursuing music?
A: "It's some sort of balance for sure... it is hard to focus on school, especially since I started traveling to play shows. School is definitely important, but hard to have it be my #1 focus right now. I just think when you really love something and you are so passionate about something (music), it can be hard to want to focus on anything else. The balance is crazy, just trying to find the right schedule, school is falling a little secondary right now, but gonna finish up and push through."
Q: What are your plans for new music?
A: "I've been writing, working on a song right now for all the guys out there about Jack Daniels called "My Buddy Jack", I wrote it Freshman year of college, hoping to release that sometime in June or July, want to put out a drinking song since I don't have one yet. I hope to record at least three more songs and look to put an EP out by the end of the year, just trying to write at much as I can and look at some songs to put a hold on. Really want my next songs to show people who I truly am and identify who I am as an artist."
Get ready for some new songs y'all and head to Apple Music and Spotify and stream his previous two singles "Picture in My Wallet" and "Chasin After You".