Since starring on the final season of Glee as Roderick Meeks, singer-songwriter Noah Guthrie has been busy preparing for his “Till It Thunders” tour around the United States. Rising to fame after his cover of LMFAO’s “Sexy and I Know It” went viral, Guthrie has since gone on to garner over 53 million views on his Youtube videos. Additionally, his talent has led him to open for acts such as Ed Sheeran, Selena Gomez, and Neon Trees.
Prior to his performance at Cafe 939 in Boston, Guthrie spoke with Blast Magazine about his experience recording videos on Youtube, starring on the hit show Glee, and headlining his own tour.
Blast Magazine: This year, you played the recurring character Roderick Meeks on the final season of Glee. What was that experience like and what is your favorite memory from doing the show?
Noah Guthrie: The experience was awesome. I know that is a very generic answer, but it was awesome and very out of the blue for me. I never really wanted to act and it was never anything that I had on my radar. However, Glee called me and asked me to audition, which led to me getting the role. I met lots of amazing people and had a great time. My favorite memories are all from hanging out with the four other new kids. We all became really good friends and it was a hectic time, but really enjoyable. Being on the show has really helped me out a lot.
Blast Magazine: When you were on Glee, did you feel that you related to the character of Roderick Meeks?
Guthrie: I totally relate to Roderick. I think that was the whole reason they picked me. When they called me and said that they had a character that they had trouble casting but thought that I would be perfect for, I was confused how they would think that as I’ve never acted before. However, once they told me the character breakdown, all I could think was that they had just described me. They wanted a kind of chubby, shy guy who is always inside his shell and had the voice of Otis Redding. The whole season, I pretty much just said the lines like they were my own words because in high school, I was Roderick. I was shy and obviously the big kid. I wasn’t ever physically bullied, but I was picked on from middle school onward, so I understood the character. What really made me relate to him was that when I did start singing in high school, life got so much easier. Once people knew I could sing, they were always nice to me. I don’t know why that was even a thing, but it was, so I do relate very closely to him. I was in the choir and took voice lessons in school. It was pretty much me just playing my high school self, except for the clothes because I didn’t wear a bunch of embroidered stuff.
Blast Magazine: After you released your cover of “Sexy and I Know It”, your Youtube channel became much more well-known. Since then, you have covered a variety of songs. How do you choose which song you want to cover next and what is the process of recording it like?
Guthrie: When I’m choosing a cover, most of the time I choose the song based on popularity because that’s what will get the most hits at the time. As far as making it my own and trying to find that balance, sometimes it’s really hard and sometimes it’s really easy. When I did “Sexy and I Know It” and all that crazy stuff happened, that was really easy. I just played a blues riff and sang the song over the top of it and it just worked somehow. With the other stuff, I like to get a little more complex with it when I can but I don’t have a huge theory background. I like to change it up and I think that’s what the fans tune in for now because no one wants to hear the same song done over and over the same way. Making the song a little different and changing it up has kind of become my thing now. Sometimes it is as simple as me just putting my voice on it to change up the sound. I just did a cover of ”Chains” by Nick Jonas, and it was lot more bluesy but had a cool flow to it. I was really happy with the way it turned out. The song is there and you can do whatever you want with it.
Blast Magazine: You started your Youtube channel five years ago. How did you get into music prior to that?
Guthrie: I have been around music my whole life. My dad was a studio singer and had his own stuff in the 70’s and my step-mom was a studio singer as well. My mom always put me in front of really good music, so my older brother and I were around music since we were born and grew up in the studio. Since I was around it so much, it was kind of bound to happen. I guess I really started singing publicly when I was 13 or 14. I was really just copying what I heard from my dad until I found my own sound. My brother has been playing drums since he was like 2 and now he is my drummer and a recording engineer. I think I picked up a guitar at 14 or 15 and then I started writing music. I have been trying to do the singer-songwriter thing ever since, so I’ve been around music almost all my life.
Blast Magazine: Your Youtube account enabled you to build up a sizable fan base. What are your feelings on people being able to make a name for themselves from the internet and social media?
Guthrie: I think social media is super important now. Whenever people ask me advice on Youtube, I always tell them that if you are not tackling social media, you are not doing everything you can. I wish it was still like the days where a touring band could go out and be seen by big record labels and that was it, but it’s not. For me, Youtube has been a really good platform that I didn’t even think was there. I had no idea you could be a Youtube musician, which I don’t like labeling myself as, but I have over 100 songs in my catalog of music on there, so I guess I fall into that category. I think it was very important for me to have regular content on a weekly basis. I’ve gotten way off of that now since I have gotten busy with other things, but it helped to build an incredibly loyal fan base. They have been with me for five years and are the most loyal people out there. They are just there all the time and it’s great. I think social media is super important and has been a big turning point in my musical journey.
Blast: Has there ever been a moment where you thought pursuing a career in music wasn’t for you?
Guthrie: I think that there was always an overwhelming sense that music was for me, but obviously you always have doubt in life.
Blast Magazine: What has been your most difficult challenge to overcome?
Guthrie: My biggest challenge, which I am still getting over, is trusting myself when I’m writing and coming up with new songs. Right now, I’m in a weird stage where I’m writing new stuff and constantly wondering if it is good enough or if it is as good as the last album. I am working on just going where the music is taking me and trusting myself. I think everyone has doubt and you just have to use it to drive you a little more.
Blast Magazine: Out of all of the songs that you have covered, what has been your favorite?
Guthrie: As far as my favorite song to cover, it’s really hard to say. My favorite stuff to cover on the channel would probably be any of the Mumford and Sons songs or some of the offbeat songwriters that no one knows that I cover every now and then for my own sanity. I covered a song from a group called Johnnyswim and I really enjoyed that a lot. You Are My Sunshine is also a favorite of mine. I really like playing Valerie, which I still play in my set. It’s just so much fun to sing. I feel a connection to all of my covers. Some of them are a bad connection because it either took me a long time to finish it or because it was just not what I wanted, but I definitely have a connection with each song.
Future tour dates, music and merchandise can be found on Noah’s website: www.noahguthrie.com and make sure to follow him on Twitter at @Only1Noah.