The sparse sound of Take Two proves you don’t need a lot of tracks to make a compelling EP
Noa Levy’s debut jazz EP Take Two is a collection of duets featuring just two musicians. Noa received rave reviews from music publications nationwide for her creative choices, musicality, and original interpretations. The sparse sound proves you don’t need a lot of tracks to make a compelling EP.
Noa’s methods for making space:
Uses her living room as her music studio, meaning she doesn’t have space for guests (unless their musicians!).
Doesn’t own a car and shops vintage.
Her music jobs are often residencies so she doesn’t have the flexibility for travel.
Small Space, Big Taste Survey
What did you want to be when you were a child? What did you end up doing for a living?
When I was five, I wanted to be a dancer. When I was 8 I wanted to be an actor. When I was 12 I wanted to be a singer in musicals. I’ve pretty much made my living doing all of the above in some shape or form :)
Tell us about a creative project that you're making space for in your life.
I've always had a strong connection with the performing arts—but music is my passion because it allows me freedom of mental and emotional expression while being highly energetic. The current project I’m making space for is a result of moving to San Francisco. I wanted to make an intimate record to serve as a vehicle for creating new musical connections. The format is just two musicians at a time, playing an acoustic live set in a small room.
Before you got started, what was holding you back?
I was definitely held back by budget constraints. Being a full-time musician takes grit and budgeting. Even if you’re lucky enough to be a full-time musician, it’s not a lucrative career for 99% of artists. One misconception is that artists get paid for on Spotify. Spotify pays nearly zilch to artists for streamed music so you have to rely on direct album sales and paid live performances to bring in income.
For this project, what held me back was not being sure that people would dig such a sparse sound. Today’s records are so heavily produced—sometimes there are hundreds of tracks layered! So I was afraid people wouldn't relate to just two sounds.
What was the turning point that made you decide to pursue your this passion project?
I had just moved to San Francisco and was really looking to connect with new people over music. Once I started to meet other musicians, I enjoyed working with them so much and was inspired by their talents and wanted to put it on record :)
“I need to have a keyboard to practice at home so in a San Francisco-sized one bedroom, that means we barely have a living room!”
How are you making space for your passion in your home? What are you saying no to related to your physical space to make it happen?
Well I need to have a keyboard to practice at home so in a San Francisco-sized one bedroom, that means we barely have a living room... so I don't host big dinners, we simply pick a new trendy spot!
How are you making space for your passion in your budget? What are you saying no to related to your spending to make it happen?
Aha, good one. Well even though I mentioned the trendy spots, we really try not to spend much going out unless it's a very special occasion. Also, I don't own a car and whenever I shop for clothes it's usually second hand. Ahem, I mean vintage!
How are you making space for your passion in your calendar? What are you saying no to related to your time to make it happen?
Many of my gigs are residencies which means long term commitments and not having too much flexibility for traveling. The hardest thing is to carve out time for practicing—music is a lifelong learning pursuit and I still have SO much to learn.
What is the result? What are you creating? What are you most proud of?
Well, the EP is, of course, the first result. The live shows that followed were even more exciting. But I'm even more proud of the relationships that were built and will grow with me to the next album!
What would you tell yourself ten to twenty years ago that you wish you knew then?
There's nothing wrong with you, you're doing great!