Sierra Noble has a new song, a new look and new pronoun but those aren’t the only updates in the singer-songwriter’s life and career they wish to share.

Sierra Noble has a new song, a new look and new pronoun but those aren’t the only updates in the singer-songwriter’s life and career they wish to share.

A new single, Let Me Out of Here, addresses the abuse Noble suffered as a teenager, when they became a rising star in the music business.

But in an interview, Noble expands on the lyrics of the tune, the past and a five-year hiatus from recording that ended earlier this month with the song’s release.

"That was in 2016 when I was in Nashville when my body and my mind just said, ‘Enough is enough,’ " Noble says. "The box is full. You can’t keep putting things in this box. You’ve got to take them all out and look at them and deal with it."

The 31-year-old singer, who began performing at 13, says they had to confront years of sexual harassment, sexual abuse and the traumatic stress that were the result of those instances.

"Aside from all those horrendous experiences, I struggle with anxiety and depression and it’s difficult when you’re a busy performer, when you’re a touring musician and your schedule is packed. Especially when you grow up in that mode of go, go, go, go, go," Noble says. "You’re doing what you love so you don’t want to take a break. You think, ‘Why do I need a break from the thing I love?’

"But those experiences keep piling up and piling up and when you don’t take the time to take care of yourself and those experiences that live inside of you they will take a serious toll."

“But those experiences keep piling up and piling up and when you don’t take the time to take care of yourself and those experiences that live inside of you they will take a serious toll.” – Sierra Noble

Noble had been a mainstay in Manitoba’s concert scene since releasing the 2005 fiddling album Spirit of the Strings and the 2008 record Possibilities. After the 2016 release of City of Ghosts however, Noble backed away from the spotlight.

An appearance at the Unite 150 concert on Aug. 28, the celebration of Manitoba’s 150th anniversary of entering Confederation, showed a new, non-binary Sierra Noble.

The singer and fiddler’s new look earned kudos from Portage la Prairie country duo Doc Walker, Noble’s bandmates that night, and it was a sign that a new and revitalized artist was back.

"I didn’t completely quit music. I was still performing here and there, but I did really need to take a step back to reconnect with myself and do a lot of healing and self-exploration," Noble says. "Here I am now, definitely the most authentic version of myself that I have ever been in my life and it feels really amazing.

"It felt so amazing to step on that stage and see so many people from the city I love so much to safely gather. I also felt like I was standing in front of my friends, saying, ‘Hey, I’m back. Look what I did. I’m OK and I can’t wait to see you all.’"

JEN DOERKSEN / BNB STUDIOS</p><p>“This entire process of writing this song and the making of a video and putting it out in the world has been a therapeutic experience for all of us,” Sierra Noble says about working with animator Nicholas Friesen and producer Rusty Matyas on Let Me Out of Here.</p>

JEN DOERKSEN / BNB STUDIOS

“This entire process of writing this song and the making of a video and putting it out in the world has been a therapeutic experience for all of us,” Sierra Noble says about working with animator Nicholas Friesen and producer Rusty Matyas on Let Me Out of Here.

Let Me Out of Here has none of the fancy Métis fiddling that first got Noble noticed and landed them a dream gig: performing at the opening ceremonies of the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver.

Instead, the new single has a dreamy quality that is reminiscent of k.d. lang, another Canadian country artist who has gone to a more contemporary pop route after beginning in country and western music.

"It definitely is a bit of a departure," Noble says. "It feels like a natural evolution. it wasn’t really like a conscious choice to create a new sound or be a new me; it was really just me following my own dream of self-exploration and identity and exploration as a musician."

The lyrics are pointed though.

"Everyone’s got an opinion to share so I stand there politely pretending to care," Noble sings early in the song.

“It feels like a natural evolution. it wasn’t really like a conscious choice to create a new sound or be a new me; it was really just me following my own dream of self–exploration and identity and exploration as a musician.” – Sierra Noble

"I would never wish that I didn’t do it or else I wouldn’t be here today as a person and as a musician, but it is not OK that those things happened," Noble adds in the interview.

"I wouldn’t change anything and I would change everything."

Sketches of Sierra

Thousands of drawings of Sierra Noble that took months to create are the centrepiece of the Winnipeg singer’s new video for the single Let Me Out of Here.

Thousands of drawings of Sierra Noble that took months to create are the centrepiece of the Winnipeg singer’s new video for the single Let Me Out of Here.

The four-minute-22-second work by Winnipeg illustrator and animator Nicholas Friesen shows Noble and Rusty Matyas, who produced the song, singing and playing Let Me Out of Here in the studio.

It also depicts some of the darker moments of their lives too, Noble says.

“Nick is a good friend of Rusty’s and we’ve gone to a couple of routes for a music-video concept... but it never felt quite right,” Noble says. “We followed our gut at every step of the way on this song and its coming into the world.

“All three of us have been through a lot and I shared some very vulnerable memories from my life and Rusty did the same and Nick went home and went to town. He put his whole heart into it and I think this entire process of writing this song and the making of a video and putting it out in the world has been a therapeutic experience for all of us.”

Noble worked on the song with Winnipeg producer Rusty Matyas. They have recorded before and Noble says the two make a good musical combo.

Matyas has performed with groups such as the Weakerthans, Imaginary Cities and the Sheepdogs, but he left the touring grind behind — and the drinking that had often became part of life on the road — to focus on producing and as a session musician for other artists.

"We’ve both been musicians for a very long time and in many ways it almost killed both of us," Noble says. "But we have re-emerged and we’ve done so much healing individually and I feel so glad to have a more healthy relationship with being an artist and what that means and what that can look like in the world."

JEN DOERKSEN / BNB STUDIOS</p><p>"We followed our gut at every step of the way," says Sierra Noble.</p>

JEN DOERKSEN / BNB STUDIOS

"We followed our gut at every step of the way," says Sierra Noble.

Noble has been an activist and philanthropist and has received humanitarian awards from the Canadian Red Cross and the Manitoba Teachers’ Society as well as a Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal. They have helped refugee children in Winnipeg, raised awareness of the threat of landmines in war-torn countries through the group War Child Canada, and, during a press conference in August where Noble pleaded with the provincial government to help people fleeing Afghanistan during the country’s violent takeover by the Taliban.

The singer wants to expand on that, using their experience to help others in their dealings with the music industry, especially those who have also faced its cruel side.

"I really want to be an advocate for other musicians who feel the same way or have felt the same way, being able to have a healthier existence as an artist, particularly for artists who exist in female bodies."

alan.small@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter:@AlanDSmall

 

Alan Small

Alan Small
Reporter

Alan Small has been a journalist at the Free Press for more than 22 years in a variety of roles, the latest being a reporter in the Arts and Life section.

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