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Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Noah Gundersen, lover and lyricist

Noah Gundersen speaking to the crowd at his concert at the Wild Buffalo House of Music on Thursday, Sep. 19 // Photo by Thomas Hughes

By Emily Erskine

Most kids grow up with a passion- something or someone they strive to be when they grow up. With time, most of those fantasies die or age out, but for Seattle-based musician Noah Gundersen, they never did.

While other kids went out and did whatever other kids do, Gundersen spent time alone, in his own head, writing songs and making music in his bedroom. 

Living most of his adolescence in Centralia, Washington, Gundersen idolized the bands that got to make a name for themselves in Seattle. 

“Growing up in a small town and seeing the big bands around me gave me a sense of hope — that it was possible,” Gundersen said. 

While Seattle is notorious for its birth of grunge and forging one’s own path, Gundersen doesn’t feel like he was really influenced by this scene.

“This idea of doing what’s not “cool” makes people too self conscious about it,” Gundersen said. “It makes people less creative, and more focused on “coolness,” or like the ghost of Kurt Cobain is looming over their shoulder.” 

Noah Gundersen and sister Lizzie Gundersen performing together the Wild Buffalo House of Music on Thursday, Sep. 19 // Photo by Thomas Hughes

According to him, his music is mostly inspired by his own experiences and feelings, less about curating a message for other people to decipher. Though he does hope that young people take more chances and shouldn’t be afraid of their own growth.

“Don’t be afraid of getting hurt, but when you do, allow yourself to feel it,” Gundersen said. “Your experiences are all valid. It’s ok to get angry, it’s ok to get sad. Your feelings are valid. No one really has it figured out. Go easy on yourself.” 

Shortly after leaving home and relocating to Seattle, Gundersen went on to release his first EP titled “Brand New World” in 2008 and eventually his first album “Ledges” in 2014. Now he is currently touring the Pacific Northwest with his most recent album “Lover.” 

“Some of it [Lover] is about failure. A lot of it is just about love,” Gundersen said. “And getting older and growing up, and the beauty of that. And realizing mortality and failing… Accepting the things I can’t change.”

Long time fan of 10 years and audience member of Gundersen’s Bellingham show, Nash, says he feels like Gundersen has become a friend of his through his music. 

“How he captures the crowd is very charismatic,” Nash said. “It [Gundersen’s music] has changed a lot over the years, and it’s very interesting to see that.”

Touring alongside Gundersen is Meagan Grandall of Lemolo, another Pacific Northwest based artist.

Lemolo // Photo courtesy of Jaquilyn Shumate

Raised in the coastal town of Poulsbo, Washington, Grandall takes inspiration from her roots and describes her two passions as songwriting and sailing. 

“Being on the water is equally inspiring to me,” Grandall said. “The more adult time I have to do, the less time I have to be on the water. There must be some kind of longing happening in my soul.” 

According to Grandall, the two (Gundersen and Grandall) have known each other for years. They have both worked with producer Nathan Yaccino on their albums. 

“It’s a big city [Seattle] but the community feels pretty small,” Grandall said. 

Gundersen and Grandall performed together in Bellingham at the Wild Buffalo House of Music on Thursday, Sept. 19, the Lucky You Lounge in Spokane, Washington on Sept. 22 and will be touring throughout the United States until Nov. 6. 

Aside from her tour with Gundersen, Grandall will also be performing a show in Seattle at Saint Mark’s Cathedral on Oct. 12.

“I’m excited to take it on the road again,” Gundersen said. “Bellingham is a really restorative place for me. As I get farther and farther from the city, my mind slows down. Bellingham holds a special place in my heart.”

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