Local Noise: Noush Skaugen: Dare To Dream

She is nominated for a British Music Week award as “Rising Star Of 2009.” She has been invited to appear with Lily Allen at the Download Music Awards in London. She has risen to become the top unsigned artist on Twitter with nearly one million followers. So how did this UK-based singer end up with a New Jersey-based management consultant and New Jersey-based musicians?

“I found Gene through Sonicbids,” says Noush Skaugen, talking about her relationship with Gene Foley, the New Jersey consultant who has helped guide her career on its steady upward path. “I submitted my EPK about two years ago, and Gene selected me to work with him. We had a fabulous conversation over the phone and there was the start of a long and wonderful professional relationship and friendship.” Gene also helped hook Noush up with Kurt and George from the New Jersey-based band West Gate. “I always have great New Jersey musicians,” she adds.

Noush is no stranger to the U.S. music scene as she has been a mainstay on college radio, which resulted in her hitting the CMJ charts. She was also in regular rotation on satellite radio, and gave a live in-studio performance at L.A.’s infamous Top 40 station KIIS FM. That helped her garner Alternative Pop Artist Of The Year at the Los Angeles Music Awards.

Musically, Noush is a mix of singer/songwriter sensibilities and rock and roll, as evidenced by her influences, which include Joni Mitchell, Tracy Chapman, Fleetwood Mac, Rolling Stones, Muse, Foo Fighters, The Beatles, and Prince. “A fusion of story-driven American and British rock music that comes from the guts,” she explains. “Generally I will start playing my guitar, a melody pops into my head, which I get an emotion from and then the lyrical content flows. Or I will have a subject I want to write about and start from that angle. Sometimes I get inspired in the middle of the night and just have roll out of bed and write the song there and then.”

Two particular songs, “Adeline” and “Not Gonna Give You The Satisfaction,” are favorites with fans. “I think that my most recent unreleased songs are my faves, but that’s always the way with us songwriters, that we think the last song we wrote is our best one ever,” laughs Noush. “Then I realize I was completely delusional a few days later. ‘One Last Time’ is a personal favorite that I wrote about my Mum, a deep one.”

Noush spends her time on the road, which is where she prefers to be. “I am playing NYC at The Bitter End on Friday, Oct. 30, and will have a show in L.A. shortly after. Then there are talks of a national tour of Australia before the end of 2009, so we shall see,” she says. “I recently was confirmed to play the SXSW Festival in Austin in March of 2010, so that will be awesome! In-between shows I am focusing on writing and producing my forthcoming album to be released early 2010.”

Noush’s last release, 2008’s Lost And Found, was inspired by her mother, who she lost to breast cancer several years ago. As a result, a portion of the proceeds from the sale of the album are donated to breast cancer research. The album was completed in Nashville, and part of it was even done at a studio that was once owned by Al Capone, which he used as a hideout for some of his henchmen.

The CD includes both upbeat songs and some more reflective songs, based on the loss of her mother. Her writing comes form her personal experiences, and just as people go through a range of emotions, she feels that the album is the result of the different emotions she has gone through. “My goals are to connect with people, take them away for three minutes somewhere else, and encourage folks to dare to dream,” she relates. “Life is short and every moment should be seized. Professionally, I would love to win a Grammy, tour the world many times over and stop time with my music!”

Of course, being on the road has lead to some interesting tales. “Many stories to be told, but as the saying goes, ‘What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas,’ it’s kinda like that with my band on the road,” she laughs. “Although I can tell you, we were just filming a celebration spoof music video for when I hit one million Twitter followers, and there was a scene where I threw an ice cream in the air. We hadn’t thought about where it was going to land. Well, it landed by mistake all over a tourist walking by. Very funny moment that even the camera man stopped filming. We apologized like crazy, and the tourist was a really good sport and just laughed it off.”

You can see Noush and her Jersey boys at the Bitter End on Oct. 30, at 9 p.m. For more information, check out NoushSkaugen.com.