‘Glee,’ YouTube Star Noah Guthrie Makes His Own Sound on ‘The Valley’
Noah Guthrie is far more than just an impressive cover star.
When he posted his first YouTube cover in 2011, fans took notice, coming back time and time again to watch him transform hits like “Thinking Out Loud,” “Story of My Life,” “Sexy Back” and others into his something all his own. Starting off as a humble 17-year-old, Guthrie has evolved into a YouTube sensation, with followers rewarding his talent with millions of views — more than 75 million to date, to be more precise.
“It's just very cool you can go from your bedroom to across the world in two seconds. I was very lucky to find YouTube and really have grown a really loyal fanbase there,” Guthrie tells Taste of Country. But it wasn’t until he released a surprising cover that Guthrie would reach people outside of YouTube. His rendition of LMFAO’s “Sexy and I Know It" changed his life.
“I had this blues riff that I had been messing around with and at some point started singing 'wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, yeah' over the top of it just as a joke and it kind of stuck,” he explains. Though he was in desperate need of a cover to post during a YouTube lull, he did not take the suggestion seriously when an acquaintance encouraged him to post on online.
Days later, Guthrie decided to pull the trigger and post the song "as a joke to myself," he thought. But when he woke up the next day, he realized his decision — and his creativity — was nothing to laugh at. "I posted it, went to sleep, and woke up and it was blowing up. So you just never know,” he laughs, recalling the video that now has more than 25 million views.
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It was from that performance, coupled with his other gems, that landed Guthrie on a call with a casting agent from Glee, which led to a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to appear on the show. He went back to his small South Carolina town to pack his belongings and hopped on a plane to L.A. two days later.
“It was very surreal, I never acted or anything like that, so it was mainly just acting school for me,” he says of playing the character Roderick Meets in the show's sixth season. “It was a very, very cool experience.”
Glee gave him the opportunity to learn and work alongside stars like Lea Michele, Naya Rivera, Chris Colfer and more and he has nothing but kind words to say about the experience — "amazing," in fact, he says of working with the cast.
"My first day on set was a scene in the library and it's the whole senior cast and me, so it was just completely just throw yourself in there and go for it. They were very welcoming and just amazing to work with," Guthrie says. "Really, really great people.”
It is all of these life experiences combined that are poured into The Valley, Guthrie’s 2017 album. “This next record is I think a little more mature than my last. I had a lot of these songs already in the tank really,” he explains.
Though only 23, he’s already released six other albums, most of which consist of covers. But The Valley allows him to shine on his own, writing several of the tracks tracks and co-producing it with his brother. He calls the project a blend of “loneliness and heartache,” drawing from his real-life experiences of enduring a long-distance relationship and adjusting to the fast-paced L.A. lifestyle from his slow, Southern home.
With a unique idea pool to draw from, Guthrie says he just let the music come to him. “Some of the songs are a little more personal and yet some of them are just good stories. But mainly it was just a lot of sitting in silence until the song came, just until you get inspired enough to write it," he says with a chuckle. "As literal as that sounds, it's just a lot of waiting and putting it all together when it comes."
He’s also using inspiration he gets from other artists, like Chris Stapleton and Jason Isbell, as fuel for his creative passions. “There's a lot of good material to kind of feed your soul with and write your own, so I was happy with it," he says. “I think we really came with something cool.”
The Valley was released on June 23.
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