Noemie Wolfs: she’s carved out a space of her own and found her creative freedom
Noemie Wolfs talks future plans and empowering others.
The concept that a woman could be in complete control of her public and private identity in the global music industry is a recent one. Fierce performing female artists have consistently been serving up vocal confidence which we’ve absorbed and have even been liberated by since music found its preferred mode of transit over our radio’s, mp3’s and now online streaming. Despite this, the gender divide in the music industry across all regions is roughly 70% male and 30% female. As we find ourselves more immersed in the progress of female performative expressions, empowering women in the music industry is more important than ever before.
Noemie Wolfs is an example of such a necessity. Wolfs, previously the lead in an otherwise all male band sought to be a part of that 30% and confidently push her own creative interests and potential out into the world. Performing for five years under their iconic name Hooverphonic, Noemie had already made a name for herself with a dedicated crowd of fans eager to support her transition to solo performer.
Having had the privilege of speaking to Noemie on these matters and more, we felt the weight of such a decision. With this new found freedom came a chance for the young artist to explore her own reality and step away from the constructed public persona that can sometimes stick to former members of a band. Recognised as one of Belgium’s most praised young voices, she’s released tracks that depict this concept; the divide between public and private, freedom and entrapment. We got the chance to dive into this with the creative powerhouse that is Noemie Wolfs, talking evolution, feminism, her Belgian roots and thoughts on environmentalism today.
Since embarking on your much anticipated solo career, how do you feel you’ve evolved, musically and personally?
Overall it comes from the best decision I could ever have made, leaving Hooverphonic to start a solo career. It wasn’t an easy path, that much is true. But it feels good knowing I left my comfort zone completely, being in full control of everything from music, videos, and artwork. This project is 100 % me and that is the best feeling that there is. With every song, every album I made so far, my self-confidence kept growing and growing and it’s nice to see that my songwriting skills continue to evolve as well. I know I still have a lot to learn but I’m eager to learn it and I have the possibility to work with the best people in this business.
Have you felt supported by other women in the industry, or inspired by those who have done the same? If so, who are some artists that have inspired you the most? Do you have any advice for young women looking to get into the music industry?
I think women can support each other even more than we already do. Women all over the world are stepping up for equal rights and equal pay. I couldn’t be happier with this evolution but there is still a lot of work to be done. I’m inspired by a lot of artists, male and female. From David Bowie to Grace Jones, Roisin Murphy, and even Tame Impala. There is so much good stuff out there, it’s crazy! If I can share one piece of advice that always works for me, it is just believing in yourself, even if no one else does. If you want to make it in this business you have to work hard, keep your feet on the ground and never stop dreaming or believing!
You’re Belgian, do you feel your music or personal style pays homage to your heritage in some way? Or would you like it to?
Not really. I try to keep my mind and perspective as open as possible and I don’t want my music and my personal style to be one thing or another. I find inspiration in all kinds of things from old Congolese music to English literature. Maybe one thing that is kinda Belgian is that my favorite fashion brands are Belgian: Y/Project from Belgian designer Glenn Martens, Dries Van Noten en Maison Margiela. Belgians do fashion better.
Are you where you want to be? What do you envision for your future as an artist?
I have so many dreams and so many goals still to achieve and I like that feeling. I like to set the bar really high for myself and for my team so that if we achieve something, it’s a win for everyone! I see my team as my family: we are all working towards the same goals together and we want to reach the best possible result. The sky’s the limit!
What role does sustainable living and conscious fashion and style have in your life?
I try to do the best I can but there are still many improvements to be made. It does play a role in my life but it doesn’t dictate me. My boyfriend is a vegetarian and although I used to be the biggest meat lover in town since we’ve been together, I’ve reduced my meat intake to once a month. He’s a great cook and he makes me forget about meat. I try to choose wisely while shopping for stage looks but sometimes it happens that I end up buying a piece at big-name stores which is not very sustainable at all. I think for me this combination works: vintage pieces from thrift stores combined with high-end brands and fast fashion stores.