SIOUX CENTER—A Dordt University sophomore is living a dream.
Nineteen-year-old Noah Deist singer-songwriter recently released a professionally made music video for one of his songs he wrote and recorded.
“It was a lot of fun,” said Deist. “Being in front of a camera is a totally different ball game than being up on stage but the friend that made it was super chill and made the whole process easy and overall a great experience.”
The video for “Just Go” features places around the South Dakota towns of Sioux Falls and Harrisburg where Deist attended middle school and high school.
“I love traveling, that’s where the idea for the song came from,” he said. “It’s about the desire to travel, see new things, experience new things.”
Writing is different for every song.
Some take a really long time, some just come out in one night — ‘Just Go’ came pretty fast,” Deist said. “And sometimes I have melody stuck in my head and write lyrics to fit the melody. Other times I have a story I want to tell and I’ll write it down and figure out how I want to do a more condensed, better way in a song.”
Though placed in the pop genre, Deist’s sound is derived from a diverse combination of influences and backgrounds, resulting in a style of music that could appeal to audiences across the board.
“That’s the cool thing about music, the lines between genres are mixing,” he said. “And, though I’m a Christian, over the last couple of years I’ve become less of a fan of Christian music. I love worship music and I think those two things are different.
“As Christians we think we have a really good story which we do — Christ coming back and saving us — but I feel like we think that’s all we need is a good story,” he continued. “We spend less time and effort putting it into lyrics. People can write profound lyrics about drinking and sleeping around; why can’t we write profound lyrics about our savior?”
Deist chose to step away from Christian music altogether.
“As a Christian, I write songs from a perspective that’s different from most secular music but still can go into the world and pop genre,” Deist said. “Perhaps it’s a way I can be a light where there is not a light.”
Deist had the opportunity to record “Just Go” — his fourth single out on various streaming services — in a studio in Capitol Hill. He also recorded a new song about three weeks ago he’ll be releasing in November and recording two more songs in Dordt’s recording studio in November that he’ll plans to release in 2020.
Yet, he’s not a music major at Dordt.
In fact, Deist is a digital media productions major though he did not produce his first music video. Instead he connected with a filming friend, owner of Dewey Films, who was seeking to branch out from wedding videography.
“I want to keep taking steps that, if God opens the door to allow this singer-songwriter thing to be a career, then I can take it,” he said.
If music is or becomes a foundation where I could make more money from it, then I might go down that path. Making a music video seemed like a good way to help develop that foundation so if I wanted to take that path I could. And I’m proud of this song. Two good reasons to give a music video a try.”
Deist’s songs utilize his guitar and drumming skills, though drumming is where his music abilities started.
“My dad was a drummer as a hobby and he taught me,” Deist said.
He played in youth group and at church but started taking guitar lessons in junior high after his friends talked about starting a band.
“We already had someone to play the drums but didn’t have someone to play guitar. I thought I could give it a try, so I did,” he said.
Deist started writing his own music in high school. Then, in 10th grade, he got a job working for a Christian-run music store in Sioux Falls, which he said helped him make connections in the music world with other singer-songwriters and recording studios.
“I don’t know if there was ever a specific moment I thought I’m good at this. I still don’t think I’ve had that moment,” he said. “I just like music. I love telling stories so I tried to find a way to combine the two.”