Versatile singer, rapper and songwriter Noah Malik Lee aka TheHxliday refuses to stay in one lane combining his passion for rock, hip-hop, pop and R&B in all he does. Equally open to sharing all his emotions, both introspective and inspiring; his single “Doses,” is a blissed-out and emotionally vulnerable with a guitar-driven beat, sing-along-hook, and tender vocals sung for someone who once captured his heart. Unafraid to put his feelings on the line, he sat down with us and got personal about life, the importance of healing, his favorite artists and how he went from sharing upwards of 1,000 songs he made on SoundCloud from his bedroom in Baltimore, to getting signed with Motown Records in 2018 after his breakout hit “Enemy,” was released. TheHxliday has big plans and it seems he’s just getting started.
NEW NOISE: THEHXLIDAY
The artist talk his creativity during lockdown, finding his sound and how this new chapter means the most to him.
Tell us about your new single “Doses.” How did you come up with the song and what was the process, it seems like a emotional song with a lyric like “ Swear its the hurt that I love” what do you mean by that?
This song’s kind of like me breaking out of the vibe I’ve been in with music, which is more of a heartbroken vibe. “Doses” is the first song in which I’m turning this around. It’s me addressing past issues of being toxic and putting it in more of a positive manner. I feel like this song is a mirror, a direct reflection of myself.”
As a singer/rapper/songwriter, what do you enjoy doing most? And when did you decide music was going to be your career?
Definitely singing. I feel like I can be more expressive and creative when I’m singing, especially when it includes coming up with melodies. The writing that comes along with creating melodies is potentially my favorite aspect, because it’s the lyrics along with the melody itself that captures the attention of listeners. Rapping is cool, but I feel like you can only go so far with just that.
How do you describe your music?
I would say it’s a reflection of the youth.
Which artists most inspired you as a kid? And how about now?
I used to listen to a lot of Green Day, My Chemical Romance, and Linkin Park. Then it transitioned into Justin Bieber, Bruno Mars, Michael Jackson and The Weekend. And now, to be honest, I listen to a lot of Lil Uzi.
It kind of sounds like you sort of transitioned from rock to pop to rap as you grew up. Would that be a fair to say?
For sure, for sure. And now, I’m getting back into pop again, which I think is a really good thing. And a bit more experimental music as well.
Who would you most like to collaborate with?
Damn! I think Paramore would be so fire. And Imagine Dragons or 21 Pilots. I grew up listening to all of them.
Where do you discover new music? Anyone we may not yet know who we should?
I feel like the music industry is so saturated nowadays. I can never keep tabs on artists anymore, which is just crazy. I used to know every artist, even if I didn’t listen to their music. But now, it’s so hectic with there being so many artists out. With that being said, I feel like people should know Jasiah. His music, the new stuff he’s been showing me is crazy. I was like ‘bruh, you’re goated.’ There’s him, and then there’s 347aidan. I think Aidan is a really good artist and can definitely go super far, especially in the pop genre. I usually find new music through fans, SoundCloud, or Apple Music.
During covid you released your EP The Most Beautiful Disaster, one side on Beautiful, second side Disaster includes harder-hitting tracks like“Wit Dat (feat. Polo G)” share with us about this and how it came to be?
Polo, he actually hit me up back in 2019. He DM’d me and was like ‘your music’s hard, bro.’ I definitely didn’t expect that because he was a bigger artist coming up at the time. I think it was because I was in Chicago so much. Chicago is a big city, but the music scene is small and really connected. Everyone knows one another somehow. My music was really intertwined with the Chicago scene back then, and that was a big step in getting other Chicago artists to know who I am. The collaboration was kind of two years in the making. That night specifically, I sent him three different songs and actually didn’t expect him to choose that one. He really did his thing on it.
How did growing up in Balitmore influence you?
Baltimore, my family’s there. Every time I go back there, I’m really myself. Just being there growing up, I kind of kept to myself. I didn’t really talk to many people. I pretty much stayed to myself. Didn’t even really go to school at all, to be honest. All that made me who I am. I had way more time to sit with myself and think about my own life. Another thing, regarding Baltimore music, everyone is super hard- especially with the street music scene out there. But me personally, I wasn’t into anything like that. So, I really understood I couldn’t get on these songs and start capping. I feel like that made my music more melodic. Chicago is kind of a more art-filled version of Baltimore, in a way. That’s why I felt that type of home feeling in Chicago.
When did you make that transition to Chicago?
I’ve been back and forth for three years now. I made the official move last December. It’s crazy, ever since I officially moved there, I’ve been there less than ever. I’ve literally only been to my crib a handful of times. I’ve been in LA or Baltimore for the most part.
Who encouraged you to make music?
Definitely my four main friends who I really talked to at the time encouraged and pushed me with music. At first, it was actually my chorus teacher who encouraged me to make music. I did a solo in the class, and she told me I had a good voice and should make music. Plus, my mom. The one thing in the world your mom wants is for you to go to school. The fact that she got to the point where she allowed me to do online school was really helpful for my music. I still thank her everyday. She’s my best friend, for real. That’s my day one, literally.
You had over 1,000 songs on started SoundCloud in your early teens, including your 2018 breakout hit “Enemy.” How did you learn to make music and why did you choose Soundcloud?
I don’t know how I came across SoundCloud. At the time, I was looking up on the internet how to upload audio. I wanted to drop music but I didn’t know how. SoundCloud was literally the easiest thing ever. I was like ‘bro, this is crazy. This is super crazy.’ It wasn’t until ‘Enemy’ where I really started dropping my vibe and making people feel my music.
You obviously have no issue being honest and vulnerable at such a young age that is not common, what opened you up to be this way?
I feel like I’m more honest and vulnerable now than ever. A lot of it had to do with growing up in the industry itself. It’s been helpful to learn and understand why people fuck with me and how people relate to my music. After I started to understand that, it was a lot easier to just be myself on each song. For a while now, I feel like I’ve been dealing with a large build-up of bad energy. That’s why I cut my dreads in September. I had a bit of a breakdown moment and that helped me learn a ton about myself. I came out of it understanding that I need to be myself and focus on what makes me happy. It got a little bit hard to be in touch with myself at the beginning of the year. But now, I feel like I’m really more me than ever. Over the summer I took time to myself to go back home and just chill with my family. Doing what I did before really made me feel at home.
What do you do to stay balanced when you’re not making music?
I’m either on the phone with my mom or on the phone with my friends. Or playing videogames.
As a Motown Records artist, tell us about the process of being signed? How has it helped you?
Motown had been watching me and following my career for a while. They were the only label I felt as though I could be creative with and have control over my art. There’s definitely more freedom over here. That’s why I’m like, ‘I’m young Motown.’ A lot of other labels seemed like they were just trying to take art and do whatever they wanted with it. Motown really listened to my creative aspirations and asked me what I wanted to do and where I wanted to go with my music.
What do you feel about fashion and music together? Which designers do you love or are you more vintage? Describe your style?
Fashion and music go together like peanut butter and jelly. Your fashion is part of your aesthetic, and people love your aesthetic. Music is one thing, but your personality and aesthetic can get you really far in the industry as well. I definitely wanna’ have a big part in fashion. Especially when it comes to runways. Virgil Abloh is one my favorite designers. I really like anything that’s different. Even when it comes to brands that aren’t big. I just love fashion that strikes me as different. And, right now, I’d describe my aesthetic as heavily influenced by light colors. Before, it was definitely more of a dark color palette. Kind of grunge-looking.
What is the best advice you have been given? And what about the best you can give?
‘Know what you’re getting yourself into.’ This was told to me by the legend himself, Russell Simmons. He told me to always stay focused on what I’ve really wanted from the start. Even when nobody else is being productive, you have to continue doing what you’re supposed to.
Did you have to overcome anything to become an artist?
I definitely had to grapple with not holding my feelings in. I’m more open with my time right now than ever, and that’s a great thing I think. We’re able to get way more done, and they’re more confident in me than ever. I used to not talk at all. I would always be scared to talk to my favorite artists when I’d meet them. Nowadays, those artists will bring this up to me. For example, Ski Mask was like ‘bro, when I met you, you didn’t say a word.’
Any books or shows or movies you fell for during the pandemic? Any new habits or hobbies?
More recording. I’ve recorded more in the pandemic than the rest of my life. Also started watching a lot of shows. I don’t want to say Squid Games cuz’ it just came out. I started watching Walking Dead, which is super fire. A ton of classic movies as well. I watched all The Matrix movies. Everything I felt I was missing out on, I caught up on during the pandemic. I feel like a bright spot of the pandemic for me has been my ability to reconnect with myself.
How do you hope fans will see you?
I just want them to see me for me. I’m gonna start going on Instagram Live more often so I can talk to them more. I even have a little private page specifically for fans who want to interact frequently.
Plans for 2022?
Get a couple number one records and do a tour for Loverville. I want that to drop either at the end of this year or top of next year. I think it’ll most likely be at the beginning of next year. I wanna start off the year by dropping that, then go on tour and meet a lot of fans. 2020 and 2021 were two years of great learning and I feel like 2022 is going to be a kick-off to something new. I’ve felt like these past few months have been the best of my life, to be honest. Everything I’m doing right now, I’m more myself.
Anything you want your fans to know?
Definitely. I want them to know that manifesting is a real thing. If you put that energy into the universe, good energy specifically, it will come back to you no matter what. Also, anything you say you’re going to accomplish, you will. You just have to put your all into it. You can’t be half-assing it. I didn’t think that energy was that big of a deal. It’s a real thing and I want them to know if they put good energy out there, it’ll come back.