Noah Schnacky might be only 23 years old, but he never stops pushing himself into unfamiliar territory. He was already known as a teen actor – with acting roles on shows like In Sanity, Florida and How I Met Your Mother on his CV – but quickly realised that connecting with people through music was his favourite thing. So he quit acting and grew his fan base – those he used to call his “Anchors” but now dubs the “Schnacks” – through Instagram and TikTok. It's worked out pretty well - he learnt the guitar, piano and ukulele, has signed to Big Machine Records and made a splash at C2C Festival in London a couple years ago.
He speaks to me from his parents’ home near Orlando, Florida, where he’s sitting out the pandemic with his family - surrounded by his sisters and brother (even his mom pops her head around the door halfway through our chat). While isolation continues, Schnacky is keeping busy - he goes socially-distanced jet-skiing when he gets stir-crazy, ventures online to communicate with his fans worldwide at night, and has transformed his siblings into fellow influencers. He even moves his laptop around, just so I can see how he’s made his room into a home studio crammed with equipment and instruments – “I’m such a geek”.
Schnacky now has an upbeat new single out, ‘Every Girl I Ever Loved’, and (fingers crossed) a debut album on the horizon. The man is non-stop.
What inspired you to write ‘Every Girl I Ever Loved’?
How honest do you want me to be? Thinking about my past, being sad about the relationships that broke me, and feeling that was a waste of time – well, that gave my exes way too much power. I choose to believe that I’m a stronger person and had a more vivid experience and better life because of those journeys. I put that song out for me, but I’m glad other people found positivity in it too, because a lot of relationships are challenged.
How has being a new rising act impacted you during the pandemic?
It’s been a real challenge. I can’t see my fans right now, which is a bummer. I was in the UK [for C2C 2020] when quarantine started and didn’t get to play the O2 Arena, but hopefully we’ll have a chance to redeem that. Then again, I’ve grown so much as a person, and I haven’t seen my family this much in years – and I have a cool family.
I spend a lot of time – almost every single night – on live-streams with my fans, it’s cool that they love the music, but they also connect with me as a person. I go live on different platforms and play music for them and get to know the people across the stream. We call our live stream show ‘The Mic Drop’, which we started on TikTok 313 nights ago – yes, we’ve gone live for 313 nights! I started it because I want to be a family. I know there’s a lot of people out there who need a friend or a family, so we’ve gotten to be that for a lot of people. If I have to sacrifice two hours of my night to be a family to someone who may not have one, well that’s definitely worth it. Yes, I’d love to have the biggest fan base in the world, but my main goal is to have the biggest family; family sticks with you through the thick and the thin.
It sounds like you probably enjoy playing live and meeting your fans in real life too?
C2C 2019 was probably the coolest festival I’ve played. We walked out at the Indigo and the place was packed. People were singing the words to songs that we’ve never played overseas and it was incredible. Britain seemed to take in the moment. Everyone seemed to have their phone down or propped up to record so they could enjoy watching. I wish we could have that culture in America.
First day in London we got the vibe of the culture, figured out the subway system and took it over to Piccadilly to see the show Aladdin. Next day, we did one of my favourite things. We always go out of our way to surprise fans, and my mom contacts them. She’s like a ninja on social media, and found a super fan’s mom who lives in Reading. So we figured out the subway system again, took the main train to Reading, then took a bus 18 stops and ended up at the front door of a girl’s house – and we were praying that she’d be in! We got to surprise her (he shows me the video on his phone of the moment they meet), and her brother had a guitar upstairs, so we played her some songs and met her family. It’s really cool.
To me, music is more than just something I love. I think music is the most powerful thing we’ve been given to change someone’s mind – and remind them that they’re loved and have value. So if I go out of my way to surprise someone in Reading, maybe someone in Indonesia will see that, and think if you can surprise a girl in Reading you could surprise a girl like me too. It will make them feel better.
Is acting over for you, or just on the back-burner?
I always knew that I wanted to be an entertainer when I was really young, but didn’t know what facet of that I wanted [to approach]. I tried everything from hosting things, to acting, to singing, to theatre. When I discovered I loved theatre, I thought it was because of the acting. So I did that for a while – things like How I Met Your Mother – and gave it my whole heart. But I learned that the funnest part of entertaining is getting to be there with the crowd; and that was something I was missing in acting. On top of that, I never got to see anybody; I’d be on set all day, go eat, then go back to set, then go home. So I shifted gears to follow music hardcore when I was 17, 18. I’ve never looked back.
Do you visualise yourself doing things like collecting awards?
Well, I’ve got some checkmarks – like bucket-listers that I’ve always wanted – and I’ll try to check them off along the way. It was a dream to play C2C. Next goal… well, my dad always wanted to be a country singer, and he’s been a huge part of my journey. He’s always wanted to play the Opry, and I’ve always wanted to play the Opry, so I’m looking to forward to sharing that experience and having him with my acoustic guitar at the side. Oh, and I’ve always wanted to be in the Macy’s Day Parade. I hope that it’s restored to its former glory soon. I love New York City.
What’s next for you?
If I had my way we’d be putting out a single every single month. I want to be an artist and want to give my fans what they’ve been waiting for. I’ve put out five songs in three years, and they did 100 million streams. It feels like it stalled a bit, but I’m ready to get to be the artist I’ve always wanted to be. I’ve played dozens and dozens and dozens of songs I haven’t released yet, and my fans are absolutely eating them up. You’ve got to feed the fans! So I would love to have a full album by the end of the year, or even have two finished, one by summer, one by December.
How will you know you’ve made it?
My main goal is to leave a legacy. So if I die tomorrow, I know I impacted this world in the way I wanted – to remind people that they are loved. That’s why I make my music the way I do, because a big part of that is social media – and my generation is more connected yet more disconnected than ever before. I wanted to be on the same platforms that were separating people to remind them that they’re loved. That’s why we record ourselves going to surprise fans. It’s for that fan, but it’s bigger than that; it’s for every fan on my social media.
Noah Schnacky's new single 'Every Girl I Ever Loved' is out now via Big Machine. You can listen below. Be sure to follow our Best New Music playlist for all the latest hits from Noah and so many more!