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The Story Behind The “Stick Season” Grammy Nominated Singer, Noah Kahan

Noah Kahan’s “Stick Season” album cover

Small-town kid from Strafford, Vermont has achieved incredible success from his folk music style and charming personality. Noah Kahan (pronounced Con) wrote his hit album, Stick Season in the woods of Vermont where he grew up. This atmosphere garnered attention from music listeners who also grew up in small towns around the U.S. With the success of Stick Season, Kahan toured around the United States and Europe with a majority of his shows sold out. At many of his concerts, all attendants can be heard singing every lyric to his song, showcasing his popularity and his love for his music (The New Yorker). 

While Stick Season was not Kahan’s first album, it is his most popular and introduced him to the masses. Kahan’s first album is named Busyhead and was released in 2018, with a total of ten songs. Kahan explains that he wrote the songs on Busyhead about his, “individual moments along this journey into the music industry. Where I was at, the experiences I was having, and from that came these little vignettes into my life, and I’m really proud of the honesty of this record and the raw realness of this record. And what I hope is that people listening to it can hear my honesty and find a way to be honest with themselves,” (Youtube.com/NoahKahan). 

Kahan’s Stick Season album skyrocketed his fame and the single “Stick Season” currently has over 555 million streams on Spotify alone with his second most streamed song “Dial Drunk (with Post Malone)” with 170 million streams (Spotify). Since Kahan’s success with “Stick Season”, he has collaborated with large artists such as Hozier, Kacey Musgraves, and Post Malone to re-record many of his songs. Kahan has released an additional sixteen songs since the original Stick Season album. His most recent song “Forever” has amassed over 17 million streams since its release on February 9th, 2024 (Spotify). 

Mrs. Casey, an English teacher at Ramapo High School, comments on Kahan’s lyricism as they “[…] offer listeners a balanced mixture of pain, optimism, and healing that everyone can relate to, or at least benefit from in one way or another. I also appreciate how his style appeals to lovers of pop, indie, and folk music.” Like many others, Mrs. Casey enjoys Kahan’s relatable lyrics and always looks forward to new collaborations he announces. 

Many believe that Kahan’s rise to fame is due to his audience, people who live in small towns in New England. His songs mention the hardships of leaving your hometown, losing childhood dogs, and divorced parents. Kahan has been featured on Genius’s YouTube channel where he explains the meaning behind the lyrics in “Stick Season.” Kahan explains that he posted a clip of the song on TikTok, not expecting any views or comments, and was amazed when the video became viral. He was concerned that his memories of growing up in rural Vermont might “alienate people” and he believed his experiences were “incredibly specific […] I’m not sure anyone’s gonna get this but it was cool to see it help connect people,” (Youtube.com/Genius). 

Senior at Ramapo High School Elizabeth Ring, also relates to his lyrics and comments that she thinks that they “heavily contributed to his popularity. There’s a lot of good music coming out right now, but I feel like a lot of lyrics aren’t as thought-provoking or touch audiences the same way that Noah Kahan does. Using metaphors and imagery and dialogue is really effective and not as “surface level” as a lot of music right now.” Ring’s favorite song changes with each new song he releases, but she currently loves Paul Revere as it “captures how so many young people feel about their hometowns and mixes in the complications when it comes to wanting to leave everything behind but missing the place you grew up.”  

Noah Kahan has been nominated for Best New Artist at the Grammys, iHeartRadio Music Social Star, and Award for Best Lyrics, as well as a People’s Choice Award for Favorite New Artist. Unfortunately, Kahan did not win a Grammy or the People’s Choice Award. Many of his fans believe that his music deserved to win due to their emotional relation to the lyrics (People). Kahan has consistently released new music since his success, so keep an eye out for new music!

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Lindsey Morrison, Editor-In-Chief (23-24), Online Editor (22-23)

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