From Greer to ‘Glee’: There is Only One Noah Guthrie

It only takes one viewing of Greer native Noah Guthrie’s YouTube hit, a cover of “I’m Sexy and I Know It,” to know his sultry, blues-filled voice is like no other. It’s no surprise that this 20-year-old’s soulful take on LMFAO’s pop hit garnered him more than 23 million views.

But he didn’t rest on the laurels of his successful covers, including Ariana Grande’s “Problem,”  “Radioactive” by Imagine Dragons, and Eric Clapton’s “Tears in Heaven.” Last year Noah released Among The Wildest Things, his debut album, co-writing the majority of the thirteen original songs. That same year, Noah secured  a place in Glee history when he was cast in the final season.

“Glee was such an amazing experience for me,” Noah says. “It was a completely random thing that came up in my life and I'm very glad it did.”

Being raised in a musical family built the foundation for Noah’s future. Both of his parents are singers and exposed both Noah and his brother, Ian, to music since birth. Noah’s father, David Guthrie, recognized that Noah had an ear for music from the age of two or three. “He has much better chops than I ever had!” he says. It’s Noah’s sincere, unexpected powerhouse of a voice that has fans, critics, and audiences in awe.

The Guthries’ home was always filled with a steady mix of blues, jazz, country and R&B. “The Muscle Shoals sound is very much a part of both [Noah] and [brother] Ian’s history and influence,” David says. That passionate, bluesy style is mirrored in the artists Noah admires as an adult.

“I'm very inspired by Marcus Mumford because of the emotion that he is able to put into every song,” Noah says. “Jim James from ‘My Morning Jacket,’ because in every song he makes twists and turns that I would never think of. It's very refreshing to listen to.”

While in San Francisco last year to play a small, private show, Noah’s life took a new direction. A few days after Noah’s show, one of his guests, local performer David Brock, bumped into a casting director for Glee. “She told David they were trying to find a chubby, white kid with a voice like Otis Redding,” David Guthrie said. Brock suggested the casting director take a look at Noah's work. After watching Noah’s videos on YouTube, the casting director contacted Noah. “They moved him to LA on two days notice after he auditioned,” David says.

Noah has fond memories of this unexpected turn of fortune. As the new kid at Glee’s fictional McKinley High School, Noah’s character Roderick deals with the peer pressure of not fitting in. “I definitely identified with the character, that’s for sure,” Noah says. “I don't think I would say that I was a misfit in school but I do know what it feels like to be the chubby, shy kid in high school.” Noah laughs when describing the audition experience: “When I was asked to audition for the role and they described the character to me, I told them that it was pretty much my high school experience."

Despite having performed music onstage for years, Hollywood was initially overwhelming for Noah, having little acting experience.  “My first day on set was a little nerve-wracking just because I had never done anything like that before,” Noah says. “Acting wasn't anything that was ever on my radar so when I got the job I had to observe and learn a lot from the people around me.”  The very first scene he filmed included the majority of the senior cast of Glee, but Noah was welcomed with open arms. “They were all so nice to me and made me feel very welcome, so the butterflies quickly passed and I kind of settled in.”

Noah has been touring the U.S. and will be performing through the end of 2015. He gets a twinge of homesickness on occasion, but he often has his father and brother on the road with him, giving him a piece of home wherever he travels. He says, “I miss the mountains most when I'm gone, definitely the mountains.”

He is eager to put out new music soon and speaks highly of his fans. “I want to give a big thank you to any of my fans reading this, you guys make my world go round and I appreciate your support every day,” he says.

Be sure to catch Noah on tour and keep up-to-date with him on Facebook.

Article by Deb Peluso. Photos courtesy of Noah Guthrie.