Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

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October 4, 2022

N.O.A. discusses midnight release, relationship to music

Courtesy of Noa Belillti

Israeli-Moroccan singer, songwriter, and Texas-Ex Noa Belillti, otherwise known as N.O.A., will release her newest song, “Ba Li,” and an accompanying music video on Monday. With an energetic trap beat and bold lyricism, the song, created in collaboration with Amaan Baloch, a.k.a. CHR0N!AC, centers around the idea of Ba Li, meaning “I feel like it” in Hebrew. The Daily Texan spoke with Belillti about her upcoming release and her experiences as an artist.

The Daily Texan: What does “Ba Li” mean to your journey as an artist and a person?

Noa Belillti: It’s such a common phrase in Hebrew, especially for little kids (who) will be like, “I want to go to the mall or something or grocery store and get the chocolate.” What it means to me is that we don’t have to think past our immediate instincts all the time. There’s something really honest about what your gut is telling you and what you really feel, whether it’s a chocolate bar, a simple thing, or something like a feeling or a safety or a song.

DT: Your previous project, N.O.A. and the Goodest Ones encompasses lots of masculine energy, whereas you described your performance at the Austin Public Library last month as more feminine. How does your newest single fit into this relationship?

NB: This particular piece certainly highlights masculine energy because it’s very confrontational, aggressive, in your face loud. No, I’m not going to shut the fuck up. I’m not gonna sit the fuck down. At some point, you have to stand up for yourself. It feels a lot more masculine, being more mechanical, logical, calculated. That other project that we covered was a lot more feminine, a lot more live band violin space for freestyle.

DT: Why is it important for you to release a song in Hebrew now?

NB: I’m bilingual, but my Hebrew is by no means perfect. I’m missing words here and there, or I think about grammar in my brain too slow sometimes, but it’s such a part of me. I have words that I want to say sometimes that English doesn’t (convey), so I have more colors when I use Hebrew. It’s not that I’ve tried to keep it quiet. I’ve been developing it. 

DT: What are your favorite memories from your visits to family in Israel?

NB: Getting to walk around the cities and observing people was one of my most impactful experiences. There was so much community gathering that’s inherent in every little place I went — groups, families, communities, parties, people playing music on the street. Observing community was the most impactful thing, specifically with music communities. I’m inspired by so many things, but that’s the biggest one.

DT: What do you hope audiences take away from the single?

NB: It’s a hype track. I wanted to make something that was going to pump people up because I feel like motivation oftentimes makes or breaks whether we’re gonna stand up for ourselves. (When) we’re feeling small, and we’re not supported, it’s so much easier to be agreeable, be a people pleaser, and I’ve spent a lot of earlier parts of my life participating with energy like that. That’s why it’s so important for me to make a piece like this. 

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