No/Me

On her debut single “Consistent,” No/Me readily lists off all of her flaws: she’s a skeptic and a cynic, neurotic and narcissistic, a freak who’s “got the best intentions” but she tends to “fuck them up.” With each confession delivered in her hypnotic vocals, the moody and mesmerizing track came to life after the L.A. native’s recent attempt at online dating.

“I’d downloaded JSwipe to try to be a nice Jewish girl for my mother, and I was looking at all these bios where guys were putting out a persona that was obviously nothing like who they really are,” says No/Me. “I thought, ‘What if I wrote a bio that’s actually true to what I’m like?’ So that’s where ‘Consistent’ came from: me talking shit about myself, and then turning it around and saying, ‘At least I’m consistent.’”

“Consistent” bears a hazy yet hard-hitting sound that echoes No/Me’s eclectic influences: early-’90s alt-rock, the quirky anti-folk of Regina Spektor, and Israeli music. “My first language is Hebrew, and my mom used to blast Israeli music in the car all the time,” says No/Me. “The lyrics were really crazy, with these women singing about wanting to kill their mother-in-laws or throw their boyfriends off a roof—they had no shame, they were just completely straightforward about whatever they were feeling. All those songs are embedded into my soul now, and I think the raw emotion of them has definitely seeped into my music.”

Set to appear on No/Me’s upcoming debut EP, “Consistent” unfolds in dark guitar tones and kaleidoscopic rhythms partly sculpted through her use of Middle Eastern percussion (such as the darbuka, a hand drum performed by her older brother). And in her lyrics, No/Me reveals a raw but poetic sensibility closely shaped by her upbringing. “When I was little, my dad would sing me Joni Mitchell instead of ‘Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star,’” she says. “‘Twisted’ was one of the first songs I ever knew by heart, although at the time I had no idea what the words meant.” Later, in high school, No/Me took a class with an English teacher who introduced her to The Shins, whose intricate lyricism she spent hours deconstructing. “That class had a big impact on me,” No/Me says. “My teacher let me write essays comparing The Great Gatsby to ‘The Bends’ by Radiohead, and I’d go off on that for ten pages.”

Despite her lifelong passion for music, it wasn’t until graduating from UCLA that No/Me considered a career as an artist. For her guitar course’s final exam, she penned her first-ever song, drawing inspiration from a high school classmate’s experience with a cheating boyfriend. “I sang it for the class and these girls started crying,” says No/Me. “I thought to myself, ‘Whoa, if this is the response to the first thing I ever wrote, imagine what I could do in a few years.’” No/Me soon formed a rock band, and began balancing a double major in musicology and music industry with a hectic gigging schedule that sometimes involved playing four shows a week.

After signing a deal with Republic Records, No/Me has devoted the last year to writing and recording songs like her forthcoming single “Down”—a piano-laced, stark yet soulful track that threads a delicate melody through her most piercing lyrics (e.g., “Keep posting fiction ‘cause I hate my real life”). “I wrote ‘Down’ at a time when I was dealing with a lot of anxiety and didn’t want to think about my future,” says No/Me. “The song talks about how I tried doing drugs, seeing doctors, and nothing helped. After a while I realized I need to just take care of myself, and that working on my music is a huge part of that.”

As she gears up for the release of her debut EP, No/Me is dreaming up a live show that is inspired by the elaborate setups she’s witnessed at concerts in Israel. Her past live experience includes a benefit show she organized entirely on her own in response to the 2016 presidential election, reflecting a deep-rooted mission to use her music as a vehicle for positive change. And with her stage name signifying the transparent nature of her songwriting (i.e., “Get to know me”), No/Me aims to spark that change on the most personal level. ]

“My songs are like my diary pages, and I hope that seeing me embrace my flaws inspires other people to feel okay with not being perfect,” says No/Me. “Because even when things are hard and everything feels awful, you can still have strength and power. I just want to show people that being in pain isn’t what defines you. What defines you is what you do with that pain.”