Interview: Pink Nois on storytelling, world-building and his new single “Callin'”
R&B artist Pink Nois (Jorim Motley) has a soft spot for Albany. He spent recent years here attending St. Rose and becoming a staple act and collaborator in the local music scene. Today, he has migrated to the music Mecca of Atlanta, where he continues to write and work with the help of a solid team of filmmakers (EVOL Films) and fellow musicians. Motley has also opened a music studio with the Atlanta company NGB The Family Studios.
The artist has more music in store for us this year as well. His latest single, “Callin’” is out July 16 on all streaming platforms.
MF: So you’re based in Atlanta now–with a studio that is gaining traction. How is that?
PN: Yeah, I opened a studio in Atlanta [in the spring] and it’s been great there so far, we already have people coming in and using the space. It’s a recording studio, but we also have a printing press for clothes and a photography section with backdrops and lights and cameras. We really want to get it poppin’.
We’re hosting an Artist Boot Camp soon for artists who want to come and create songs and record at our studio. We’re going to be pushing their songs to different people in the industry, like A&Rs and different producers. We are now accepting applications for that and people can sign up at ngbthefamilystudios.com.
Mirth Films: In terms of your own work, what can people expect from your newest single, “Callin’”?
Pink Nois: The single is a really fun song. It’s catchy and infectious. I feel like it’s very outside of what I usually do. It’s very radio-friendly and happy. That’s the first time I ever did something like that.
MF: Was that your intention, writing something more radio-friendly this time around?
PN: I was writing the song with a couple friends of mine–the producer, his name is Grammy Davis Jr.–in the studio and we were just freestyling different lines. Eventually the song grew into that, so there wasn’t any real direction at first. As time went on and we heard how catchy the song was, we were like, “Okay, this could be cool on the radio, or this could be good on TikTok,” and then we would edit things [from there] to make sure that it was easier to pick up.
MF: It seems like you have a good grasp on the industry side of things, in that sense. You were at St. Rose in Albany to study music, was that part of something that you learned there or is this something that you’ve been picking up over time? I know you’ve been traveling a lot this year.
PN: I definitely learned a lot from school, but there are things that experience can only teach you. After moving to Atlanta, I mean, I literally left school to get that experience. So it’s a mixture of both, but actually having your feet in the water really does help.
I’ve learned a lot about writing with other people. I used to do a lot of stuff by myself but now I have a whole team of people helping me not necessarily write everything, but produce, as far as, helping me with a beat or something. I can call someone up if I need someone to hold a camera while I shoot a music video or a little skit. I’ve had people on call for me as well.
MF: It’s great that you’ve been able to find people wherever you’ve gone who offer these different abilities and perspectives. Is that something you’ve been trying to accomplish or did it all just fall into place?
PN: It really just fell into place. You know, I’m very shy. It’s not difficult but it’s a new thing that I’m still definitely learning. Everyone that I have met has been through someone that I already know and have made long lasting relationships with in the past. Those people have gotten me in contact with this or that person for whatever is necessary, and that’s really how I’m doing my networking now–through people that I trust who trust those other people, which is really, honestly, my preferred way of doing things.
MF: So, I want to touch on how “Callin’” differs from the rest of the music you’ve put out because you’ve released projects that are really concept albums that follow characters and stories, they’re like rock operas. There’s a lot of world building around these personalities–Pink Nois, Silver Sabre and Scott Free–with you as the narrator. It’s just a really interesting way to document your own growth or change. Is this something that is always on your mind, exploring these different versions of yourself?
PN: I actually am very focused on that, especially now, and “Callin’” does sort of fit into one of the worlds that I have created. On my website, I am putting up a lot of lore attached to the songs that almost tells like the story of where that [song] falls into place on the timeline of who Pink Nois is as a person, not just as an artist.
I’ve also been making various skits on Instagram and stuff that are telling the story that goes on outside of “Callin’”. The character that is performing “Callin’” is going to see a label person and is slowly taking his position as Pink Nois. It just helps put older projects together with newer ones and link everything into a cohesive story.
I don’t want to put myself in chronological order. I take a lot from Pulp Fiction or other Quentin Tarantino movies. It’s not an order at all but you have to pay attention to see what falls where. That’s what’s happening with “Callin’” and what’s going to be happening with later projects as well.
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MF: It’s really interesting that these characters aren’t just phases of yourself as an artist but, really vulnerably, are reflective of you. And you build them in such interesting detail. Was that always your intention?
PN: I think these characters I’ve created are definitely pieces of me. As good as they are, as standalone characters, they only represent different parts of who I am. I’ve been doing a lot of soul searching recently and a lot of thinking. It does take a toll on you, to have to kind of compartmentalize different parts of yourself for other people. I realize it’s like what my music has been. So, I just wanted to make something that was really like the person behind the pen or the piano or the camera or whatever.
MF: This world of characters reflect on you in a really sincere but also fun way. Your skits on Instagram are even tagged as “#roleplaying” which gives it an interesting spin.
PN: Yeah, I really love adventure games and just pretending in general. I feel like people are so caught up with their ordinary lives. They don’t really have a chance to escape or do something fun. I’m really just trying to do something that is therapeutic for me but also gives people an immersive experience that they can also find themselves in, like, “What do I like about myself? Or, I can identify with this event that happened to this character because I know that it’s a hyperbole of what really happened to the person who’s writing.”
MF: Making these skits and teasers on Instagram and TikTok, aside from continuing to build the world around the songs and characters and projects, seem like a good business move to help promote your music–especially when that’s such a huge way people are sharing and discovering music lately. Is that something you and your team made as a decision to help grow your fanbase?
PN: A lot of those moves, on pushing the story to where it needs to be, are my own ideas that I’ve had for a while. I really just need a team to help me because I couldn’t do it all by myself. Granted, I do get a lot of great ideas from them. And if I do like them, I really try my best to incorporate them in whatever it is that I’m planning on doing, even on social media at least. But for the most part, I kind of have planned out everything, and I am very nit-picky and very precise about how I want things to look and where I want things to be placed.
MF: What I always really admired about the way you operate is that you’re very determined to have people understand you and your ideas. Your music is very communicative.
PN: Yeah, whether it’s a cry for help or a vie for control or something, I’ll never know, but I think, for the most part, I just know that I want people to really see what I’m seeing because I know exactly what I want everything to be.
I’ve always loved film. I’ve always loved music. Because together, you can literally tell such precise, accurate retelling of your vision. I’ve always appreciated that, and I’ve always enjoyed being vulnerable and open. Yeah, it is difficult but I feel like music and visuals are the only way that I really know how to do that, completely. And even though I’m learning how to do that on my own, verbally, it’s definitely something that’s helped me out a lot. Now that I have the resources to make it happen on a larger scale I’m really just trying to take advantage of all of it.
MF: Is film something you see yourself getting into in a bigger way down the road?
PN: Oh yeah. I used to work with a producer back when I was in high school and a couple years into college. I would just help him write scripts for plays and potential TV shows pilots. I really enjoy acting and directing so it’s definitely something I’m looking to do, hopefully in the very near future. Maybe after this year is over and I put out all the projects that I’ve wanted to put out. I love screenwriting. I think my big plan is to create a movie–act, direct, shoot and make the soundtrack for it. That’s my main goal and, after that, I’ll be done forever.
Listen to “Callin'” on all streaming platforms and follow along at pinknois.com.
This interview has been edited for clarity and space.