Ocala singer, songwriter Noah Hunton puts his life into his lyrics.
You could say that Noah Hunton lives and breathes music. But that might be an understatement.
The gifted singer, songwriter from Ocala is making some noise in Nashville. On May 4th he was nominated for Male Vocalist of the Year for Modern Country in The Josie Music Awards, which will be awarded at the Grand Ole Opry in October.
Hunton says that even as a kid, he was all about the music.
“I don’t know where I get my musical background from. I’m adopted. But ever since elementary school, I was always doing music,” he recalls. “I did maybe one year of basketball in middle school, but other than that, it’s always been music 24/7.”
The son of Mark and Joanna Hunton says that after he graduated from Forest High School in 2017, “I had to make money, I had to work, but if the job didn’t go with my music schedule, I was like, ‘Hey guys, I’m done, I’ve got to find another job.’”
He says he had eight or nine jobs since he graduated, “Just because I’ve always been so passionate about my music. A year and half ago, I quit my full-time job. I was working at Sound Exchange for two years and they were really flexible because it’s a music store, but I said, ‘I’m about to be 25, so I’ve got to take my shot and see where it goes. As soon as I did that, everything started blowing up and taking off. I just got back from Nashville and I’m working on a whole bunch of stuff. It’s just crazy.”
That road to Nashville got a good start on the downtown square in Ocala.
“My first gig in Ocala was at the Corkscrew Winery,” he shares. “And then I played on the downtown gazebo several times for the city of Ocala, and really every restaurant in Ocala, from Charlie Horse to Eaton’s Beach.
These days, his regional shows include venues such as Homestead Park in Williston, the Wildwood Winery and the World Equestrian Center, and large concerts such as The Beach Truck Invasion in New Smyrna Beach.
Hunton’s roots come out in his lyrics, such as in Hometown, in which he sings about performing on Broadway Street, and in Meant To Be, an homage to his fiancée, Ashley Hussar. Then there are the pure country riffs about partying with friends on Friday nights, in Huntn For A Good Time, and riding on a Silver Eagle tour bus “with new wheels on it” in Guitar With A Million Miles On It, written for him by Jason Sever with Blackbird Studio in Nashville. Hunton also has penned Rodeo, God’s Country, Shotgun Ridin’ and Legacy, which shares his hopes of leaving one.
Making it in the music industry does not come easy, nor without a significant financial investment.
“My first trip to Nashville was using all the money I was saving for months upon months upon months, by performing to get up there to just record one song,” he says with emphasis on the one. “And then after I went up there and got the feel for it, I had some hometown sponsors. Ocala Heating & Air always helps me out. Connor Tractor here in Ocala; they sponsor me. A lot of independent families help me out, other businesses. There are so many … they’ll say, ‘Oh, you’re going to Nashville, here’s a hundred bucks,’ and there’s other people that say, ‘Hey, here’s $5,000. God works in mysterious ways.”
Musicians Hunton has worked with locally include Kendall Tucker and Austin Hunter. In Nashville, he says he first worked with musician/producers Mitch Fern and Kip Allen and, most recently Michael Lattanzi, at Latitude Studio South.
“He’s done Jason Aldean, Carrie Underwood, Michael Jackson, DMX, anyone and everyone in the business,” Hunton says of Lattanzi. “He has like a $5 million studio, and I just got back from his place the other day.”
“I learned about Noah from his manager sending me a sample of his music just blind on Facebook. I fell in love with his voice,” Lattanzi says. “He came to Nashville to my studio. I had him play a song for me live, just him and one of my acoustic guitars, and I thought he was very special. I told him, ‘You have a gift, and you are special and different than many of the others that I’ve worked with.’ So, we started to record. Noah has a great future in the business because of his work ethic. He is one of the hardest working people I have worked with. He is self-contained and makes all his own money just to be able to drive to Nashville from Ocala to record with me here in the studio. With that kind of work ethic and his talent, he will go very far.”
There have been bumps along the road, but Hunton says it always seems to work out. Such as in the beginning of April, when he arrived at his Airbnb in Nashville to discover they didn’t have his reservation. He says his producer had a buddy with an Airbnb who gave him a discount. He even reconnected with his former math and English teacher at Forest High, who had relocated to Nashville.
“In my senior year, they moved to Tennessee, and they’ve been following me ever since,” he shares. “They have 200 acres in Tennessee so, when I had breakfast with them, they said if you ever need a spot to stay, for free … everything happens for a reason.”
He credits one reason for his success to staying sober and thinking of it as a business.
“I’m all business oriented when it comes to music,” he explains. “I don’t drink. I’m always business. So, I’m not like, let me sing, get paid, leave and go home. Instead of sitting down hanging out with my buddies on my break, I pass out flyers. Last year, I opened for Tim McGraw in West Palm Beach because of a situation just like that.”
Hunton says his early influences were singers such as Randy Travis, Josh Turner and George Strait, but now he finds inspiration in Luke Combs and Morgan Wallen. While he does some covers, he says he’s currently focused on his originals. “Most of the time now it’s all original music, because I have so much material of my own.”
Now, he hopes to inspire others. He says it doesn’t matter if it’s a younger or older generation, he wants his music to appeal to all ages. A couple of his videos feature his nearly 2-year-old “kid security guard,” who, he says, “Is always wanting to hop on stage with me. A lot of people I’ve met, their kids look up to me.”
He says his ambitions for the future are not necessarily about fame and fortune.
“I have never chased after the lifestyle,” he offers. “I’ve just let everything kind of come.”
He refers to his song Legacy as a testament to his determination.
“That song is saying, this is what I’ve gone through, and other people have gone through, like other people dissing on them and saying they’re not good enough,” he says. “This was my way of saying I went through this but I’m not letting it stop me.”
So where does he see himself in 10 years?
“I see so much. I see me playing at the Opry, a world tour, probably six, seven albums … definitely on the standard of where Morgan Wallen is right now,” he asserts with a genuine enthusiasm. “I already see, from who I’m working with now, I see me there in two years, if that.”
Hunton’s newest single is All Nighters and he plans to “drop” more new songs over the summer. In the meantime, his schedule is jam packed. Somewhere along the way, he says he and Hussar might elope as their schedules are too busy for a big wedding, but they will throw a big party for family and friends. And he wants to be a dad one day.
“I definitely want kids,” he says. “When these little kids look up to me, they are like my kids.
“I’m a firm believer in God and I feel like everything that’s happened to me, just all the work and dedication and my family and everyone helping me, being a part of my journey, and my fiancé being one of my biggest supporters,” he says softly, “it’s all for a reason. I want to live every second to my fullest potential and just strive to be better and better and better—no matter what.” OS
To learn more, go to noahhuntonmusic.org