Catch Keri Noble in Detroit Lakes on Thursday
When singer-songwriter and pianist Keri Noble first moved to Minnesota from Detroit, Mich., eight years ago, to begin pursuing a music career full-time, one of her earliest gigs was performing at a youth camp near Detroit Lakes.
"I'm looking forward to coming back," said Noble, who performs at the Historic Holmes Theatre this Thursday, April 17 at 8 p.m.
A Detroit native, Noble now makes her home in Minneapolis, after falling in love with the music community in the Twin Cities area.
"I had been playing at bars and coffee houses in Detroit, but I was pretty lost, not knowing what direction I wanted to go with my music," she said in a recent telephone interview.
"I didn't know how seriously I wanted to pursue it (a career in music), and I wanted to be around some other musicians -- I felt it might make me take my art more seriously."
It turned out to be the right decision, Noble added.
"I knew I wanted to take my music as far as I could go -- I got more focused," she said.
Though she made her recording debut as an artist on the EMI/Manhattan label with the 2004 release of "Fearless," it wasn't until the February 2009 release of her self-titled album by Telarc that Noble felt she really took control of her career.
Though she noted that "a lot of great things" came from her experience with EMI/Manhattan -- like opening shows for major artists including Cyndi Lauper and B.B. King -- it also left her feeling a little burnt out by the music business.
"Being out on the road, playing every show you can, you want to know your label is taking the things you're doing and trying to help grow (your career)," she said. "But the attention span for any artist on a major label is fairly short, and I just didn't feel like I had their attention ... I didn't know if I even wanted to do music anymore, so I asked to be released from my contract."
Though Noble took what she called "a three-year break" from recording and performing, she never stopped writing music.
"It wasn't possible for me to let go of music altogether," she explained.
Eventually, she put together "about 30 songs" and recorded them, thinking that she was going to release them on her own, independent label.
"Somebody from Telarc knew of me and started talking to my management ... they said, "We'd really like to sign Keri,'" she continued. "But I said, 'I'm not interested.'
"I thought I'd start my own label, keep it really small -- just as a way for me to still be able to be a musician. But they kept after me, and I finally talked to the head of the company, Bob Woods ... he convinced me to fly out and meet with them."
By the time she flew home to Minneapolis, Noble said, she knew that "this was the kind of label I wanted to be with."
"That was a year and a half ago," she said. "My CD was finished when they signed me, but they wanted to have some time to build the momentum (for the CD release). I hadn't been touring at all."
Finally, on Feb. 3, Noble's sophomore CD was released.
"I'm super happy with it," she said. "The songs were written in a place where I really didn't have any pressure, so I just became free to write without thinking about whether it was commercial or marketable or any of that.
"I'm really glad these songs are getting to have a life outside of me just playing them in my living room."
Noble will be playing songs from her new album, as well as older selections from "Fearless," at her Thursday performance in Detroit Lakes, which will be the finale of the Holmes Theatre's 2008-09 "The Edge" concert series.
Tickets to the show are $20 for adults, $10 for students. Call the Historic Holmes Theatre Box Office at 218-844-SHOW or order online at www.dlccc.org.
There will be a pre-party in the Holmes Ballroom starting at 6:30 p.m., featuring a cash bar and appetizers. There will also be an after-party following the show at Bleachers in Detroit Lakes.