By Yulia Fedorov
Hip hop artist Amrit Singh, aka, Noyz, is known for advocating for change through his rap lyrics. His hits, such as Degrees of Freedom, The Zoo, and I Got a Love, all focus on a variety of hard-hitting subjects like racism, mental health, and police brutality. But what many don’t know about Noyzis that not only is he a social justice advocate through his music, but he’s also making change happen off-stage.
Growing up, Singh was always interested in rap, and writing lyrics. But the diversity and culture of Toronto and the GTA shaped him into becoming Noyz. Although he has always been an artist, what led him to becoming the successful and outspoken performer he is today is the support he received from Toronto’s South Asian creative community.
“We were all pushing forward toward the same goal, to get a spin on a positive message in our art. So that’s really where it started to develop for me.” - Noyz
© Noyzhiphop | YouTube
Striving toward sending out a positive message through his art is what led Singh to start conducting his own mental health and hip-hop workshops in 2016, where he teaches people how to use hip hop as a vehicle for self-expression. The idea to start his own workshops came to him when he attended those offered by SOCH, a non-profit mental health organization. Noyzsays: “I attended a couple of their workshops and they were full every time. It just showed me that there was definitely a need for spaces like that for people to come together and not feel left alone, and feel understood and feel heard.”
“I started to see the parallels between the music I had been listening to versus this new forum of creating community spaces where people can talk about their mental health and I tried to blend the two together, so I developed a workshop based around that,” he says.
His workshops are intended for everyone, not just for seasoned rappers. “The majority of people that do come,” Noyz says, “have never tried to write a beat before, they’ve never performed on stage in front of anybody before, but over the course of the workshop you could see their development. You start to see them build up that courage to talk about something that might be challenging, something that they might not have shared with a lot of people, in a public way.”
Part of the reason why Singh believes rap has therapeutic aspects to it is that it helps people process their emotions better than they would through other means. “You could write about something that’s very spiritual to you, and when you do it you’re taking these thoughts out of your head, and putting them physically onto the page so that it doesn’t just exist in your head anymore. You’re taking power away from a thought.”
Not only is Singh sending positive messages through his verses and his work on mental health, but he is also making change happen through his new podcast with B Magic, “Immigrant Hustle.” The podcast focuses on the journeys that first and second-generation Canadian artists and creatives go through—from migrating to a new country, to adapting to cultural differences, to pursuing creative passions despite the odds.
“I want to show younger artists that you could make this happen, there is a way to make this happen.” That’s the message Noyz wants young people listening to Immigrant Hustleto know—that in spite of the challenges that they may face, there is a way to break through in pursuing their passions.
In addition to all the ways that Noyz is working toward giving back to the community, from his mental health workshops to his new podcast, he continues to create awe-inspiring music.
“I feel like it’s the most personal project. More than in any other album so far, I talk about my own personal life, challenging experiences that were going on in my own life, whether that was around mental health, the death of family members, addictions, or other things that were going on with friends or with family. […] The music that came out of it was my way to process and my way to make something more out of that struggle that went into the lyrics.”
To learn more about the cool projects Noyz is working on, click here.