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How Naomi Wild Learned The Value Of Being Scared

Music
Photo by Dana Trippe

From writer’s block to “Higher Ground”

Naomi Wild has fate on her side. That, and a serious case of fearlessness, one that has her constantly asking herself what's the worst that could happen if she shoots for the stars. It's what's gotten her to where she is now, preparing for the many new music releases she has forthcoming. And it's all thanks to one lucky moment sneaking into Coachella.

"It was my first time seeing ODESZA," Wild says. "I didn’t know who they were at the time, but it wound up being one of those moments where you find yourself wondering how you didn't know about this artist before. It was this moment where I thought, Wow. I really want to be up there singing with them." This, despite the fact that, Wild says, she wasn't even "writing or doing any music at the time." 

Up until that point, Wild was experiencing a prolonged bout of writer's block. Everything she wrote she trashed. Wild eventually found herself questioning her impulse to write, though she knew she had to return to understanding what it was about music that resonated with her. "I lost the idea of what inspired me, so I allowed myself the time and space to rediscover," she says. So, Wild sat down and thought back to her most recent burst of infinite feeling, ODESZA's Coachella set, and told herself, You know what? I'm going to write a song for them. And she did.

"I texted my manager at the time and asked for her to find their contact information to send the song to them," Wild says. "She responded saying, 'They're so big, they probably won't respond.' But I insisted." Wild's manager sent it and then called Wild just two hours later to say that ODESZA loved the song, loved her, and that they were going to be in Los Angeles in two weeks and wanted to lay down the track for their then-forthcoming album, A Moment Apart. Understandably, Wild freaked out. "Not only had I gotten out of the writer’s block, but, like, I achieved a goal that I didn’t even necessarily think was possible: working with my favorite artist." 

"Higher Ground" has since become one of ODESZA's most popular singles and opened doors for Wild that she never knew existed. She's toured the globe and played some of the biggest stages, including Coachella's main stage this year. She's got the kind of foundation artists dream of and a sense of humility to boot. A chance encounter with Bibi Bourelly backstage led to some girl talk where, according to Wild, Bourelly said, "You have a purpose. You’re supposed to be here right now. There’s nowhere else in the world you’re supposed to be." Bourelly's words have kept her grounded ever since. "I just feel like there’s nothing else that I’m supposed to be doing," Wild says. "I’ve tried so many different forms of art, not really looking for anything, but music is the one I always return to." 

Now, Wild's breaking into her own spotlight. "I used to be afraid of starting anything because I have such high expectations for myself that I worried I was setting myself up to be disappointed," she says. "Once I stopped giving a fuck, I learned the value of being scared which is what keeps me going." The coming months will be an example of that. Wild tells us there are a few more songs coming, a video for her latest single "Howling," and some touring. Whether all this builds into an EP or an LP is up in the air. What matters the most to Wild is that this project be as representational of her as it can be. "I've co-produced nearly everything so far," she says. "I just want to connect with others on a human-to-human level through honest art. I can sing a love song and still make it sound badass."