“I am so excited. I don’t know why I get to play here,” said Bean in the Green Room of House of Blues. Her hair is being styled into Shirley Temple-like curls while she listens and hums along to some of her favorite songs. “My show isn’t until 8,” said Bean. “That’s why they’re curling my hair like this. It has to last.”
20-year-old Noelle Bean has undergone a lot of changes since YouPlus last saw hersixth months ago. For one thing, she’s dropped the ‘Noelle’, wishing only to be known as Bean. As with most artists who wish to be known by one name only, there needs to be a lot of personality and character behind that name to make it work. This is no problem for Bean, who has enough joy and personality to fill the entire green room. The change of name is representative of her switch from singer/songwriter to pop star.
“Six months ago it was more Noelle Bean, but for now I’m coming out into the world as an artist and I want to make the biggest impression I can, not just in the U.S. but worldwide,” Bean said.
We sat backstage as we watched her team transform her from a cute 20-year-old girl into Bean, a persona taken from a facet of Noelle’s personality and brought to life with hair and makeup. Her manager told us that he could always judge where she was in the process by whether or not she had her fake eyelashes or red lips yet.
This past Thursday marked her first real performance. She spent the last few months traveling the world and promoting herself as a brand; she even got to meet Prince Albert in Monaco.
The fact that this was her first real performance is hard to believe. The ease with which she answered our questions and her lack of panic made it seem as though she had been doing this all of her life, but that is very much not the case. After graduating from high school two years ago, Noelle decided to forgo college and began a job leasing apartments. She soon became restless and put in her two weeks notice not long after.
“I didn’t want to wake up at 40 and realize I had never done anything fun,” said Bean. “I didn’t want to live my life with any regrets.
She picked up a guitar someone had given her in high school and took to YouTube to learn how to play her favorite songs. It wasn’t long before she was posting her own videos with her own songs and receiving an incredible response.
Her videos were the perfect showcase for her songwriting as well as her personality. She had a sweet look and her voice was dripping with Southern charm, but there was something about Bean’s videos that separated her from the thousands of other YouTube hopefuls. It was a mixture of star potential and more importantly, sincerity.
I left the green room to let Noelle finish getting ready, but not before she gave me one of her business cards (a lip shaped card with a plantable bean attached). I walked into the Cambridge Room a few hours later to see Bean emerge on the stage where just last year she had come to see her favorite artist perform. Big blonde hair, signature red lips, a very Marilyn Monroe-style halter top and a black and gold skirt: the transformation was complete.
She only sang a few songs (she only has a few songs) but the vibe in the room was tangible: anyone who was not already in love with Bean was falling in love with her. I brought a friend who had never heard of her and had never heard her sing. By the end of the show she had laughed, cheered, sang along, and even cried. She was sold on the little girl with the big personality.
The Cambridge Room of HOB is not an easy place to perform. It’s a very intimate; there is not much that separates you from your audience aside from being slightly taller, but little Bean was fearless.
Before I knew it her set was over and she had disappeared from the stage, replaced by the man who would introduce the headliner. But the audience wouldn’t let him. Half the room was chanting ‘Encore’, the other half still applauding.
Before she had gone on stage, we asked her what it felt like to perform. She said, “Excitement and so much energy… It’s the best feeling. It’s my favorite thing. I hope the world loves it.”
I can’t attest for the world, but for those who were in the Cambridge Room last night, it’s safe to say they did.