Artist Spotlight: Noam Shapira

Noam Shapira is an NYC-based saxophone player, originally from Tel Aviv Israel. Shapira is known for his work for indie bands, playing in jazz clubs, and combining the two in his own projects such as the band Bubble Wrap Trap where he has been an active member since 2018. 

What or who inspired you to become a musician? 

As a jazz musician, I have always naturally been inspired by all the jazz giants like John Coltrane and  Miles Davis. When I started playing, those legends and some of the classic rock legends (the Beatles, Pink Floyd, etc) and their message of freedom and love were the force that drove me to become a musician. Today I find that I get most of my inspiration from things outside of the music realm like practicing yoga, relationships with people, or even a weird subway incident that can change my perspective. At the end of the day, those are the materials you can work with to create music. 

Photo by Peter Vit

What was the creative journey that has brought you to where you are today?

My creative journey took a significant turn in 2018 when I moved to NYC. Until then, it seemed easier to find my own voice, maybe because I was living within a much smaller community and it was easy to stand out. When I moved to NYC, and all of a sudden I was a part of a much larger music community, I realized that I had to find my special approach to the saxophone and to music, to be relevant and unique. 

What’s on your mind these days?

These days I focus on recording my debut album as a leader. The music is already written and has been played in many different constellations. The only remaining question is whether I should record it in the USA or Israel. I can’t wait to get in the studio and record it.   

How has the COVID-19 crisis affected your creative life and your relationship to your work?

As a performing artist, the COVID-19 crisis has affected me in pretty obvious ways. I remember, in April of 2020 I had almost 20 shows canceled! In the beginning, I was upset. But as I started to accept it, I found some great opportunities in it. All of a sudden I had all this spare time to concentrate on improving myself, writing more music, and practicing my instrument. I also started playing the clarinet and the flute, and to incorporate them into my music. In retrospect, the pandemic allowed for these developments in my personal growth as an artist. Looking back at these crazy times, I think the COVID-19 crisis has strengthened my connection to music and to my instrument. 

Photo by Peter Vit

What project are you working on now?

I’m working on two different projects. One with the band Bubble Wrap Trap which I’m a member of,  and the second is a solo project. We just finished recording an album by the Bubble Wrap Trap, in collaboration with Israeli rapper Ron Asael (Tella mob). It was the first time I was a part of producing a rap album and I find it a very interesting experience. The album is about to be released this summer and we are about to perform it at the Indinegev Festival in October and also at “Teder.FM” in September. Besides that, I’m working on my own solo project that I intend to record in the fall. I already have some shows scheduled to perform in Israel in October and November.    

What do you need as an artist today? 

We are in a very interesting era that defines the question of being an artist in some new ways. I think the most important thing for an artist today is balance. To be able to write music that is fresh and innovative and at the same time carries a message in it; to break boundaries and be a master of your craft, but also remain simple and authentic and touch people’s feelings. I think once you balance all the different parts of your life, music-related or not – that’s when you can become a relevant and innovative artist.