Artist Spotlight: Noga Shefi

Noga Shefi is a professional musician based in Brooklyn, NY. Originally from Israel, Noga moved to the US to study bass guitar at the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston. Graduating with honors in 2012, she came to New York and jumped into a life of touring, gigging and recording with many artists of a wide range of musical styles. Her unique sound and versatility allows her to collaborate with artists not only in the music world but also in other mediums such as visual arts and sound meditation and healing. Between tours you can find her performing in New York’s historic venues, teaching lessons, offering workshops and working on her own original music.

What or who inspired you to want to be an artist? 
I wonder if I ever said to myself ‘I want to be an artist’. My interest in music started out of a wish to play songs with my friends when we would go on field trips together. Later, it was the sound of groovy bass lines that inspired me to listen, dance and go out to hear live music. I was always attracted to music with funky and moving bass lines even before I knew what a bass guitar was. I was really into reggae and funk as a teenager. I liked anything with Sly and Robbie in it, anything with Pino Palladino in it even before I knew who they were. I started playing guitar around middle school. While sitting at a friend’s room one summer before high school started, her boyfriend who was a bass player asked me if I wanted to try playing his bass. I said yes and that was the beginning of my love of playing bass.

Photo by Paul Gruen

What was your creative journey that has brought you to where you are in your career today?
My journey has something to do with passion and the ongoing search for meaning, connection, creativity, play, peace and happiness. I started gigging after high school and there was nothing else I wanted to do more than that so figured I should keep going and do it professionally. I played in many bands, wrote songs, made records, went on tour and shared the stage with many different artists around the world. It isn’t always easy to be a musician but I guess it’s worth it. What inspires me to stay on this journey are the magical moments that happen while playing or listening to others, seeing people dance to the music, the way music brings you into the moment, the way it alleviates loneliness and distress just makes me want to keep creating and listening.

What do you need as an artist today?
As an artist today I can’t help but wonder how music would sound if there were no monetary incentive. In general I think of a world that could be based on much different values than the values that currently lead our culture. As an artist I need freedom for creativity and play without the constraints and pressure of modern society. I need to be a part of a community of like-minded humans who also make art. This is why NYC is a great place to be in!

Photo by Allison Luntz

What creative project are you working on now?
I am about to self-release my first solo album of songs I wrote and recorded about a year ago with my friend Michael Coltun. I am about to go on a national tour with a band called Rubblebucket. Before and after the tour, I’ll be performing with Ryan Power, People’s Champs, Kalbells, Cass McCombs and others. I also keep writing music for various projects and guide sound meditation workshops.

What does it mean to you to have an organization like the AICF supporting artists and culture?
It is great to know there is support to what I do as an artist whether it’s showcasing or funding or just being connected to a larger community of other Israelis who are doing similar work all around the world. Thank you!