Noah Stewart (pictured) grew up in Harlem dreaming of the day he would take center stage at Carnegie Hall in his hometown of New York and The Royal Opera House in London.
And while most of his musically-inclined childhood friends emulated Beyonce and D’Angelo, Stewart looked up to the legendary Black-American soprano Leontyne Price. If you have not heard of her, you are not alone. Blacks are not mainstay in the classical music world. But that fact never deterred Steward from pursuing his dream of being a world-famous opera singer. While studying at LaGuardia High School, the Harlemite honed his opera skills and worked side gigs singing backup to Mariah Carey and Hootie and the Blowfish. Though those fancy job assignments did not earn the respect of his peers because his penchant for opera made him something of anomaly.
“My friends at LaGuardia made fun of me,” says Stewart. “They used to call me ‘opera boy,’ because I was obsessed with opera. Everyone around me wanted to become a pop singer.”
With the help of a mentor, Steward attended The Julliard School in New York after graduating from LaGuardia. While there, he busted tables, worked retail and served as a receptionist at Carnegie Hall. Somehow, he thought working at that famed musical powerhouse would position him to be “discovered.”
It didn’t quite work out that way.