It’s no secret that Peekskill has an incredibly diverse music scene.
After almost a year of writing this column for Patch I have ventured out to explore much of the musical talent that the small city has to offer, and have seen both groups and individuals performing every genera of music from acapella to zydeco.
After an innumerable amount of visits to local cafes, coffee shops, bars, theatres and weekend festivals I thought I had seen a fairly well-rounded example of what the city had to offer musically. But alas, upon contemplation of this idea I realized there was still one musical style missing from my roster.
As a fan of hip hop, I was slightly perplexed as to how this category of talent had remained unrepresented throughout my ventures.
I was left asking myself, “Where are all the rappers at in Peekskill?”
Then one day, as if a higher being had heard that voice inside my head, out of the blue I got a phone call from a local bartender who told me about a Peekskill emcee who would be holding an upcoming show at her bar, Richie’s, in Cortlandt Manor.
“His name is Noodle,” the barkeep said. “…And he’s really good.”
And she was right. The kid’s got talent.
Known to many as Andre Rainey, but to most as, “Noodle,” the 28-year-old artist was born in Peekskill. After living in both Germany and Vegas throughout his father’s Air Force career, Noodle returned home to the Hudson Valley city to graduate from Peekskill High School in 2002.
“Growing up, my mother used to always call me a skinny Noodle,” Rainey said. “I couldn't stand that, but as I got a little bit older, everyone called me Noodle. I didn't like it at all at first, but I grew into it. It's different, and I think 'different' fits me perfect.”
Unique in his musical style, Noodle has been branded a positive, inspirational Hip Hop artist, and he strives to use his talents to fill a niche that many other artists in his position have yet to satisfy.
“Some of the most popular songs out now have little to no inspiration, in my opinion,” Noodle said. “Artists like Bob Marley, Tupac Shakur and many more were great at [inspiring people] and I really don't believe a lot of musicians are doing this anymore.”
“I'm a very happy, outgoing type of person, and I want the majority of my music to be the same,” Noodle said. “Happy, outgoing, and especially inspirational.”
To help him further his visions to promote both his and other’s talents, Noodle began his own entertainment company, Noo Moves Entertainment, in 2011.
Since then, rather than just focusing his energies on his talent alone, Noodle has also worked tirelessly to showcase and promote the abilities of other performing artists through his, “Artist Appreciation Show” which he hosts the second Sunday of every month at the Bean Runner Café.
“The purpose of the show is to create a larger fan base for real raw talent, whether it be singing, dancing, painting, rapping or something else,” Noodle said. “It’s another avenue for artists to do what they do best, without any schemes and fees.”
To prepare for the show, Rainey selects three artists and one “featured” artist for the event from those who have crossed his path or contact him through networking. He has brought acts from as far as Boston and Seattle to perform at the Peekskill Café.
“I go to a lot of open mics, not only to perform, but to look for talent too,” Rainy said.
The acts he can’t go see in person, he checks out by watching online videos.
In the past Noodle has teamed up with Chase of Yorktown and the Cortlandt Town Center’s Wal-Mart to fund traveling expense for the artists invited to participate in his show at Bean Runner. When funding falls short, the generous host has been known to pay out of his own pocket to get the talent to the café, though Noodle is currently seeking steady sponsorship for the event.
Rainy recently relocated to Queens to take advantage of New York City’s performance opportunities, but his love for his home city is unquestionable. His Peekskill pride is the topic of one of his most popular songs, My City Peekskill, which has seen over 13,200 hits on Youtube and 65,000 plays on his MySpace page.
“I love Peekskill, especially now. It's growing in so many ways artistically... a lot has changed over the past two years that's really impressive.”
To hear more of Noodle’s music you can listen to his first album, “It’s a Noo Day,” or check out a preview of his latest song, Photo Album, which will be released on his next album, Live-N-Learn, due out in Spring 2012.
You can attend Noodle’s next, “Artist Appreciation Show” at Bean Runner Café Oct. 9, at 4 p.m., or catch him hosting, “I Wanna Rock With the Band,” a variety showcase of independent artists taking place in the Bronx on Oct. 26, from 8 p.m.-midnight.