Noah Zoller: Freestyling your dreams
Noah Zoller, a freshman film studies and production major, hopes to pursue a career in music.
Daniel Cody / The Hofstra Chronicle
You will often see Hofstra freshman film studies and production major Noah Zoller, also known as YAMbi Boy, with his headphones plugged in, escaping to his well of interior creativity. If approached, he will surely talk about his newest musical project, and with luck he might even extend an invitation to help out. A walking advertisement for his media group and soon-to-be fashion label, Yung Ambitious Mafia, or YAM for short, Zoller certainly has a vision and a will to create.
“I have a lot of dreams for this. I want to have a clothing line – YAM skating, YAM gaming, just everything. Anything that can spread positivity and inspire people ... I want to spark a fire in people, and I hope that’s what YAM will do,” Zoller said.
A West Virginia native, Zoller is a true child of Appalachia; yet he embodies the hopeful and talented New Yorker spirit. He is proud of his home and where he came from.
“West Virginia is beautiful, it’s got hella mountains and a lot of trees. The people there are so kind. A lot of people are very ignorant, but they’re also very sweet. Everyone is just used to being poor, so they’re more inclined to help people out when they need it,” he said.
Zoller brings an interesting perspective to the growing urban style and music industries. He identifies as a transgender man.
“I’m just scared people are going to treat me differently because I’m trans; but it’s chill up here. Not like back at home,” he explained.
Zoller’s unconventionality is part of what makes his talents so raw and unique. He has never taken a musical class or had any formal music education, he just channels his sadness into lyrics and rhythms. Music is his coping mechanism, and YAM is his instrument (although he is planning to learn how to play the piano). He is devoted to positivity and having an optimistic outlook, so his music is dedicated to those who are struggling with mental health.
“I usually write at my lowest points,” Zoller said. “When [I write], I’m turning my sadness into something positive and concrete that I can listen to over and over again. I listen to it until I can get over that weird, stuck feeling of being sad. I want people to be able to listen to my music and feel the same way – to get out of their sadness and feel happy and do anything they want to do. That’s what Yung Ambitious Mafia is.”
Back home, Zoller wasn’t necessarily encouraged to go to Hofstra, but he is thrilled to be in such a musical atmosphere.
“Follow your dreams. Everyone told me not to go to this school, not to move out – it’d be too expensive, too much to handle – but here I am, still functioning. I’ve met so many good people and I can tell they’re going to be lifelong friends. I’ve made so many connections; everything is just falling into place because I let it,” he said.
Zoller’s passion shines through his difficulties. His biggest fans are his family and his friends back home.
“There’s one thing that my brother Kenny said to me that pushes me to wake up every morning for my [9 a.m.] class. He said, ‘Noah, you better do what you to have to do while you’re up there.’ He’s not really a school person, which is what inspired me. I do [music] for my mom, my brothers and my grandpa,” Zoller said.
Noah Zoller is ready for the world, thanks to support from those he loves. To put it in his words, “We YAMbitious.”