‘Schitt’s Creek’ inspired Noah Reid’s return to music. Now he has a soulful new single
Every sitcom that matters has that one scene that has mattered most. Think the assembly line at the chocolate factory from “I Love Lucy.” Florida Evans yelling, “Damn, damn, damn” in “Good Times.” The Fresh Prince asking, “How come he don’t want me?” “No soup for you,” for Jerry and the “Seinfeld” gang.
For “Schitt’s Creek” — which ended its six-season run last week — the scene belonged to Patrick (Noah Reid), serenading David (series co-creator Dan Levy) with an acoustic version of Tina Turner’s “The Best.” What initially appeared to be another prelude to hilarious, judgmental glances and biting one-liners unexpectedly morphed into the most heartwarming moment of the hit show’s run.
Reid took many of us by surprise, in large part, because we didn’t know he was musically inclined beforehand. The moment shined a light on the 32-year-old actor’s range. His comedic timing and warmth were well-known. But the yearning in his singing voice didn’t just touch us. It touched him, inspiring him to pursue again a music career that had gone dormant. On Friday, Reid released his tender ballad “Hold On.”
“It’s a song I wrote while working in Los Angeles when I was away from my partner,” said Reid, whose post-”Creek” tour was postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. “We had just moved into an apartment together [in Toronto] and it was difficult to be away in that time frame. I was concerned I was going to lose this great thing that we were just starting to build and there was so much uncertainty. So much isolation and confusion. Fear.
“The song started from a down place but gradually picks up, because when we hold onto each other we gradually find strength. Hope.”
To hold on
and you’ll see
that we can be so strong
for so long
if you just keep holding on
well we’re not there yet
but we’re going home
but we’re not there yet
so hold on
Season 6 of “Schitt’s Creek” promises to be emotional. The cast says filming it was plenty hard.
Reid began acting when he was 6 and leaned on music less as a career goal than as an escape. “Music,” he said, “kept my mind active and engaged and helped to keep the more unpleasant things out of my mind when things weren’t going the way I had hoped.”
In 2015 he was cast as the lead in ABC’s “Kevin From Work,” a comedy that was canceled after one season. He said he recorded his first album, “Songs From a Broken Chair” — released in 2016 before “Schitt’s Creek’s” launch — as an archival recording. Only after he performed “The Best” in the show’s fourth season — and his interest in music was suddenly re-awoken — did he revisit his creation. The result was “Gemini,” which comes out May 29, with “Hold On” serving as the third single.
“Originally, ‘Hold On’ was not going to be released,” said Reid, whose mother was born in Arcadia. “But with everything that’s going on, we thought hopefully it would be a song people could find some inspiration from.
“You never know how a project is going to turn out, you know? To have music open up for me because of the show and that Tina Turner song.… It’s amazing to now be selling out shows and performing with friends of mine and going to these amazing cities when I never thought music would do any of that for me.”
If you’ve never seen “Schitt’s Creek,” the Emmy- and SAG Award-nominated show is a binge-worthy escape, anchored by comedic cult-classic icons Eugene Levy and Catherine O’Hara. And although the premise of a somewhat dysfunctional family hurling insults at one another isn’t groundbreaking, the contextual writing and the growth the characters experience over the course of the show are refreshing. It doesn’t feel like a retread because “Creek” honors the changes that naturally occur along life’s journey.
Far too often, long-running sitcoms try to shield main characters from evolving, fearful of disturbing the formula that made it successful. “Creek” harbors no such apprehensions, which is why fans wonder if a movie is in store. They — correction, we — want to continue on this trip with them.
“We get that question a lot,” said Reid, who holds dual U.S. and Canadian citizenship. “I won’t lie. I miss being a part of something so special, so we’ll see.
“It’s hard to wrap your head around the lasting effect of ‘Schitt’s Creek.’ We hear from fans all of the time, and that’s incredible. It certainly is the biggest thing I’ve been a part of in terms of impact and people that it reached. I hope that the legacy holds up a long time.”
In honor of the series finale of “Schitt’s Creek,” Times television critic Robert Lloyd looks back fondly on his encounters with the cast.
Meanwhile Reid, who currently doesn’t have a new acting project lined up, is focused on touching people with his music.
“There were a lot of conversations about whether or not we should hold off on the release [of the album] because of COVID-19. We wondered if people were in that space, you know, to hear new music. But ultimately we didn’t feel it was right to hold off when I know people were buying tickets to see me in concert and people were hungry for it.
“If the music can lift up even a handful of people, it’s worth it … to try in some small way to help move people from the dark into the light.”
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