Walker Noble: KCRW Guest DJ Set

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Designer of KCRW’s Spring Pledge Drive Merch, Walker Noble, visits MBE to share some inspiration. Photo by Malorie McCall/KCRW

LA artist Walker Noble always knew he wasn’t long for the world of corporate America. He also knew from a young age that “the one thing I could do better than all the other kids was draw.” But of course, societal messaging about the need for a “real job” prevailed. For much of Noble's adult life, artistic endeavors were relegated to side hustle status. Then the pandemic happened and Noble’s corporate structure fell away as a result. His wife DiDi — already the CEO of Walker Noble Studios, founded in 2017 — encouraged him to shift gears and pursue art full-time. Now the Nobles oversee a thriving business dedicated to “creating art that evokes calmness and celebrates the beauty of the world.” 

More: Joe Wallach: KCRW Guest DJ Set

This has also allowed Noble the time and space for inspired collabs, such as his note-perfect design of KCRW’s Spring Pledge Drive merch. MBE/KCRW folk hero Joe Wallach (aka Novena’s centenarian grandfather) is his muse. Peruse the goods right here as you consider keeping us thriving with your support during these waning days of the drive. Click the player button to your left to be treated to Noble’s dulcet tones describing his own “cool cat” grandpa, his artistic ethos, and his radical optimism. Keep scrolling for his isolated guest DJ selects and a little bit about why he chose each one. 

Benny Sings – “Sailing”

[Noble discovered this song as an MBE listener] I’m a HUGE Yacht Rock fan and it was cool to hear an updated version of the greatest Yacht Rock song of all time…”Sailing” by Christopher Cross.

Maze – “Golden Time of Day (Feat. Frankie Beverly)”

This song brings me back to summers with family. Food, music, laughter, smiles, playing cards, [and] the soft warm summer breeze… No matter where you’re from, what race, whatever, you can close your eyes and envision that beautiful time of day known as “golden time,” aka the golden hour. 

Ahmad Jamal Trio – “Poinciana (Live at the Pershing)”

My grandfather was from New York and as a young kid he’d take me into the city for a day of adventure. I remember wearing a little suit, going to men’s suit and hat stores, going to the Rockefeller Center and Radio Music City Hall, and eating at old school diners and steakhouses. Dark mahogany, rare steaks too bloody for a young lad (but I ate it to impress him), and cigar smoke [everywhere]. A complete old school vibe. The soundtrack whenever I was with my dear  “Grandfather Ol’ Pal” was always jazz.

Sounds Of Blackness – “Optimistic”

I’m VERY optimistic. I live by the mantra “Why Not Me?” I love life. I love my family. I love people. I love art. I love the pursuit of happiness. I’m 100% a glass half full kinda person. I want my kids to know that the world is their oyster. Just stay humble, work hard, treat people with respect and never give up. I always want them to think of me in this light. I want them to say: “Dad taught us to never give up. He taught us to always believe. Never quit five minutes before the miracle. Keep going.”





Anna Chang