When I went online last week, seeking tickets to Noah Kahan‘s Fenway Park concerts this summer, I was surprised to learn that the double gig is sold out. All 76,000 tickets were snatched in the blink of an eye. As disappointed as I was to miss the folk-pop musician, whose debut album “Stick Season” made him the No. 1 artist on my Spotify app, it also came as a nice surprise that re-affirms this New Englander’s meteoric rise to stardom. That same week, “Stick” peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 album chart, 67 weeks after its release. A month earlier, Kahan grabbed his first Grammy Award nomination in the prestigious Best New Artist category (which he lost to Victoria Monét).

Kahan’s Jewish background adds another layer to his success story. Born to a Jewish dad and a Christian mom, he grew up in Strafford, Vermont, and then moved to Hanover, New Hampshire, where he went to school. “I’ve been called the Jewish Ed Sheeran,” he joked in an interview. He often refers to himself as “Jewish (Lewis) Capaldi” at live shows and says, “Sometimes I just feel like Larry David walking around.”

“Growing up half Jewish and having this face on me… it has kind of been a big part of my identity,” he told Billboard. “I’m not going into a song, ‘Let’s get this one extra Jew-y.’ But I think it plays into the cultural aspect of [my music]—into the humor. And down to my diet. Like, I got the acid reflux stomach, just like my dad.”

During the week of my failed ticket hunt, a different artist reigned over the U.S. music charts. It was Ye (formerly known as Kanye West), whose new album and single with Ty Dolla $ign paved the way for his return to grace, more than a year after his online antisemitic tirade seemed to blow up his career. Ye’s history of provocation and extreme rhetoric clearly didn’t leave a mark on American music consumers. He hasn’t been canceled and didn’t have to go underground like other influential artists who spoke their minds. Apparently, a sloppy apology to Jewish people in Hebrew is all it takes for us to forgive and forget.

Kahan and Ye are located on two opposing edges of any spectrum, both musically, publicly and personally. While Kahan’s easygoing, positive approach made him an immediate fan favorite, Ye’s unapologetic hate speech and bigotry hangs a huge red flag over his art. But Kahan’s unapologetic Jewishness and healthy relationship with his identity as a child of an interfaith marriage operates as an antidote to Ye’s antisemitism. Kahan’s heavy rotation on the radio, his constant chart presence and concert commercial success bravely stand in contradiction to Ye’s lies and slander. Even if I can’t find tickets to Kahan’s shows, I will keep finding solace in this Jewish representation in America’s mainstream culture.

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