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Takeover Tuesday: Noah Kahan Gets Lost in the Music (and Mexico)

Welcome back to Takeover Tuesday, where each week Billboard taps chart-topping artists and taste-makers to compile their very own playlist exclusive to Billboard's Spotify account. We give the artists free reign to base the list on whatever subject they choose. The only rule? Make it as creative and unique to them as possible.

Singer-songwriter Noah Kahan is heading out on the road with George Ezra on April 20, hitting cities all around the U.S. The 21-year-old is excited for his next adventure, but is probably also relieved that his next trek doesn't include Mexico, because his last trip there didn't quite go as planned.

"Two years ago, my friends and I rented out a $55 Airbnb in Cancún, Mexico for my 20th birthday. I was born on New Year’s day, so the plan was to spend New Year’s eve and a few days after somewhere we would never forget." he recalls. "What we didn’t account for in our master plan was that we actually had no idea how to limit ourselves in a foreign country."

Kahan and his friends lost a handful of their belongings on the trip, but instead of dwelling on his misfortune, he decided to make a playlist out of it. Behold "Lost My Valuables In Mexico," which he calls "a musical interpretation of our emotionally and physically disastrous trip to Mexico."

The "Hurt Somebody" singer’s journey began in Boston’s Logan International Airport, which he honored by including Dermot Kennedy’s "Boston" on the playlist. "We started off in a familiar place. We were exploding with excitement about what was to come," Kahan said. Prior to takeoff, he and his friends "had been blasting 'Danza Kuduro' for about 24 hours at that point." He included the Don Omar single next, although Kahan admitted they were initially unaware that the song is actually Portuguese.

Next, Kahan time-stamped his trip with songs that capture what happened when things went awry, including "Trouble" by Ray LaMontagne. "The very first night, three of us lost our phones at a bar. I also lost my wallet and my favorite hat," he said. "The next morning, I went to the strip we had been at the night before (which was much grosser with sunlight and a hangover) and dug around in the dirt for my phone for about an hour,” a moment Kahan represented with "In a Black Out" by Hamilton Leithauser.

For the third night of the Mexico trip, "FEAR." by Kendrick Lamar is a fitting song for the soundtrack, as is Trippie Redd’s "Deeply Scared." "We were no longer even having fun. We were all broke and dirty, and our Airbnb owner was trying way too hard to hang out with us. We watched Sicario and started imagining terrifying scenarios with the cartel. After the three days we had, our brains were starting to play tricks on us," Kahan shared.

Finally, the group was homebound and Kahan marked the occasion with Young The Giant’s "Amerika." In reflection, the singer realized that he hadn’t thought much on it until now -- and included the aptly-titled "I Forget Where We Were" by Ben Howard. "Due to the haze of excess and lack of sleep, my recollection of the trip is pretty thin. In fact, this is the first and last time I’ve ever actively tried to take myself back to those four fateful days in 2016."

Take a journey with Kahan through his Takeover Tuesday playlist below and check out his website for tour dates.


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