With his brand new track Put A Record On from the EP Feel Good Playlist Vol 1 now available on all platforms (check it out HERE!), Trinbagonian musician Kalpee stopped by for a chat about his music, inspiration and future plans!
Firstly, how are you Kalpee? Thank you for joining us today.
Hey, I’m doing great, thank you, I’m in Barbados right now, creating and refilling my energy, so I’m loving life lol, got nothing to complain about.
For some people that may not have heard of you or your music, could you give us a bit more information about yourself and the music that you create?
I am an artist from an island called Trinidad & Tobago and I call my sound “Chilled Calypso” since calypso has been such a big part of my musical upbringing. It’s part of a larger Caribbean genre, known as, Island pop. The sound changes from song to song, but there are elements of calypso, soca, reggae, rock, pop and rnb that makes up the genre. To me the music feels like being on a beach during sunset time. So if that’s your vibe, definitely check it out.
You have recently released a single with Stefflon Don, how did the collaboration come about?
Whilst working in LA with a team known as “The Anmls” we created the song we know today as “Gimme de Ting”. At the time it wasn’t called that though, it was called “One more night”. We released that version of the song which only included myself, then a couple weeks later Stefflon Don’s team got in touch and said that she loved the song and wanted to put a verse on it. Not gonna lie, I didn’t believe it at first, but fast forward to linking up at her studio, she was honestly so cool, on walking in she already had an idea down, which I knew would be dope and it was, rest of the session we just chilled and spoke about music and the industry.
Where do you see your career within the next five years?
mmm… I want to achieve so much that I don’t know where to start but… As an artist I hope that my music will resonate with as many people as possible and that I get to perform my music live to all those that appreciate it, so arena tours, big festival stages and dare I say it a Grammy! (LOL, I said it so its out in the universe now).
I’ve recently started working on writing for other artist too, so I’d like to develop that alongside my producing skills so that I can not only work with international artists but also continue to work and help elevate more artists from the Caribbean, who don’t have as many opportunities like I have been so very fortunate to have. I love every aspect of the industry, creating visuals, sound and even the business side, so maybe five years is too little time but who knows eventually there may be a Kalpee Label.
If you could collaborate with one music artist, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
It’ll have to be Miguel, I’ve been a massive fan of him for a while, so he has definitely influenced my music and sound. Also he speaks about and recognises real issues, which I respect in an artist, because it shows me that the music goes beyond just turning up, he can take it to a serious place and still make it feel and sound cool.
What do you love the most about creating music?
I love the entire process to be honest, going into an empty canvas waiting for the ideas to show up, it’s all really exciting to me. I particularly enjoy producing though, because I get to build an arrangement and create a mood around a song, it’s really interesting because the possibilities are endless, also there aren’t any rules so anything goes.
What or who inspired to you to be a motivational speaker alongside creating music?
I’ve been doing school tours for quite some time, talking to the younger generation about balancing going to school and being a musician. Because I like making hopeful feeling music and writing about topics that might motivate or inspire someone, the schools tours, naturally turned into more of a motivational talk.
I see a lot of benefits that can come from reminding people, especially the younger generation of their importance and their potential to be whatever they decide in life. All it takes is someone saying the right thing at the right time to change an opinion or a mindset. A little bit of encouragement goes a long way too. I remember going to school as a kid and having teachers tell me very discouraging things about me doing music and that affected my confidence in it, sometimes that can be enough to stop someone from doing what they love, all because of another persons lack of belief.
No one has the right to tell you, that you can’t do something, because you are the captain of your ship and the master of your faith, so you can be literally whatever you want to be in life, you just have to believe it.
What’s your ‘go-to’ style when performing at a gig?
I like to bring the rock, reggae feel, but still keep things nice and chill.
What is your favourite genre of music? We’re aware you’re a fan of many!
Such a tough question lol, but I’d have to say RnB Soul.
As you studied marine biology at university, did you always know music would be your chosen career path after studying?
I’ve known that I’ve wanted to do music full time for a while, during my university days doing marine biology my classmates and teachers would come support me at my shows. I think they knew as well, that music is what I needed to be doing in life.
What’s your favourite ever gig/festival that you have performed at?
I’ve got so many in mind, but I’d have to say, opening up for Clean Bandit in Montenegro, that was such an experience. Definitely one of my favourite gigs. I was supposed to perform at The Great Escape and SXSW this year but unfortunately due to Covid they had to be cancelled so I’m really looking forward to getting back out on the live scene again.
Who is your biggest role model within the music industry?
As of right now, Carla Marie Williams is my role model, I’ve been given the opportunity to work with her and she has given me so much amazing advice with regards to my artistry, writing, production and music history. Our conversations are filled with invaluable gems of knowledge that I am so grateful for and she continues to be an advocate in helping to push Caribbean creatives to the forefront of the industry, which I respect tremendously.
What is the meaning behind your latest song Put a Record On?
Put A Record On” was inspired by a friend, who tried to take his life. I was in a session with my Trini brother Tano, at the time when we got the news and it really shocked us. It was a wake up call, because no one had expected it. Sometimes people hide their sadness with a smile, so it’s important to reach out. The inspiration for chorus of the song where we referenced Bob Marley’s “Three little birds” came from me having a rough day. I was in the UK at the time during lockdown and had my Bob Marley record with me, something told me to put the record on, so I did and all of the heaviness immediately left my body, it was a reminder for me that music is medicine, so I wanted to portray that in the song. “Just put a record on and baby doh worry”.
How did it feel to get signed by Sony Music Entertainment?
That was a really exciting moment for me, never expected anything like that to happen, it opened so many doors for me, and gave me opportunities to develop my craft and work on my artistry. I’d say that was the turning point in my career as an artist.
Who were your biggest supporters when you decided music was the choice you wanted to take?
My family, they’ve been and still are my biggest supporters.