Introducing Funk, Soul and Swag… Introducing Kalpee!
"We are so excited to introduce you to one of Sony Music Entertainment’s latest and most exciting finds - Kalpee – who's debut single “No One” released today worldwide." Sony Music stated in a recent release.
"When describing newcomer Kalpee sound, some may call it Tropical House and some may refer to it as Soca House with influences from cadence, funk and soul. One thing remains though, his aching voice soars over a sure to be international chart hit, taking you to a place of love and loss. In a nutshell, “No One” will set your ears on fire." The release continued.
Christian Kalpee gained his early music experience representing his primary and secondary school at national music festivals where he excelled as a soloist in classical pieces. He grew his talent at Presentation College, San Fernando with leading roles in the school's annual musical productions like "The Wiz" and "Children of Eden" and also began his career as one of the founding members of one of Trinidad's multitalented young bands "The Entourage". Christian soon developed a wide following, wooing audiences with a wide genre of pop, Rnb, funk, reggae and Soca - all in one exciting repertoire and with a broad vocal range. Christian then balanced his performing and music career with a BSc degree in Marine Biology which has further established him as a role model among many young music aspirants who also want to break the status quo.
Christian's writing, production and video works have started to show his creativity by his originals and top quality covers such as "Charlie Puth's and Wiz Khalifa's - See You Again" which has had rave reviews and has surpassed 200,000 views on YouTube.
It was at the start of the year 2017 when Thrive International's founder Ethan Auguste sent Kalpee and Tano's new release "No One" to a friend in Dubai Olly Wood half of the producing duo Hollaphonic who are signed to Universal Music, the song was sent first to have a possible remix made but what happened next was life changing for this Trinidadian artist. With its commercial ready, chart hit ability it was a no brainer that a deal would happen. "Kalpee is the start and now that this bridge with SONY and other strong international industry professionals in our Thrive Network have been activated, my goal is to inspire, motivate and support people wishing to thrive." Ethan mentioned. "Our goal is to use the network to assist with the growth of others. We are stronger together and once we build and support others everyone wins" he added.
We asked Kalpee a few questions about signing the deal with SONY and the future.
What was going through your mind when you first heard the news about the distribution deal?
There were a bunch of different emotions that I immediately felt after hearing about the distribution deal, so much excitement but at the same time, I was nervous, in fact, I was nervous to the point where it became difficult to get a proper night’s rest for a while. I think the reason for that, at least for me, was the fact that It was difficult to appreciate that a company like SONY, with so much to potentially offer was interested in a sound that two Trini bedroom producers (Tano & myself) were responsible for.
How did it all happen, what was the process like?
The process was quite fast actually but to me, it seemed like years. It took about a month to finalize the contact between SONY and ourselves and for that month our home felt like an office with the constant emails and calls moving between the various parties. It was actually pretty exciting waking up to the emails every day, but I won’t lie being able to finally sign the contract after all the parties agreed on everything, was the most relieving feeling ever and I'm sure I can speak for everyone involved when i say that.
How long have you worked with the co-producer TANO?
I have known Tano for over five years I'd say, in fact, we met because of a concert that we both performed at known as KTB Live and at that time we had no clue how to even begin thinking about being producers. I won’t say that Tano and I were best friends from then till now, but we managed to bump into each other from time to time, because of the similarity in our passion for music. It’s funny how “No One” actually came about because we hadn’t kept in contact for years and one day randomly we bumped into each other buying doubles on the avenue and from there we decided to link up. Initially “No One” didn't even exist in my head as a song that we’d be working on, but I had already written the song acoustically and decided to play it for Tano since we were both just sharing our new projects with each other, from there he ended up loving it and we decided that we’d work on a production together for the song to make it more “danceable”. Woking with Tano was easy, in fact, we became close friends really quickly and I guess that was because our personalities were pretty similar. After we completed “No One’ we didn't want to stop writing and producing and almost every day we’d meet up to write something new because I guess we just work well together and share a similar vision and mindset when it comes to music and where we want our music to reach.
Where do you see the song going after the release on the 22nd of February?
I see this release as an opportunity for our music to be heard globally, but whether it translates positively or not, is entirely out of our hands. What I would say is that music is about energy and music influences different emotions based on the messages portrayed within the song. “No One” was definitely created from a positive place and the message is something that many people face in the world. Yes, some may say that “No One” is a sad song but there is a lot of hope within the song as well and that to me makes a listener feel “good” when listening to music.
How do you see this helping the industry in Trinidad and Tobago?
I definitely see this as a message to younger artist especially, that there is still room in the world for “good music” and good ideas basically, Trinidad is so full of amazing talent and I'd honestly say that it sometimes doesn't seem like that talent is appreciated, at least in my humble opinion. But what I would say is that there is no point in looking at something with a bitter eye, I do music because I love it and as a result, I’ve made a lot of sacrifices to ensure that my music lives up to a certain standard. I think once you are hungry enough for something you’d get it and I definitely don’t believe in placing doubt into anything that you are passionate about, as cliche as it sounds, you can do anything that you put your mind towards. For me, music takes a lot of work and a lot of emotion and yes it can be depressing at times when something doesn't translate the way you expected, but it’s just a matter of going back to drawing board and trying again. I promise you when the time is right and when you are ready, the world will know. Just stay positive and understand that you are in complete control when it comes to making your dreams a reality.
How has been the feedback with the song with the local radio stations and do you think now that the song is signed to a deal that they will push it more?
Personally I haven’t heard “No One” much on the radio but when the song was initially released, our focus leaned more towards the social media platforms, I do know that it has played a couple times on some of the more urban radio stations but the goal for us is always to create a product that people can enjoy and that people can feel good listening to. Radio play is important and it is amazing to hear something that you have created be played on the radio, but the first step is to win over the people and with the internet being so easily accessible today, it was easy for “No One” to be heard, without depending too heavily on radio plays. We like to sometimes come down on radio stations for them not giving a lot of local pop and hip hop artist a chance, but the truth is, a lot of the DJs and radio personalities on these stations sometimes don’t have a big say in what is played on radio, so saying that we don’t have their support would be a lie. I do think that the support for local artist can be better, but I believe that once you work hard enough on a project, the right people will find you. In anything that you do, you need to be your own motivation and not depend on excuses to make something happen. It would be amazing if this deal grants us more air play on local radio, but it would be even better if the stations genuinely like the song and want to play it without being forced.