With her debut EP set to be released on May 15, 2015, we caught Cali at the perfect time. Sit back and relax as Cali provides a breath of fresh air in this much anticipated Indie Interview.
Thanks for doing the interview Cali. First question, how young into your music career are you, and do you play any instruments?
Cali - I began playing piano when I was six years old, and fell in love with it. Years later, at the age of thirteen, I picked up my mother’s Fender and just played around with it. Then I started watching endless YouTube videos and found artists like Tyler Ward, who inspired me to teach myself to play guitar. By the end of he summer, I found myself constantly playing guitar. Ever since I was a child, I knew music was part of me, but I didn’t start taking singing seriously until I was fifteen. I grew up in a family of seven children. My family always made sure that music and the arts were possible for us. I spent most of my childhood watching my older sister travel and perform with her band. Music surrounded me, I think that’s why I have been able to find myself so easily as an artist, because music was always second nature.
Oh wow! You're still really young in your career, and to find yourself as an artist is great. Not to mention names, but it seems like it takes some artists forever to find out exactly who they are. Speaking of being young, are you in college or high school?
Cali - I’m a home schooled senior in the Hempfield area School District. I’ve been home schooled my entire life. I was given a choice to go to public school, or finish my high school being home schooled. I chose being home schooled because being home schooled was part of who I am. Music was such a huge part of my life that I knew I wanted it to be my career. Switching my life around at this pivotal point by going to a public school and not focusing on my music with such intensity, probably wouldn’t have been the best.
Cali - I would say that is fair. School obviously is very important to me. Like you said though, It does play a different role in my life. As for writing, I do write my own music, along with co-writing with my producer and other artists. I have a team of writers called Mockingbird Music, which include myself and my two sisters.
That's great! I can't imagine how supportive it is to have siblings playing such a vital role in your future. What's the hardest part about being so young and trying to break into the music scene?
Cali - I think the hardest part of being so young in the music industry is realizing you still have so much growing up to do. Aside from the music scene, you can be distracted by school, work, friends and the little things that go along with being a teenager. I’m now just finding out how difficult it is to choose between staying at home and working on what I love, my music and writing, . . .or being a normal teenager focusing on the social scene. There are so many things I don’t know, so many things I am learning all at once. Don’t get me wrong, I love it. I wouldn't trade a thing about it. It’s difficult, but I love the difficulty. It’s bittersweet. I truly believe it all comes down to balance and being grounded.
I could only imagine. Me being a former athlete in high school, I know the difficulties, but if you can keep on putting out good music like "Oh Love", it will all be worth it for you and your fans. What are some of your favorite places to perform and how often do you have shows?
Really cool Cali! With you being from Pittsburgh, how's the music scene and what's the most popular sound?
Cali - There’s a huge mix of different genres here in Pittsburgh. There’s also a great platform for independent artists. I always like to think of Pittsburgh as a hidden ground for artists. The past few years, The Voice, has had quite a few Pittsburgh contestants such as Chris Jamison who came in third place last season!
Speaking of reality shows, are you a fan of American Idol and have you ever tried out?
Cali - Yes, I’m a huge fan of American Idol. I’ve watched every season. Last summer, I tried out for online auditions and ended up making it for the pre auditions in New York City. It was a big eye opener for me, along with a great experience. Idol is definitely different compared to what you see on TV. I now understand the pain you can go through with these auditions. Although I didn’t make it , I had the chance to meet so many amazing people who love exactly what I love about life. I even had the chance to meet and hangout with a few of my favorite contestants from the previous year including Austin Percario. Austin and I both didn’t make it past the last round in pre auditions. It was hard, but it was something I promised my self I would do ever since I saw Kelly Clarkson audition.
I personally prefer Idol to The Voice, so more kudos to you. I saw on your Facebook page you have listed under band interests the name Colten Dixon. Is this any relation?
Cali - No, sadly I am not related to him. I wish I were! Maybe there is some connection somewhere, but I’m pretty sure that I am not related to him. However, he has been a huge inspiration for me, not only as an artist, but as a person. I first saw Colton on season 10 of American Idol. He was one of my favorite Idol contestants. I was very disappointed when he was voted off, but his determination to keep trying inspired me to be persistent with my own dreams. He is now one of the top Christian Rock artists like Chris Daughtry and Danny Gokey. He’s really instilled a sort of confidence in myself as a person and encouraged me to find my unique place in music. Colton Dixon’s music is rare in its honesty and clarity. He expresses himself in a unique way and maintains his individual voice.
You musicians can get really deep. I love it. Your bio says you have a partnership with Tinderbox Music. What exactly is this?
What are your thoughts on Taylor Swift?
Cali - Ha, T-Swizzle, she is the the definition of perfection in my eyes. She is remarkably gifted and has been able to change and grow being so young in the industry. She’s been a huge influence in my life. I look up to her in so many ways. She is such a smart business woman, talented song writer and performer. I can only dream that some day I might have the opportunity to share the stage with her.
I would agree. I know where all the hate comes in regards to Taylor, I just don't understand it. Are you a big reader, or more of a wait and see if it turns out to be a movie kind of person?
Cali - I love reading, I’m an avid reader! I’d rather read the book than watch the movie. I once read the Twilight series in less than a month. Once I get interested in a book, there is no turning back or getting me away from that book. There could be a tornado outside and I wouldn’t close the book!
That is outstanding! You just gave me a chance to plug my other website into this interview. Thanks Cali. For great reads you should check out http://fictiononthego.com. Now, for the most serious question of them all. The Beatles or The Monkees?
Cali - The Beatles without doubt! One of my favorite quotes is by John Lennon, “If someone thinks that love and peace is a cliche that must have been left behind in the Sixties, that's his problem. Love and peace are eternal.” No other band in history impacted the music scene with such intensity. Their music and personalities are nearly irreplaceable and provided a world in war a place of refuge.
Noooo Cali! You had done so great until this final question. I will let it pass since you gave such an outstanding interview. I must tell you though, The Monkees completely revolutionized the way people look at musicians today. I'm not going to get into it now, but they were a gem of their time and should be looked upon with more greatness then they are today.
By Maxim Daniels