Premiere: Cale Hawkins

Hey, could you tell us a bit about yourself?

I am a songwriter & producer based in Brooklyn, NY, but I play a lot of different musical roles to pay the bills. On any given day, I could be playing in someone’s band as a keyboardist, engineering a recording session, or scoring a modern dance piece. I grew up in Bemus Point, NY, a really small town of only about 350 people. It was the exact opposite of NYC in nearly every way, but the absence of the city’s commotion afforded a lot of time to listen, practice and write music. I started playing the guitar at age seven, keys at age ten, and bass at age eleven, and took up production in my teens. I’ve always been singing; I grew up listening to a lot of Beatles, and singing along to their music is pretty unavoidable.

After high school, I went to Berklee College of Music in Boston and focused almost exclusively on developing as a keyboardist. I tested out of some classes and graduated with my bachelor’s degree at age 19, but I found myself incredibly disillusioned with music. I moved to NYC on a whim with $300 in my pocket, quit playing for a while, and rediscovered my love for songwriting. Around that same time, I auditioned for a gig with Nikki Yanofsky, a Canadian artist that Quincy Jones was producing at the time. I toured with Nikki & Quincy as her keys player and musical director for around two years, and began incessantly writing songs during our travels across the globe. Once the tour concluded, I found myself back in NYC with ample free time and have since devoted the majority of my energy to my original music. 

Where did the new single come from?

“The Ferryman” was written all at once back in 2014. I wrote it as a simple folk song, but I’ve always wanted to stretch beyond the folk idiom when producing my own music. So, I deliberated over the song’s production for three years, and finally revisited it a couple months ago once I had a clear enough vision of its production.

The meaning, of course, is open to interpretation, but the tune’s initial inspiration came from a dream I had about the river Styx. I wrote it after contemplating how it would feel to reach the end of one’s proverbial road, carrying the baggage and regrets of an imperfect, unsatisfied journey.

Is there more content in the pipeline?

Absolutely! I’m currently releasing two new singles every two months. The next two will be out September 1st. In the meantime, music videos for “The Ferryman” and its companion piece, “Apt 1F,” will be out sometime in August.

What’s on the horizon for you?

I’m mainly focused on perpetually recording and releasing music at this point. I play a ton of shows with other bands and projects I’m in, so I’m waiting to hustle live shows for my own project until the demand is there.

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