Cali P reaching beyond sky's limit Image

by Biko Kennedy

Often we're told that the sky's the limit but Cali P's destiny seems to believe in something much more...the idea of limitlessness and as such he'll never stop dreaming dreams beyond sky's limit. As  Cali P prepares for his performance at the Earth Hour Acoustic Concert, we caught up for a brief interview-turn-learning-experience. 

Photo by Felix Rioux

JAmusic: Music lovers globally will always be looking for that new, impeccable sound that can be looked upon as leaders of the new wave of vocalists. How would you define a musical genius that can eventually become a vocal leader? 
CP: A musical genius or a genius in general comes out of the passion and love one has for what he or she is doing. There are much musical geniuses out there. Wether heard or not. A vocal leader today needs more than just vocals and good music. A leader needs his family or team. And in music it was always like this. At least for successful vocal leaders. Also it includes a lot of patience and strong faith.

JAmusic: Some of the most genius artistes have thrived when taking chances and innovating. How important/present is that on the Reggae soundscape today; from what you've seen and that might have help in composing your singles?

CP: For me, working in other genres than reggae music is more experimental and still with the love I have for the music on a whole. Now people have different tastes, so i don't expect a roots lover to love my dancehall or hip hop production. First of all I do the music that I feel and have the vibe for. And at the same time doing that is expanding the message into other music scenes and make those specific music lovers pay attention  to what we do. This can make other people discover the same roots reggae music they didn't know before. So it's about opening doors and bring people together. I will always work on projects with people and create what I didn't have yesterday. So it's very present, and I am not talking about only myself.

JAmusic: How do you think a single such as Tomorrow or even your collaboration with Kellingston on the single R?ver will impact your growing fan base as well as attract new listeners? 

CP: That's exactly what we talking about. Kellingston is a young singer from Guadeloupe who is mostly known to a very young audience in the French West Indies and the Caribbean community in France. Making a song with him introduces Cali P to those ones who didn't know I before. And at the same time it exposes Kellingston to a whole diffrent crowd that never heard of him. It shows music is unity work and collaborations can be very unexpected ones. My single Tomorrow is a reggae single that we produced in Europe with the Hemp Higher Team wich did a lot of my "experimental" productions in the past. And that brought songs like Jah rule the World, or Dreadfull. In fact a whole album called Unstoppable. So the song "Tomorrow" is just the continuation of the work we doing since years.

JAmusic:  Your style seems to be a blend between vocalists like Stephen Marley, Damian ‘Jr. Gong’ Marley and Pressure. Is this intentional and are these artistes, persons you try to emulate? 

CP: I love the music of Stephen Marley, Jr. Gong and Pressure. Yet still I never measure my self or try be anyone else than me. My journey in life is my growth in music. All music is a influence naturally I would say. When I first started to sing I was measured with other artists because 14 years ago when I started to sing in sound systems other artistes where more actual and talked about than the ones you just mentioned. So you naturally get measured to other artists by people.

Photo by Felix Rioux 

JAmusic: What's the biggest risk you've taken artistically; one that went over surprisingly well and one that might've gone over people's heads? 

CP: If the music you release is depending on how much someone will like it or not like it then it's a risk every time you put out something. I decided to launch my Reggae music into a completely different public, that is into sports and was never really into Reggae Music and it changed a lot of things. It made the youths in the free-ski scene aware of Reggae Music. Now they love to ride and listen to Cali P songs while doing that. So I can say this went well. On the other hand I released dancehall songs where I could feel some my roots reggae fans couldn't identify with, while there is people that might know me for some Hip-Hop remixes but never really dig my Roots Songs, you get mi?

JAmusic: Who's the artiste that keeps you on your toes? Pushes you to go harder? 

CP: I wouldn't say it's a particular artist that pushes me or keep me on my toes. It's my faith and being conscious of what my mission is in life. I love all kinds of music. As long as it's positive you know. It doesn't have to speak about my specific lifestyle for me to like it either, because I live a way of life and not a religion. I can accept people with diffrent views than I have in life. But I also love to make people aware that there is a living god for us all, and him nuh sleeeep! Musically I really look up to Bob Marley still , Bunny Wailer and Peter Tosh. They managed to make Reggae Music have a very strong impact on the world. Until this very day! I Raspect that to the fullest. Them never put out a bad song. Always top! Think about it!

JAmusic:  When you got into the music business where did you think you'd be today or where did you see yourself fitting in at the moment? 

CP: I never look too far down the line in terms of where I think I will be. I love to work in the present. Always do the best I can. Always perform as if people going to see me for the first time. I know music is a building, and I am building day by day.

Photo by Felix Rioux

JAmusic: What's the purpose on your musical journey? What's the message you're trying to give? 

CP: Music transmit feelings and teachings too. Music brings love to people. Uplift people. All those things I put into my music. That's what I want to make people feel. Righteousness. Love. Equal rights and justice. I also use music to keep history. Make the people remember our forefathers our ancestors. Our royal continent, africa. Rastafari I

JAmusic: What's one song that you hold close to you because of a particular line or better yet what's the most philosophical quote you've heard in a song that you hold close to your heart? 

CP: That list would be real long. Cause as I listen a lot of music I always find songs going with a moment or mood that I am in. And that's when I even understand the message way better. I love "Jah Live" from Bob Marley, because the message of that song is so powerfull and relevant everyday, in this society and system. They feel that god is dead. Still JAH LIVE!

JAmusic: We live in an era where the average person's attention span is limited to what they want to see or hear. What are you doing differently that will hold their attention? 

CP: I wouldn't even say what they want to see or hear, but what get presented to them on a wider scale, what reaches them. People didn't want to hear certain songs on the radio until it just happen that they heard the song 50 times and now they wake up singing it and give it attention. Over the years I just keep a good spirit, stay healthy, live up and create and prepare good music. I think by living just my natural lifestyle it is interesting enough for other people to catch they're attention because the masses of the people follow what they don't have. What they weren't brave enough to live. And that's why Babylon don't want to acknowledge and promote Rastafari livity, because it make the people live up and meditate righteousness, progress, help and health. I keep the people attention by staying original.

Photo by Felix Rioux

JAmusic: With success comes a lot of negative feedback, how do you react or deal with negativity? 

CP: It depends again how you look at negative. Because if it's negative because one don't like a certain song or sound, then it's nothing more than taste. One wouldn't like it, but a next one looove it! So that's easy for me to deal with. I never live for people in terms of having to prove my self or live to please someone, so I don't care about what one might think because mostly that's the ones that don't know anything about you. I dwell in positivity and we trample weak heart with love. There is always a solution.

JAmusic: What kind of future plans have you set for yourself as an artiste (to accomplish and maintain)?

CP: I want to make sure my children's children can be proud of the works that we put into place from now. I want to reach out to every corner of this world and make people feel Rastafari hights and music. I want to motivate the youths and people to work hard and reach anywhere they want to go. When I get a message from a ghetto youth that tells me my songs give him strength to go out and hustle then it is a big honor for me. When some one feel bad and listen a Cali P to catch back a smile. That's where music heals, and that's what I am here to do.

JAmusic: What insight can you give on the power of music and its ability to communicate certain messages verbally and non-verbally? And what do you think your music represent? 

CP: Let's look at Jamaica. People will listen to music before they're country leaders message. To me that's HOW powerful the music is. Now that's why it is so important to keep positive lyrics in the music. Transmit messages of reality. Non verbally also because we making video clips, tour edits, clips for the net, etc all that is exposure where our image is concerned. And image alone transmits messages. That is very true, I feel that when Reggae Music as a fraternity unite more, then we would be heard more all over the world and the positive message would get more way!

My music represent I&I. Every song I make has a topic. Every song I sing has a message that I want to bring across. Messages for youths as well as elders. It's universal. So my music represent I&I. Give thanks for such a good interview! Blessed love.

Image A music aficionado redefining possibilities while pushing the limits of success...
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