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Interview: Cali P

Interview: Cali P

Interview: Cali P

By on - Photos by Felix Rioux - Comment

"Just because I started out with Modern Roots, doesn't mean that I only have to stick to this musical style"


Cali P - 26 years old - grew up in Switzerland and spent a lot of times in the carribean Island Guadeloupe, the home of his dad. Over the years he voiced some of continental-europe's biggest riddims like Superior, First Sight or Tek A Train. His first album 'The Lyrical Fyah' in 2008 spread his name all around the world and even got released in Japan.

After regular visit's to America, South America, Africa and of course shows all over Europe, he moved permanently to Jamaica, the home of Reggae-music.

In just one year he managed to get bookings for big shows like St. Mary Me Come From, Sting and Rebel Salute, shared the voice-booth with established acts like Capleton and even recorded a song with the legendary producer-duo Sly and Robbie.

In October 2011 Cali P released his second LP called 'Unstoppable', a collaboration with Dancehall-HipHop-Producer Riga, and reached the TopTen of the Reggae-iTunes-Charts in the USA, Canada and of course Switzerland.

Cali P

How did it happened that you moved from Switzerland to Jamaica?

I visited Jamaica for the first time in 2009 and stay there for the time of four month. The vibe and the spirit of the island was amazing. After my visit I returned to Switzerland and decided to move to Jamaica. It only took some weeks until I went back to Jamaica.

I live there now since one year and I'm very glad with my situation and how we moved forward in this short time. I found a own house to live in and we also built up our own studio. Before there was just a garden, now we have our proper working studio. Bobby Digital and his team helped us with the electric wires and building the recording-room. I'm very happy everything happened very fast and the feedback to my sound is great.

Was it easy to get in touch with other labels and other artists?

Well, I'm in touch with jamaican labels & artists since over ten years and they always suggested me: "Ey Cali, you need to come to Jamaica. Over there the people will appreciate your music much more" and that's what we did now. Very important is also that I brought my own Label - Inspired Music Concepts" -  to Jamaica and enrolled it correctly with all paperwork. Jamaica has one label more, where young artists can voice their tunes and get some recognition - and the people appreciate that very much.

I could not see any artists around that invested more time and energy into his music than me

Who's exactly involved in your label?

The label was founded by Black Phantom and myself in Zürich in 2009. Today we also have Tanner Hall and Iceberg as co-owner and people like producer Riga or Selecta Chiqui Dubs, which are also a part of the Inspired Family. And of course there some more people for the graphics, webpages and promo. It's a big team.

Now in Jamaica you can found an artists on every corner and there's a certain competition. How does that influence your music and does also push you to better results?

Cali PThat aspect makes a big difference for personally. In Europe I didn't really feel that. I could not see any artists around that invested more time and energy into his music than me.

In Jamaica everybody's working 24hours a day. Not just as recording artists, but also as event-organizer or producer. That also gives me strength and power for myself.

But I don't feel like it's a rivalry between the artists, sometimes I'm at a studio and write a song and then an other artists sings it and when he's getting exposure with that, I'm happy too.

With your move to Jamaica what changed for your career. Are you getting more recognition?

I really getting more exposure since I live in Jamaica. Also before when I was based in Switzerland I had worldwide attention, did songs for labels all around the world, but since I'm in Jamaica I'm getting more and more attention. Jamaica is known a music-land, everybody's who's involved in Reggae or Dancehall is always watching what's happening on the island. So since I got featured in Jamaican radio's and TV-shows and sound systems play my songs in the dances, the whole world see's that.

Your song "Like A Lion" was played on heavy-rotation on Irie FM. How did that happen?

Me and Black Phantom attended a sports-event in Ochio Rios.  Then we had a little jam session on the parking lot. Blacks played my Riddims on the car-speaker and I performed some of my current tunes to a small crowd of people. More and more people joined us to see what's going on and after a while a man stepped to me. He introduced himself as a news-reporter at Irie FM and he was very interested in my music, especially "Like A Lion". We linked up several times and eventually I gave him some Promo-CDs, which he passed forward to the Irie-FM-Selectors. That's how "Like A Lion" entered the program of Irie-FM.

I released "Like A Lion" four months before it was featured on Irie FM and back then it didn't get this huge recognition

When I posted my webpage and Facebook that "Like A Lion" is on rotation in Jamaica, it also buzzed big in Switzerland and Soundsystems all around the world linked me for Dubplates. But the funny thing is: I released "Like A Lion" four months before it was featured on Irie FM and back then it didn't get this huge recognition.

Since October 2011 you have your second album called 'Unstoppable' out. What's the new album about?

Cali P - UnstoppableThe new album is a collaboration with me and Riga (Producer from Geneva). I working with him since many years and we did many songs together over the last years. We experimented with new sounds and just recorded tunes, without thinking about an album. When I moved to Jamaica I thought i would be a pity, if these songs just get lost in the archives. So we decided to release it as a pure Dancehall-HipHop-Album. I've got fans, who are listening to Roots-Reggae and others also like HipHop or RnB. For me music knows no boundaries and I personally like many different genres.

Just because I started out with Modern Roots, doesn't mean that I only have to stick to this musical style. Right now I'm already working on my next LP, which will contain strictly Roots-Music.

Since one year you're based in Jamaica, your producer Riga is based in Geneva. Did you sent a lot of files for and back?

No, everything was recorded in his studio. We started about 3 years ago, at this moment I was still based in Switzerland. Sometimes he already had the Riddims finished and other times we vibed together.

Soundwise "Unstoppable" is very modern with electronic-produced Riddims, but the lyrics are more what to expect from a Roots-Album.

For sure. I can't switch my personality just because I'm singing on a Dancehall-Riddim. I always stay true to myself and it gives me motivation to record this kind of Riddims. Maybe there are people out there, which can't relate to Roots-Sound, because it's to slow for them. People, which are more into the "club-vibe" definitely can party to this album, and when they take a minute and listen carefully to the lyrics, they will notice that I touch some serious topics on the album. That very important for me personally.

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