Trinbagonian musician Kalpee shares the charming, uplifting Feel Good Playlist Vol. 1 EP, which includes sublime new track ‘Put A Record On’ – available now on.
Hailing from Trinidad and Tobago, Kalpee’s music career started at six-years-old – his father wrote calypsos which Kalpee performed at traditional calypso competitions and national music festivals.
At fourteen-years-old, he became the frontman of a cover band that he locally toured and performed with for over ten years, which helped elevate his live performance. After graduating from university in 2016 with a degree in Marine Biology, Kalpee decided to dedicate himself to his true passion, music and went solo. He also taught himself how to create and edit all of his videos, artwork and graphics.
Currently residing in the UK, his music has racked up over 25 million streams and has received BBC Radio 1 support for his debut HOME EP that was released earlier this year.
We chatted to Kalpee about his new EP ‘Feel Good Playlist VOL.1’ and mental health in 2020.
Welcome to Flavourmag. How are you? Have you found yourself becoming more creative this year?
I’m great, to be honest, nothing to complain about, I’m just appreciating every blessing that’s come my way.
This year has been challenging for everyone in different ways I’d say, a lot of amazing plans and performances had to get postponed, including my own. I was invited and excited to be performing at The Great Escape and SXSW which was disappointing when they were cancelled but completely necessary to do so in light of COVID. But hey no point in dwelling in the negative and I have never been more creative than I’ve been this year. Everything getting cancelled due to the pandemic, gave me a lot of time to work on my crafts, like producing, which inspired me to put together “Feel Good Playlist vol 1”.
What inspired you to create your ‘Feel Good Playlist VOL. 1 EP?
Getting back into production, really reminded me of how much I actually enjoy producing. Being able to create something from scratch, gives me the motivation and inspiration towards making music in general, to be honest, and next thing you know there’s an EP in the works.
Do you think songwriting is a good way to deal with what’s going on in your head emotionally?
Definitely, I think, when you try to write your feelings down or find a chord progression to describe the moment, it gives you perspective and helps you to think through the emotions, also, when you create something after an argument or a negative experience, it’s refreshing because it feels as though you’re venting and putting the energy somewhere, instead of dwelling on it, with no outlet. My mood dictates what I create, which is incredible.
When you release new music, how do you know when a song is ready to send off into the world?
My process for completing a song can be a long one, I listen to my music, sometimes, thousands of times, looking for whatever parts that don’t feel right. I go back and forth in the production and vocals till I’ve ticked all of my boxes, and then I get feedback from specific persons who are honest with me.
Has there been a song you’ve released that you regret or now wish you could change?
I tend to try and not regret anything in life, and instead tell myself that every day is a lesson whether it’s good or bad, that is part of my journey. Sometimes I ask myself, “what was I thinking when I made this?”. but then I try to think back to what the initial feeling that I would have had was, and where I was in my journey at that time, and it just makes me realise that I’ve grown so much that I’m just not in that place anymore. That is a blessing within itself.
You’re a strong advocate for keeping mental health an ongoing conversation, how do we do this? and what can we do to make sure the people we love feel supported?
I’ve lost a couple of friends due to Mental Health, so conversations are extremely important because there are some places and communities who still today, do not acknowledge it. Every person on this earth faces mental struggles every day and I don’t see that changing, especially with how digital the world is today. I think what we have to work on is, how do we tackle things like, depression and anxiety and how do we learn to live with it, so we can control it.
Do you think it’s positive that more people in the public eye are speaking more about mental health? Why?
As a public figure or influencer, you have to acknowledge that people, especially young people might look up to you. I definitely feel that by talking about these kinds of topics openly, it can encourage someone who needs support, to reach out to someone they trust and get the help they need to overcome their current state of mind.
What would you like fans to take away from your music? Do you have a specific message?
I speak about being different a lot because our difference is our beauty and we have to own it. There’s a lot of good energy that goes into my music because I want the listener to feel good, to get inspired, to help lift themselves up when they need to. Music is medicine, so why not use it.
What has been your biggest Rockstar moment since you started your career?
I won’t say that this was a rockstar moment, but getting the opportunity to go to Sweden to work was crazy for me, because prior to that, I was studying Marine Biology full time In university in Trinidad, whilst balancing being the lead singer in a cover band. This was the catalyst for my career I’d say and the moment I realised that I was now doing this professionally.
When you finally get to play in front of a live audience, what are you most looking forward to?
I can’t wait to perform the new music, I’ve been working on my live set and there’s just an energy to it that I’m excited to share. Seeing peoples reaction in person is the best feeling in the world especially when you know you’ve created it with that very intention.
If you could go back in time, what would you tell your 18-year-old self?
Even though I wasn’t a horrible teenager, I’d tell my 18-year-old self, to listen to parents a little more, because everything they warn me about comes true
What would be the theme tune to your life?
Bill Withers – Lovely day