Interview with ReverbNation Winner, Florida’s Caleb Joel!

1. Who are you as an artist, what’s your story?

I’ve been fortunate, not because of wealth or social privilege, but instead because of the influences that have always surrounded me. I’m Hispanic, born in Puerto Rico and raised in America. Music was always prevalent in my family but I’ll have been the first to expand a major career from it. My mother, father, grandmother, and aunt are all in the education system, my other grandparents survived and thrived throughout a lifetime on an elementary level education. My passion for success comes from a history of gradual progress within my family and a desire for experience and wisdom. I feel like it’s my responsibility to live, and with my capacity as a producer I can express those experiences musically so that others can live through, or relate to me.

2. Who are some of your favorite artists and music influences?

As a saxophone player, I remember listening to -Charlie Parker- for the first time in 6th grade and wanting to play faster and learn music theory because of him. A year later I was introduced to Timbaland, the Neptunes, Manny Fresh, and in Puerto Rico it was Luny Tunes, Dj Blass, Nesty… a bombardment of great producers. These were the early 2000’s. I enjoy a variety of artist ranging from Michael Jackson, Justin Timberlake, Chris Brown, to again, Charlie Parker, Chick Corea, and the like. From my island, I have to mention Baby Rasta y Gringo, Plan B, Wisin y Yandel, Daddy Yankee y Nicky Jam, and Hector y Tito.

3.What makes your music worth it to the world? To your fans?

I have always wanted to better understand humanity through experience. There is more value in being respected as a global influence rather than just a famous person. My music represents all parts of life, from relationships, spiritual revelations, introspective conflicts, to simpler things like enjoying yourself, being reckless, face value stuff. I believe people will appreciate the transparency and the effort that has gone into making my productions.

4. What is the future of music and the industry? 

The future of music will reflect the social need at the time it’s created, along with a fusion of world genres in mainstream music in efforts to merge the globe even further. As far as the industry goes, every piece makes up the big picture. Indie artists want to do it all themselves or hire people on their team to do jobs the labels once did, but then they end up signing a distribution deal with a major anyways. Over trial and error, I believe the players in the entertainment industry will begin to develop the necessary positions in the progressing market and a new, modern system will come into play.

5.What surprises you the most about the music industry?

The music industry, like any other industry has its learning curve. There are rules to how it works but not to how you work it. When I began recording, the major labels were pretty much running the show. Unless you had a substantial budget your chances of making a living pushing cd’s from the back of your Honda Civic were slim. I’m not surprised so much by the music industry, but instead by the measures new acts come up with in order to get in.

6.What’s your poison?

Watches hands down. Every craftsman, engineer, businessman, workers in general, have their set of tools. The more skilled the individual, the more intricate and higher quality of tool he/she acquires. As a distributor of time for my own endeavors I believe the tool that measures my most valuable asset (time) has no budgetary limit.

7. How is your art "your religion”?

Having the opportunity to connect with someone is special, but being able to create the connection is magic. Once the barriers caused by insufficient experience are torn down by technical fluidity, the level of connection you reach with others depends solely on your vulnerability. Through my art I have attained introspective understanding and self-confidence. I believe the higher power which for me is God, has allowed me to elevate to a degree of self-awareness through the musical abilities bestowed upon me.

8.What are you truly creating with your music that changes the world, changes society?

When occurrences of life grant you a level of enlightenment beyond what is considered typical, you have to choose which side you are on. The same understanding can be used for the deterioration of humanity as well as for its progression. My music reaches the depths of the human condition by alternating between life’s most sensitive subjects (family, emotional crisis, social struggles) to life’s more simple topics (festivities, romantic engagement, monetary carelessness, etc.). By connecting with people through the activities and events that affect all of us, I am able to introduce light into people’s lives in the form of encouragement, relate-ability, and positive reinforcement.

9. What is the message of your music?

Growing up in a religious household would seem, to some, counterproductive in reference to the advancement of humanity. This may have been the case with me if I would’ve been indoctrinated, but alternatively my religious background influenced rather than dictated my life. I believe in God and like to send messages through spirit rather than obvious lyrics. Life is a feeling process so I emit these messages by capturing the environment achieved when I’m centered in the creative process.

10.Have you been “lucky” or “gifted” in the music industry so far? Tell us more:

I would have to say gifted. Opportunities have never “landed in my lap”. In fact, I always had a hard time being accepted into competitions, winning awards, all of that kind of thing. So, when I became a teenager with the ability to work and raise some kind of change, my father would match my investment to acquire basic studio gear to start my own label. I made it work that way for almost a decade. Before then while I was learning the saxophone, I had grueling practices every day. My mother would stand next to the 8 yrs. old me for sometimes hours making sure that I didn’t miss a note. There’s more but that’s for another time. I’m grateful for the intense life lessons along the way as an independent artist all the way up throughout my 20’s. Now is the time for the “luck" part as I believe “luck” is just opportunity meeting preparation. 

11.What do you really think it takes to make it in the music industry? Tell us 3 keys.

First it takes Vision. If you’re working towards a goal, have it be clear in your mind and make sure it lines up with your heart. Second is Faith. Believe that you are called to fill that role, lead that life, play that part. Know that God has everything you need available to you and that what you are doing is beyond yourself. Third is Endurance. A lot of this is playing the waiting game. If you can maintain your drive and focus long enough eventually it will pay off. 

12.What is your main inspirational philosophy in life? Favorite quote?

I believe that our ability to overcome the inevitable adversities we individually face will dictate our success. Regardless of whether or not your struggle is greater or lesser than the next person, it’s there. So how we go about analyzing our situation is critical. Find your advantages, big or small, and cultivate their potential. Work every day towards knowing yourself, and as you continue to grow the direction will get clearer.

13. What do you regret the most in your music and would have done differently?

After going through hard drives of over a decade worth of music I believe it would have benefitted me to release more of it. I had so many insecurities about putting out music that wasn’t “ready” that now I’ve ended up with outdated works that would’ve been great for the time. My family is in the education system and have no music industry relation; that, in conjunction with my business experience as a teenager didn’t really add up to a whole lot when it came to managing my music career. So early on it would’ve been nice to have more of an understanding on how to better promote my artistry.

14.Where do you see your career going in 5 years? 10 years? Next year?

I’ll use the next five years to establish my brand by building upon the strong relationships within my own network of professionals and adding the missing partners as time progresses. I have various unique avenues that I will use to promote not only the music, but other product lines I will make available as well. In the next 10 years, I project the brand to have evolved into a global enterprise. Mass influence and high-level associations will further establish the legitimacy of the Caleb Joel name. As for next year, I will have created and completed a substantial amount of content, received the prototypes for the first phase of future products, and generated the tour campaign.

15. Legacy: At the end of the day, how do you want your fans to remember you and your music?

I want to be remembered as someone who understood.

Links:http://www.calebjoel.com (IG: Calebjoel_music) (Channel: Caleb Joel) (FB: Caleb Joel) (Handle: CalebJoelMusic)