When I found out I would be interviewing the members of country music’s newest six-member sensation King Calaway, the first thing I thought of was how just recently a close friend of mine had shared a video with me of the band performing their hit single World For Two on Jimmy Kimmel.
She vehemently noted that this was going to be her wedding song, for the imaginary wedding she has so thoughtfully planned out. Albeit easily the most flattering thing that a musician could hear about one of their songs from a fan, my curiosity was piqued about what it is that makes King Calaway so compelling – good looks and flawless vocals aside.
The band, most often noted for their similarities to One Direction and who credit their biggest influences as Thomas Rhett and Coldplay, recently travelled to Toronto for the first time. It goes without saying that when most people visit Toronto, they note more or less the same things: the weather is good (well, at least from mid-May to late September, give or take), poutine is delicious, the CN Tower is impressive, the people – so nice. What is surprising to many music fans, even to the members of King Calaway themselves, is just how big the burgeoning country music scene is here in Toronto and the lads are excited to make their mark as early pioneers of this new wave in popularity for country music in this great city.
“We have done a lot of touring around the States and it’s been incredible,” said Simon Dumas, the band’s pianist, “but it was a really nice surprise to come to Toronto and see people singing along to our songs. Really amazing.”
I hopped on a call with band members Caleb Miller, their lead guitarist and youngest member of King Calaway, as well as Simon. The two of this six-man band are also roommates and I could tell that there is big love and respect between them, despite what they recognize to be obvious differences – Simon’s English accent (originally from Gibraltar) does not fall deaf on Caleb’s Ohio-born ears, and he doesn’t fail to let him know so. Their playful dynamic is palpable.
King Callaways’s other members: Chris Deaton, Jordan Harvey, Chad Michael Jervis and Austin Luther also hail from different parts of the world – as far as Edinburgh and as near as Delaware. As I got to know them a bit more, I began to draw parallels between their diverse dynamic, and the city of Toronto: it seems that it’s their differences that make them so unique and is what brings them together.
Since you’re all from different places across the world and have varying life experiences, is travel something you look forward to while you’re on tour?
Yes, especially if it means we get to go outside of the States.” says Caleb.
On that note, you mentioned that Toronto has been your favourite places to visit so far. What did you like so much about the city?
“Oh yeah, it’s great,” says Simon. “It is beautiful, the people – they’re so diverse. So sweet and so welcoming. It absolutely made me feel cool to see how big country music is there.”
“Yeah, I know we’re not super far away culturally,” Caleb continued, “but is quite different, and it’s really awesome to see the country music to connect in that way. It’s kind of like a hidden passion.”
Do you have plans to come back here on tour?
“Nothing’s in the calendar as of yet, but as soon as we were on the flight headed back home we were like okay, we need to get back to Toronto.” said Caleb. “Yeah, we would love to come back,” Simon chimed in. “And for so much more than poutine.”
Yep, the poutine will get you. Simon, you used the word diverse when you described Toronto, which is exactly the word I’ve used to describe the different talents of your band. What is the major difference between each of the members of the band?
“Well…” Caleb begins, “Simon sounds a little different from me.” they both erupt in laughter. He then continues, “we’re all quite different but we share acute similarities that really bring us together and I feel like that’s our love for music. And although we’re from different places we can all teach other things and have this shared love for music, which feels like home for all of us and is something we can share with our fans.”
That’s great, and that’s definitely visible in your ever-growing social media following. How has that played a role for you?
“Social media is such a big component of success. It’s kind of like, you know a way to market ourselves and show our own personalities which people can relate to,” Simon begins. “It’s an awesome way to connect with fans who message us, and it’s a great way to follow-up and connect and be personable with them. And I think that’s the best part about our King Calaway family, is getting on social media after our shows and just replying to people who have reached out to us. It’s really an honour to be able to make that connection. We love that.”
And we love that for them. It’s truly only the beginning for these guys who will continue to tour across North America and into Europe over the next few months. Their full EP is set for release in the fall, and hopefully, I too will be able to find a wedding song of my own on it.