Riding the wave: An interview with musical artist Joey Calderaio
By Denise Marsh
Most people could not imagine a world without music. For me, music has blessed me with special people and unforgettable experiences. Live music is typically offered at venues in the evening on Fridays or weekends. However, Premier Café in Wellington has a music series that displays musical talent from local musicians on the first Saturday of every month. Hence, I was at the “right place” and at the “right time” to meet the amazing Joey Calderaio.
Spilling the Beans
Joey was actually buying freshly-ground coffee and I was in line behind him. He looked like any typical weekender getting their “cup of Joe” (Pun intended). I was surprised to see him sitting at a designated area with his guitar and other musical accoutrements. It was exhilarating to see how Joey’s tropic vibe perfectly complimented that of the relaxing café – a marriage of great sound and impeccable location. I was fortunate to be able to listen to everything from Amy Winehouse to Maroon 5 and even some Reggae covers. It was then that I realized I was already looking and listening to my next article.
Joey Calderaio is a musician, visionary and a songwriter with a humble and Hamish personality. In fact, he is more interested in connection with his audience than receiving kudos and praise. The first song that I heard Joey sing was a wonderful rendition of the song, Valerie (a song written by the English Indie Rock band, The Zoltans and later covered by Mark Ronson with lead vocals by Amy Winehouse. It is a captivating tune and Joey nailed it. With Joey’s brand new single, “Wave of Life” just coming out a week ago, it is the perfect time to pay homage to the man behind the music.
AW: Tell me a little about yourself. Where are you from?
JC: I was born and raised in South Florida. I lived in Pennsylvania for one year as a child, but other than that, I’ve resided in Palm Beach County my entire life.
AW: When did you first know you were going to be a musician? Who has inspired you along this journey?
JC: Growing up, my grandpa always played sing-alongs at family get togethers on the Banjo or Piano. My brother sings and plays guitar. He was the one that showed me the majority of the music I play today. He’s always been my biggest inspiration for pursuing music. I started learning guitar around the age of 13 and soon after started a band with my neighborhood friends. We played some local shows and eventually split. From that point on, I knew that I wanted to continue playing music.
AW: While perusing your Instagram account I noticed a great passion for nature. I have seen a similar “passion” interwoven in your music. Has this been a major motivation in your writing? Please enlighten us.
JC: Absolutely. I start every morning by taking my dog for a walk around a nearby lake to freshen my mind for the day. When I’m feeling small or insignificant, I liked to aid that by being outside. I’ve always had a deep respect for the environment and try my best to live by that, though I could always be better.
AW: Would you describe your musical “style” as mostly Reggae? I have heard a lot of this genre in your repertoire. But I have also heard you play a range of covers from Billy Joel to Maroon 5 to modern day hits.
JC: I love may different genres of music, but tend to gravitate towards Reggae. With Reggae music there is a message that is deeper than most genres – it focuses on unity, oneness, and social and political change. I’ve always felt connected with these topics.
On another note, I grew up listening to many styles of music from Classic Rock, Punk, to R&B. This music is ingrained in me so I still love to cover the occasional Billy Joel, The Eagles, or Stevie Wonder tune. Not to mention, The Maroon 5 and Bruno Mars hits tend to bring people to the dance floor!
AW: What has been the greatest accomplishment in your musical career and the greatest challenge?
JC: The greatest accomplishment in my musical career has easily been the release of the Moving Mountains EP, containing 6 original songs that I had been writing for years. For so long I doubted myself when it came to original music, constantly thinking that it wasn’t good enough or that people wouldn’t like it. Eventually I came to grips, set a release date, and promised myself I would accomplish my first project as a solo artist. That project was extraordinarily special to me because I had the opportunity to work with one of my favorite musicians – Ted Bowne of Passafire – who produced the EP and even sang a feature verse on the track “Rise Up (Remix).”
The biggest challenge of my career has been struggling with burnout and finding the balance between work and play. I ‘m constantly working on multiple projects at once and it’s hard for me to find balance at times. Many of my relationships have suffered because of it. This is an area of my life I hope to get better at.
AW: How would you describe your work ethic?
JC: I want to tour the world playing my music to people singing along and I want to share the message of my music so badly. I know that in order to achieve these goals I need to work harder and smarter every day. I’m a passionate and driven worker. I know I’m that way because of my father and my experience in Martial Arts. I plan to keep going until I feel I’ve made it.
AW: A “little birdie” told me that you have exciting news to share…Please tell us about your new music video coming out for the single “Paradise” (with Sierra Lane) and your brand-new single that just came out on July 2nd.
JC: Yes! Sierra Lane and I have been collaborating with Roots Deep Productions on a new music video for our single “Paradise”. It’s been such a pleasure working with the both of them and I’m stoked for the release of the video. I felt this song was very visual and a music video seemed like the right route to go with it. Stay tuned!
On July 2nd my new single “Wave of Life (feat Ballyhoo!)” was released. I’m super excited for this release because Ballyhoo! has been a band I’ve looked up to for many years. I first saw them live in 2011 at Guanabanas; right around the same time I started my first band. That night deeply inspired me. The opportunity to collaborate with them on a song makes it feel like a full circle.
AW: What is the Mountain High Vibes Festival? You had mentioned this event in passing and it sounded exciting!
JC: The Mountain High Vibes Festival is on July 24th of this year and is a backyard festival in Midvale, Utah. We’re stoked for this even not only because we’ll be able to travel to Utah for the first time, but also because we’ll be sharing the lineup with some amazing artists such as Ted Bowne (who I mentioned previously), Thrive, and Aaron Wolf. We’re so excited for this!
AW: Please name three of your favorite covers that you have performed.
JC: I released a Reggae version of “Mad World” by Tears for Fears earlier this year and thought that was a really fun project. Not to mention, that song is very relevant given the times we’re living in. The Reggae spin on it gave it sort of a different vibe than the original.
“Movin Out” by Billy Joel is a classic that I’ve performed with the band for about 7 years now. Playing that tune never gets old and always brings me back to doing yard work while listening to music as a kid.
“Use Me” by Bill Withers is another classic that I’ve performed with my full band for years. That song is just so groovy and fun. Plus, we always jam and sort of improvise when we play that track. It’s cool to watch the guys shine on the solo section during it. Also, we have syncopated hits that always sound really tight.
AW: Have you ever written a song that perfectly epitomized your life, a specific philosophy or goal? Which would be “worthy” of this title?
JC: Great question-this one made me think…Yes, and the song that comes to mind is “Right in Front of You.” My music is just for myself as well as it is for others to enjoy. I often feel lost or have trouble looking on the brighter side of things. Music has helped me during those times. “Right in Front of You” is a track that is about already having the tools necessary to be happy. So many people (including myself) look to the external factors to be fulfilled. We often think “I won’t be happy until I have this or that” when in actuality all we need is already right in front of us. Living in the present moment is something I continue to strive to do, and that song kind of encapsulates my thoughts on that.
AW: How can we hear more of you (without stalking or course…lol)? Please provide us with an upcoming schedule and any social media in which you are affiliated.
JC: If you’d like to see more of me, my address is 555…(both of us started laughing)…Only joking… I perform about 5 times a week either as an acoustic act or with the full band, pretty much all-around Palm Beach County. My calendar is always updated on website and I try my best to post upcoming shows on my Instagram and Facebook. My original music can be found on all streaming platforms wherever you listen to music like Spotify, Apple Music, and YouTube, and so on. I hope you find some tracks you enjoy and I look forward to seeing you at a show soon (I am smiling ear to ear). Thanks for tuning in to this interview and thanks, Denise, for having me!
Follow this link to hear Joey’s music or to catch him at upcoming events:
Someone to Watch…
I look forward to attending one more of your shows as well Joey, and I expect to get a good seat (just joking)an autograph and the “bag of donuts” emblem (but you’ll need to go on Instagram to find out about the sticker). New music can become old and treasured music and that’s the exact feeling I am getting about Joey’s powerful effect on his fans. Have a good listen to Joey Calderaio as this artist will definitely be riding a “wave of life” and jamming to the top of it!