Singer-songwriter Harrison Caldeira released a lot of music this past summer. He put out the tracks, “Man Up,” “Friends With Benefits and “Silence.” The multifaceted musician wrote, composed, and produced “Man Up,” but unlike “Friends With Benefits” and “Silence”, his new record fuses together soulful vocals with an electro-pop sound. Caldeira continues to highlight his honest lyricism with a catchy instrumental lead by his signature guitar riffs.
Reflecting on “Man Up,” Caldeira says, “This song is about trying to live up to someone else’s standards. It’s impossible. Throughout my life, I’ve been told to ‘buck up’ or ‘man up’ when I was being vulnerable with someone. And, that hurts and can make you doubt who you are. But, like the chorus at the end of the song, I’ve learned to redefine what I think of the phrase and make it my own. Because being vulnerable is being true to who I am. And I think men, especially, find that challenging, but it’s an inescapable part of being an artist and reality of being human.”
Toronto-based singer-songwriter Harrison Caldeira started creating music in his secluded home amidst his West-Indian family. He released his EP, The Equinox in 2017. The record focused more on an acoustic effort with intensely emotional lyrics praise for “sound[ing] like heartbreak”.
Influenced by his family’s love of music, his diverse background gave HarrisonCaldeira an evolving perspective which shaped his understanding of the world and inspired his writing. From living in New Zealand at a young age to living in France as a young man, crafting songs has grounded Caldeira throughout his life. Caldeira began dabbling with YouTube covers in 2008 and began performing locally. In 2018, Caldeira became a finalist in the Canadian Songwriting Competition as an unsigned artist as well as making the Top 100 for CBC Music’s Searchlight.
In 2011, Caldeira was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. After suffering from a relapse that left him without mobility in his hands or feet, he found himself unable to play the guitar. He dropped out of University, moved home, and spent endless days in hospitals trying to regain his strength. But the greatest loss was not having music in his life. Not having the ability to play, Caldeira quickly learned just how important music was to him. Determined, and by the grace of the universe, he gained feeling in his body again, learned how to play the guitar all over again, and adjusted his lifestyle to come back stronger than ever. After that, he knew he had to pursue music further.
Learn more about Harrison Caldeira in the following All Access interview:
What does a typical day look like for you? What do you have scheduled for the rest of today and this week?
Lately, my days have been pretty consistent, and I like that. I wake up, go to the gym, plan out a meal for the day and get ready to teach. When I get home, that’s when I spend time on my music. I find myself more creative at night. For the rest of this week, I’m also going to be planning my next trip—to Bali. I’m headed to an artist resort called Makalele Domes.
Now that we are in the latter half of the year, how has 2019 treated you? What are some goals that you have for yourself this year? How close are you to reaching them or did you already? What are you already excited about for 2020?
This year, I put all my efforts into creating and releasing Man Up, Friends With Benefits and Silence. I concentrated solely on that and have gotten such great reception from it. So, 2019 has treated me well! I’m beginning to get excited for 2020. I’m headed to L.A. and am ready to work with some new people and enter the next chapter of my life and career.
Growing up, how important was music in your life? Can you recall the moment when you decided that you wanted to be in this industry? Was it an easy or difficult choice to make?
Music has always been a focal point in my life. My father and brothers are musically talented, and it was always what brought our family together no matter what. I’m the youngest, so it was natural for me to pursue music as well. I recall watching my brother perform at a rock concert and the energy he brought to the stage was something I’d never seen before. That made me want to try performing as well. I think at the time, it was easy to make that choice, because I loved it. But you always think it’s easy if you’re not “in it” yet. Now, I’ve realized how much work and perseverance it takes, but the passion is still there, so it’s worth it.
Was there ever a time when you thought about doing something else? If you weren’t a musician today, what else could you see yourself doing? Would you be as fulfilled in life?
For sure, there was a time where I thought about doing something else. If I wasn’t a musician, I’d probably continue studying literature and end up teaching. I think it’s another great way to communicate ideas and address some of the complexities we face as humans, and that’s exactly what I want people to get out of my music anyway. Then again, I really do believe there’s something special about the way music can do that, so I think I’ll always come back to it in the end, whether for personal or career fulfillment.
What has been the biggest surprise so far about making music your career? What has been an unexpected or welcome challenge to it all? What has been the best part of it all?
The biggest surprise for me has been how versatile you have to be as a musician. It’s becoming increasingly difficult to only be a singer-songwriter, and for good reason. With so much accessible to us as musicians, we have to learn a lot of the back-end of the process to becoming a successful musician. That means producing, mixing, engineering and promotions. Even though this can be challenging, it has made me a well-rounded musician, and it’s an opportunity to put your career in your own hands.
Let’s talk about your newest single “Man Up.” What was the inspiration for this track? How would you say that it compares to your previous tracks?
The inspiration for this track was to break the mold of what it means to be a “man”. There have been many times when I’ve been told to hold in my emotions and avoid vulnerability. That experience made me want to redefine what the phrase actually means.
Comparatively, it’s way different from my other tracks. The listener can expect some flavors of R&B mixed in with my acoustic sound.
When do you plan on releasing more new music and a full collection of new songs?
I plan on releasing a new collection by Summer 2020.
Where can people see you perform next? Do you have any fall tour dates scheduled yet?
I don’t have any Fall tour dates as of yet since I’m still travelling and teaching in South Korea. But I have something exciting in the works for the new year, so stay tuned!
How do you think you have grown as a musician since you first started making music?
It’s been a learning process. When I started making music, I felt like it was something I would like to do. Now, it feels like something I need to do. I’ve settled into that and now I understand that need more. It’s easy to sound like everybody else. It’s hard to go against the grain and create something that’s true for you.
How do you feel about social media? What has social media done for your career so far?
Social media can be a great thing, but it can be tricky. Like I said before, you have to be so versatile as an artist and social media gives you the platform to connect with people. But there’s a lot of pressure to be online constantly and without error—or else you don’t exist apparently haha! I’ll admit that I go for periods at a time posting a lot, then drop off, because when I’m in a creative space, I find it difficult to stop, go online and show people that. Still, I admire people who can.
Who are some of your favorite artists or rather, what musicians have continued to inspire you and your music? Who would you absolutely love to work with in the future?
John Mayer continues to inspire me. I look at his career and see longevity but also authenticity—he’s always been true to his own path. I also think he’s been fearless and limitless in his collaborations with other artists. It would be an absolute dream come true to work with him one day.
If you had an unlimited budget and your schedule was free, what would your dream music video look like?
That’s a tough one! Honestly, I loved what Drake did with God’s Plan. He took his label’s budget and gave it to people in need. It felt sincere and I think these days there’s such a disparity in wealth, we should all feel a responsibility to lend a hand when we can. And it doesn’t have to be in some massive way that changes someone’s life forever, it can be as simple as making their day a little better. Human connection is an awesome thing and I’d love to be able to reach and help as many people as I can in 24 hrs.
Where would you love to hear a song of yours played?
If I could hear my songs on Tiny Desk: NPR, it would be a dream! I’d have to perform there too, and if they asked me, I would go crazy!
At the end of the day, what do you hope people take away from your music?
I hope people somehow relate to what I’m singing about. I hope it helps at least one person in some way. Music is supposed to reach us on a deeper level and bring us into an understanding of ourselves and the people or things that happen around us. So, if something in my music gives someone even a glimmer of that, that would be everything to me.
Would you like to share anything else about yourself or your music with our readers?
I want to say thank you for taking the time to listen to my music. With everything going on in the world, our attention is stretched thin these days, so it means so much to me that you have listened or read my words. So thanks for riding this wave with me, and stay tuned for more!