Q & A with Calvyn Cass
Singer-songwriter, Calvyn Cass, has begun dominating the music song with lyrical tunes to the beat of self-love and acceptance. The hit single, “Me, Myself, & I”, explores complicated relationships and self-acceptance winning over insecurities.
Here at 360 Magazine, we had the chance to have a Q&A with Calvyn. Read on to learn more about Calvyn Cass and his upcoming new music, WHITE FLAG.
Q- Could you tell us about the creative direction behind ME, Myself & I?
CC- ME, MYSELF & I was one of the first few songs; the third to be exact. It starts with the hook, but it definitely brought up old feelings. I started writing about feeling hurt by someone I loved, and it ended in being def reflection story. The video shows that with me performing to myself in all my different layers. It’s probably the fastest I ever wrote and recorded a song. From starting to put pen to paper with the first line to finishing recording the demo was probably an hour.
Q- What would you like fans to take away from ME, Myself & I along with the video?
CC-I think the main narrative is that is ok to embrace all feelings but not let them define you. You can look at yourself and be like, “it’s not all about you” and own the way you were but move on from it. On the flip side my new song coming out April 28th is WHITE FLAG and that’s about identifying navigating how to be there for others in the way they need you. It’s a song about someone I love having an internal battle that made them reactive to me. In that moment I felt that I could either be reactive myself in response or step back, realize this is not about me and just give love. Sometimes it’s hard to watch someone you love to behave in a destructive way, but you can’t force someone to see something they aren’t ready to see. You just gotta let them know you come in peace and that you’re there when they are ready to let you in.
Q- Who was your biggest musical inspiration in writing ME, Myself & I?
CC- I have to admit I struggled with this in the beginning. I have always had this immense pressure to associate myself with other artists in order to justify my music. When I wrote that record, I kept thinking of Beyoncé and her record from her first album. I have always been a Destiny’s Child fan and I loved her record, but I know it’s been done. More than trying to find inspiration I found myself avoiding doing what’s been done. She’s an icon and I think what got her there is doing her thing and owning it. I think I look to artists like Bey who have paved their own musical lane as career inspiration. I’m just gonna keep doing my thing. Some people will love it, but others won’t, and I’m cool with that now.
Q- Who would you like to collaborate with in the future?
CC- So many artists for so many different reasons. I love Lil Nas X because he represents what I am hoping to achieve as an artist. I think we would make insane music together. Miley is a powerhouse and if I could be on a record with her, it would be a wet dream. Demi is having this journey unfold before us all. There are so many parts of that journey that are familiar in one way or another and the message is something I would be honored to be a part of. Olly Alexander who recently starred in “It’s A Sin” is seemingly embarking on the next chapter of his career embracing his identity more. If I could be apart of any of these artistic moments that I believe will help change and shape the world I would count myself lucky as hell.
Q- Did your move from South Africa to Canada influence your music at all?
CC- I see the cultural shift I experienced at a young age as a stage in my life that shaped me. It was probably my least favorite time of my life. I was this small, effeminate boy when I moved. In South Africa I struggled fitting in with the hyper masculine molding boys are expected to be. In Canada I saw it as a chance to start over without anyone knowing my past struggles. That didn’t go as planned because I was then the weird immigrant who spoke differently and had a very different perception of the world. In each circumstance I tried fitting in and when it didn’t work out, I had to step back and try figure out why. I didn’t when I was young, but I see it now. It complex to break down in a short interview but now every time I write and record, I tap into the cultural difference and similarities. I want to be able to speak to as many people and be as relatable as possible. Everyone is navigating this complicated journey called life. The best we can do is try being empathetic and honest.
Q- What advice could you offer others as far as embracing the true way they see themselves?
CC- It’s no one else’s job to make you comfortable in your own skin. You will definitely feel like a victim of persecution because that’s a part of life; others will always try cut you down, so they stand taller. Appeasing others by changing who you are to make them comfortable will only hinder you on your path. It’s terrifying to stand in your truth and face scrutiny because it might cut deeper but I promise you, it did the opposite for me. When I let go of trying to impress everyone else was the first time, I felt like I could truly breathe. I released the vizard and accepted myself to find the pressure put on me was put on me by myself. I set the insane standards for myself from what I thought the people around me would feel more comfortable with. Here I am in my adult life realizing that if I had honored myself, I would have avoided a lot of sadness.
Q- Who are your musical inspirations?
CC- I’m inspired less by artists and more by the songs themselves. I love finding out who wrote a song and who produced it. Of course, the voice on a record can give me chills and bring me to tears. The way that voice shines come from all these other peoples’ talents and contributions to the music. That’s what inspires me. Paying attention to how sounds were created, layered and pieced together.
Q- You are co-founder of BRUSH Salon – do you plan to continue to pursue your career as a master stylist alongside your music career?
CC- I am. When I was in high school, I fully intended to pursue music. The world was different then and I let the people around me tell me that a gay boy with feminine features would never succeed in music. I always loved playing with my sisters hair when we watched movies. She hated it but let me anyways because it meant she could choose the movie. So, I am now at the top and have achieved so many of my goals in hair. I love it but I’ve felt like this part of me has been stuck in limbo. I can’t ignore it anymore and I want to pursue music. The world allows people to be more than one thing and I’m going to ride that wave.
Q- Outside of music and styling, what are your passions?
CC- Depends on the season. I love being outside in spring and summer. I’m one those dog lovers that sees my boys as my children, so I dedicate a lot of time to them. I love cooking and find it therapeutic to cook for my family and friends. I love being active, but my ultimate reset is to just spend a winter day in bed with snack watching movies or maybe an entire series… haha
Q- Looking ahead, what plans do you have in store for the remainder of 2021?
CC- Lots of music. I want to bring new music as much as it possible. I want to perform when I’m allowed to and introduce my music to more and more people. I’d love to collaborate with other artists when we are restricted from doing so.