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Chris Deaton, Caleb Miller, Chad Michael Jervis, Austin Luther, Simon Dumas and Jordan Harvey are King Calaway, the new country pop sensation that exploded onto the scene last year. They released their first EP then their debut album in the States, appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live! and the Late Late Show With James Cordon, and opened for Garth Brooks’ stadium tour, just for starters. Now the album, Rivers, is being released in the UK (on March 6th) and they’re about to perform at C2C Country to Country in the UK. Chris, Caleb, Chad and Austin are American, while Simon is from Gibraltar and Jordan hails from Scotland. We caught up with the American boys in London.
Hello King Calaway! Thanks so much for doing this for The American’s readers! You’re talking to a lot of your fellow Americans and they get where your country pop sound is coming from! Talking of which, where are you from?
Chris: I’m Chris Deaton and I’m from Nashville, Tennessee.
Caleb: Hey I’m Caleb Miller and I’m from Portsmouth, Ohio.
Chad: I’m Chad Michael Jervis, I’m from Wilmington, Delaware.
Austin: I’m Austin Luther, from Marshall, Minnesota.
All: And we are the Americans, the Avengers, team USA!
Do you all come from musical families?
Chris: I definitely do. Just a creative family. All my family is either doing plays or instruments or photography or videos. Anything creative my family is definitely into it.
Chad: Yeah definitely on my mom's side. My mom's side of the family was definitely big on performing and the arts, I think my great grandmother was a performer on Vaudeville back in the day and whenever we’d get together with our family in Ohio we’d just do massive sing-alongs, and dancing and stuff like that so music was a big part of my growing up in my family.
Caleb: Yeah my whole family is pretty musical. My mom led worship at a church when I was younger and my dad was in a rock band and he played bass so I saw what they did on stage and I was really drawn to that so I picked up on it.
Austin: My family likes music, I wouldn’t say they’re musicians. My grandma said she played the accordion and my mom sings in choir and stuff, my dad likes classic rock but other than that that’s pretty much it.
How did you all first meet?
Chad: We all kind of came together through our manager Robert Deaton. He was putting together a project and we all had a similar vision of creating this group that was big harmony based, all instrumental, with all of us playing our own instruments and singing as well, creating a sound that was kind of missing from music now that was pretty relevant back in the day. I met him when I was studying at Berkley, some people met him here in London and in Los Angeles as well and we all met through those mutual contacts. We all got together in a space in Nashville and tried to see if we could make this work and see if a band could be made of all of us coming together. Through that we all became a family, sort of, and we all became amazing friends. All of us moved down to Nashville to try to make this band work and try to make this as our career and our living. It’s been an amazing ride ever since.
2019 was the year everything kicked off for King Calaway. How does it all feel going from day one to where you guys are today? What is the change in attitude, does it feel surreal, does it feel justified, do you deserve it all? Tell us all about it.
Austin: Definitely surreal, I feel like we can pretty much take on anything now cause we were... well, I wouldn’t say we were thrown into situations, but they we were playing a stadium, that was a huge thing that not everyone does and it was the first time we’d done it. How do you prepare for that? You don’t really, you just need to be confident and go out and perform. Once you do that you’re like ‘OK, so we can take on whatever venue or challenge that comes our way. We now know we can accomplish pretty much anything.
Have you visited the UK before? What are your favourite bits of Britain?
Austin: I was lucky enough to be a session bass player playing for an artist, I was opening for The Vamps and so we got to travel all around the UK and it was a really amazing experience, we got to go up to Glasgow and also Northern Ireland and Dublin and all around England. It was really cool to experience that for the first time. It was my first time being over here and it’s just a blur of really cool food, amazing fish and chips, and curries - and haggis in Scotland! Everything was incredible. A really, really cool experience.
Chad: I’ve been here once before with the previous band and we played in Birmingham and Manchester, in Glasgow in Scotland, and also here in London. I remember one specific place in memory that was super fun, we stayed around Bethnal Green in London and there was this pub called The Old George that we were at basically every night and there was a live band playing. I was 20 years old at the time so it was the first time I was legally in a place to drink, that was pretty cool for 20 year old Chad. I absolutely love it here, I love spending as much time as I can out here whenever possible and it’s a beautiful spot.
Chris: This is my second time being here in the UK. Both times were with the band. I’d never left America until this band. My favourite part is the tube.
Caleb: Yeah actually before this band me and Chris had never been out of the country so it’s been super cool to experience new cultures and foods and people. It’s been great.
What do you miss about the States whilst traveling outside?
Chris: I always start to miss my bed, and I have a really good pillow, it’s called a mypillow, I really need to start travelling with it because I just miss it.
Chad: There’s nothing like an American toilet
Chris: That’s it, the pillows and toilets.
Chris: I mean we miss our families and stuff while we’re travelling but, like, mainly pillows and toilets!
Austin: Also when you’re crossing the street, I mean the chances of you being hit by a car over here are great, cause you just don’t know which way to look. It’s like the cars are coming from all over the place. You’ve got two options, you either get arrested in the US for crossing the road or you get run over in the UK.
Chris: It’s hard to really miss home though, it’s lovely here.
Is there one special item that each of you just can’t travel without outside of musical equipment - and obviously that pillow you were just talking about?
Austin: Noise cancelling headphones, that’s a big one.
Chad: I got an iPad Air for Christmas and now I can’t stop looking at it, watching shows and stuff, so just the essentials, noise cancelling headphones and a nice thing to watch some shows on.
Caleb: Melatonin is really helpful especially in a time zone like this where it’s off by just enough to really mess you up.
Austin: I always bring Star Spangled Banner with me cause you never know when you need to pull that out.
Can you tell me a few things of what you’ve got coming up in the next few months?
Chad: Yeah, so the album is out March 6th in the UK, C2C in London is the 13th to the 15th and then we’ll hopefully be back over here as soon as possible after that.
What is each of your favourite thing about being in King Calaway?
Caleb: My favourite thing is when Chad sings cause he’s a really good singer.
Chad: That’s so nice.
Austin: My favourite thing is the bass solo in ‘Obvious’ because when was the last time you heard a bass solo?
Chris: My favourite thing is when we play ‘Rivers’, that’s probably my favourite song of ours to play in a live setting and I feel like it really connects the six of us in a really nice way and we’re all super connected with each other when we play that song so it’s a really nice moment whenever we play it at a live show.
Caleb: A favourite thing of mine is travelling, I never left the country until this band so it’s great to travel the world and doing what I love.