February 25th, 2020, Atlanta, GA / Giselle Ave. Media — Today, I’d like to share an exclusive Giselle Ave. interview with Caleb Minter, current member of Kanye’s Sunday Service Choir and rising independent singer and songwriter, residing in Los Angeles, California. Our Music Column on Giselle Ave. was created to shed light on the revolution happening right now in the music industry; where artists are committed to forging their own path as successful, independent music artists, with no labels or strings attached.
Meet Singer/Songwriter Caleb Minter
Originally from Bolivar, TN, Caleb Minter grew up as a shy kid that didn’t particularly enjoy being in the limelight. As a child, Caleb would often sing around the house, but not so much in public. Caleb is no stranger to music. Both of his parents sang in gospel groups– and his father still actively sings today, so it’s no coincidence that music has always been apart of his life.
I was born into music. – Caleb M.
Caleb grew up in the tight knit community of Bolivar, Tennessee with his mother, father, and older brother. When he was very young, about 3 years old, his parents divorced and it really impacted his future outlook on life. Although him and his brother would go to Mississippi to stay with their dad over the summer, it was still tough not having his dad in the house everyday.
Thankfully, Caleb’s grandfather was really instrumental in their lives and was also a positive male role model during his childhood. His grandfather worked at the school and would pick him and his brother up from school everyday, while his mother was at work. It also helped to grow up in a small community. His uncles were around, but there’s nothing that compares to a healthy Father/Son relationship, especially in the southern black community. As an adult, Caleb and his father are much closer now.
Every child needs both parents in the house, or else, it’s like there’s a missing link to the puzzle. – Caleb M.
Caleb was extremely close to his brother Clarence, and their relationship was a bond that could never be broken. Caleb shares that Clarence was practically his role model. Since they grew up in a small town, Caleb would always aspire to be just like his brother. If his brother got a new car, Caleb would go out and get the exact same one!
My brother really filled the void of my father not being in the home, although he was most definitely in our lives. – Caleb M.
As with any story, life’s trials and tribulations happen to help us become who were were called to be. In 2014, Caleb experienced the most tragic incident of his life, and it truly served as a turning point in both his personal life, and his career.
In 2014, Caleb’s brother was tragically murdered, in their hometown of Bolivar, TN. His brother also had a daughter, Caitlyn, and Caleb immediately felt responsible for keeping his legacy alive. Soon after his brother Clarence was murdered by a senseless act of gun violence, Caleb went on to launch the Men/Mothers Against Gun Violence Unity Movement, better known as the M.A.G.N.U.M. Caleb decided to combine his passion for music with his newfound advocacy to promote the end of gun violence. It was at this time when Caleb decided to take his music career seriously and began to soul seek, and seek God.
When Did You Fall In Love with Music?
Caleb grew up singing in the church. Caleb loved singing in church, but didn’t grow up listening to secular music. Caleb didn’t realize you could really make a living off of music until later in life, when he went to college. Caleb recalls the first time he sang in public, and this is when he fell in love with music:
My uncle had an anniversary at the church and my grandmother bribed me to sing in front of the church for $20 — I sang, “His Eye is On The Sparrow,” and I enjoyed the response. – Caleb M.
Caleb continued to dabble into music in various ways but went on to college at Middle Tennessee State University and studied Public Health with a Minor in Psychology. After graduation, Caleb moved to Georgia and was working his first — and last– traditional 9-5 at Northside Hospital.
Caleb auditioned to sing in the “B B Kings All Star Band,” and put in his two weeks notice in preparation of going on tour with this amazing group! But, the band had a change in management at the last minute and Caleb decided it wasn’t the right move to make at the time.
Caleb trekked out on his own and began pursuing music full-time, and never looked back. In 2015, Caleb released his first single, “Gone Too Soon,” in memory of his brother, Clarence. As a Singer, Songwriter, and Vocal Arranger, Caleb attributes much of his success to his faith, and listening to God’s voice that comes from within.
When asked what advice Caleb would give to someone looking to leave their 9-5 and pursue their art full-time, he suggests:
Spend time alone and stay connected to Source. God is the true source and that’s where we can see the power we hold, when we’re connected to God. Connect with the right people, if they aren’t serving you and it’s not positive– then cut it off.
Stay humble, at all times. – Caleb M.
Kanye’s Sunday Service
Caleb was invited to audition for Kanye’s Sunday Service Choir in Summer 2019, by his friend, Justin Hart, a former classmate he used to sing with in college. Caleb was in Atlanta at the time, and flew to LA in June 2019 to audition for the choir. Caleb got the invitation to join the choir on July 28th, 2019 and had to be in LA for rehearsal …. the very next day!
At first, Caleb was of course — elated to begin this new journey, but there were so many unknowns.
Where would I live?
Should I keep my main gig with the corporate band?
I was worried about home, and being so far away, but I knew it was the right move to make. – Caleb M.
In October 2019, Caleb got an apartment and officially moved to LA to pursue his dreams of being a music artist full-time. The Director of the Sunday Service Choir is Jason White, of White Thorne Productions and he serves as the day-to-day lead. Kanye comes in and listens to the music, and makes changes, as needed.
When asked what is it like to work with Kanye, Caleb shared:
It inspires me to work with Kanye, he is a true boss. He steps in the room and the room changes— it shifts. We (rising artists) want that kind of respect, we want that type of energy. He is a true genius at work.
He’s walking in His Purpose, no doubt. – Caleb M.
The Sunday Service Choir in-person is truly an experience. If you grew up in the church, you may be familiar with a certain “way” of praise and worship, but Kanye’s Sunday Service is completely different.
There’s so much freedom to praise and worship. It allows you to create the space you want, with God. – Caleb M.
Caleb travels weekly with the choir, but it’s an incredible return on time and energy invested because Caleb is able to see the fruits of his labor, right now. Above all, Caleb is truly inspired by it all. The Sunday Service Choir released an album, titled “Jesus Is Born,” available to stream everywhere.
Caleb’s story is truly inspirational and it’s just getting started. Caleb inspires other indie music artists to think outside of the box while trekking out on your own, full-time. Whatever you do, don’t give up.
What’s Next for Caleb Minter?
In addition to making the most of his journey as a member of Kanye’s Sunday Service Choir, Caleb plans to continue to release new music all of 2020. His latest single, “Put You On,” is now streaming everywhere and is a testament to his passion for creating soothing, soul music, inspired by his own personal journey.
Checkout a few questions I asked Caleb, to get to know more about the future of R&B, Singer/Songwriter, Caleb Minter:
Giselle: Who are your musical influences today? If you could pick 3?!
Caleb: I’m somewhere between the funk of Prince, the feeling of Michael Jackson, and the smooth feeling of Usher.
Giselle: Who do you want to work with?
Caleb: I would love to work with John Legend. He’s a storyteller, he is an EGOT Winner, he’s the ultimate artist. He’s always telling a story and is always making people “feel.” I would also love to work with Beyonce. She’s amazing and she’s talented and she’s 100% at performing 3-hour shows. I mean, who wouldn’t want to be able to perform at that level of excellence!
Giselle: What’s your sign?
Giselle: What’s your favorite hobby?
Caleb: I like working out, I like to bowl… I like to travel… I like being in nature, I’ve been planting and being out in nature and playing in the sun.
Honestly, I want to own an island one day.
Giselle: What keeps you going?
Caleb: My niece just turned 9, and she is my biggest inspiration!! If I’m doing shows in TN or GA, my niece is there. She is taking piano lessons now, and I really feel good about that. She also loves music.
Also, my mother, Ruby. My role is to work harder to make her happy and keep a smile on her face, especially since I’m her only living son.
I get my outgoing spirit from my mom!
Last piece of advice to anyone reading this post:
Caleb: We hold so much power, but we have to see that. God already gave us the promise, but it’s on us to walk in that, and to see that for ourselves.