Above: 📷 Cheryl Folland
By Arts Editor Cheryl Folland
On February 10, listening to Caleb Hart and The Royal Youths set up for soundcheck, at The Queens, and planning their two short sets, their chill vibe was already spreading. As each person shouted ideas, “we can do that” was the answer. In between last-minute decisions, I had the opportunity to learn what life is like while touring incessantly.
You’ve been touring non-stop, how do you keep centered on the road?
Caleb: I am healthier now than when I first started. Learning not to indulge in everything that’s offered to me. I don’t mean alcohol and drugs, that’s not my jam, but unhealthy food. Realistically though, I’d have to say if it wasn’t for my faith, I probably would’ve killed myself.
Is your suitcase becoming home for you?
Caleb: It has been my home for years now. I’m always jetlagged, yet, somehow, I am functional and engaged. It’s beyond a blessing having these folks with me. The Royal Youths are the most amazing humans. And they’re amazing at what they do. Some of the best guys you’ll ever meet.
How is playing in Nanaimo different than other small venues? Caleb: The audience is always very appreciative. It’s harder to get into the Nanaimo scene at first, because it’s about who you know, but once you’re in there, the crowds are very attentive.
What’s on your playlist right now?
Caleb: (Laughs) Not really anything. With all of my tour dates, I spend my down time in airports and sleeping. I get about three to four hours of solid sleep on average a night, but (pulls out phone) right now, Protoje, you should look him up.
What advice would you offer other artists?
Caleb: Make sure your intentions are in the right place. It’s more work than you’d ever imagine, and it’s easy to get lost without priorities.
Lastly, what’s in store for you short term and long term?
Caleb: Touring Australia, Western Canada, Trinidad, and Tobago, now and forever. Right now, The Royal Youths and I are recording an EP and I have a solo one coming out, launching this summer. Long term, life stuff—I want to eventually get married and have kids, you know, but, ideally, I’d like to get down to 40 or 50 shows a year, instead of 450 shows.
Humble and heartfelt, Caleb engaged in a high energy performance with The Royal Youths. When the group wasn’t on stage, they spent their time dancing on the floor of The Queens with patrons. All feet were on the floor, leaving empty chairs and jackets, as Reggae spilled out on to the street. Cheers of “one more song” and lengthy applause foreshadow further success.
To learn about Caleb and upcoming tour dates, visit: iamcalebhart.com.