Calibe
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Calibe

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If you've been to a Beenie Man or Kevin Lyttle concert, then chances are you've heard Calibe. A talented Caribbean singer who splits her time between her native Jamaica and Miami, she has made her mark in the industry as a back-up singer. But if her two EPs, 2003's First Draft and this year's Follow Me, are proof, she deserves to be heard on her own merits. Opening with a fantastic intro that finds her layering multiple a cappella parts, Follow Me is a solid introduction to her formula for "alternative reggae," or R&B pop music accented with fluid, rootsy vocal performances. She promoted the disc with a showcase concert at Power Studios this past June 1 and is following that up with an appearance at Purdy Lounge Thursday during a dread surf throwdown sponsored by Kulcha Shok Records. - Mosi Reeves, Miami New Times, Thursday, June 16, 2005


What do you get if you take the lyrical ability of India Arie, the vocal talent of Lauryn Hill, and the drop dead beauty of an Essence Magazine model and blend it with the right amount of musical production? You get the freshest breath of air to come out of Jamaica in a long time. This is certainly no disrespect to the numerous talented reggae and dancehall giants from “yard” but I would be lying if I didn’t say that things were starting to get a little stale. Enter Calibe, herself a veteran of the reggae and dancehall scene for nearly a decade. Some of you may be familiar with Calibe as part of legendary producers Sly and Robbie’s Taxi Camp while others may be more familiar with her as part of Beenie Man’s crew as his on stage singer on his most recent tours like Sting Miami, Reggae Sumfest and others. Still others might have seen her as a contestant, and ultimately a finalist on the 2002 Caribbean Music Expo Star Search.
Calibe is an artist that escapes the dated clichés often associated with artists hailing from the Caribbean. She has been featured recently on other artists’ releases such as Beenie Man’s single “You Babe” on his Tropical Storm album, Ghost’s album “Under the Moonlight”, Junior Kelly’s “Smile” and the latest Sly & Robbie compilation. She is in her own right a trailblazer on the Jamaican music scene in much the same way that Billy Ocean and later Heather Headley have been for the Trinidadian music scene.
Calibe has managed to seamlessly blend Jazz, Hip-Hop, Soul and Reggae into a wonderful sound that cannot be placed into one neat category on her first full length project titled “The First Draft”. On tracks like “Take Over” which is currently getting much love on the college and underground stations, we get introduced to her ability to flow and spit lyrics with the best of the dance hall artists.
Her “singjay” style is never over the top and rides nicely over the rhythm. On the mellow, passionate “Natty Dread”, she proclaims boldly her love for her “idren” with the locks against her daddy’s wishes singing “I fell in love with a Natty Dread/ If my daddy find out, him gonna kill mi dead /. "
On one of my favorite tracks, “Sweeter”, Calibe gets a chance to showcase her considerable vocal range and her unique vocal phrasing erasing any doubts that she is just another pretty face with talented producers. This song is definitely a feel good song. My other favorite on this album is her soulful remake of the classic Al Green hit, “Let’s Stay Together” done as a duet with the infamous Ghost. To really enjoy this one, light a few candles, pour the cognac, get the oils and your favorite someone and…well hopefully you can handle the rest on your own.
Believe me when I say that the whole album is tight. When this album drops later in the year, you definitely want to add this to your collection. This is a disc that you might want to consider having two of – one for the car and one for the house. For more information on Calibe, go to www.calibe.net
- Thomas Spann, whatagwaan.com, 2003


“…Calibe is definitely a star on the rise.”
Indi McLymont, The Weekend Observer, Jun 14, 2002


“Every now and then a new talent comes along that … seems to stand out from the crowd. Such is the diva-like talent of the Jamaican born Calibe, who is by no means a new artiste, but is just coming into her own as a very gifted song-crafter.”
I. Jabulani Tafari, Rootz Reggae Vol 6 #3, 2003


“What do you get if you take the lyrical ability of India Arie, the vocal talent of Lauryn Hill, and the drop dead beauty of an Essence Magazine model and blend it with the right amount of musical production? You get the freshest breath of air to come out of Jamaica in a long time… Enter Calibe. Calibe has managed to seamlessly blend Jazz, Hip-Hop, Soul and Reggae into a wonderful sound that cannot be placed into one neat category…”
Thomas Spann, http://www.whatagwaan.com/biogs/calibe.htm


“Calibe uses her unique voice with grace and poise to mix dancehall, reggae, soul, jazz and hip hop…”
Karyl Walker, Jamaica Observer, Nov 7, 2003


“She gives us original introductions to subjects as she reveals vocals that are reminiscent of Sade, sometimes tying in the smooth and fast-moving pace of Bone Thugs N Harmony. She does this while still keeping a reggae vibe.”
Shanique Palmer, Observer TeenAge writer, Feb 22, 2005


“Calibe, one of two solo female artists on the lineup performed her solo-set in California… she stepped out into the spotlight and held her own introducing the crowd to her unique neo-soul reggae.”
Tafa, Feb 2005, http://www.afiwi.com/vibes/events/2005/raggamuffins/


“There is a singer on the horizon set to take her place as a reggae superstar. She is no other than the smooth singing Calibe.”
Dave Lindo, X News, Aug 7, 2002


“Jamaican singer Calibe has a very unique distinction. She was the only Jamaican to participate in the Billboard R&B / Hip Hop Conference Awards held in Miami Beach, Florida.”
Jamaica Gleaner Entertainment, Aug 22, 2003

“Whoever said that Jamaica doesn’t possess talented female artistes must be living under a rock. Check out singer Calibe and you will see what I’m talking about.”
Kevin Jackson, The Daily Observer, Aug 6, 2002


“…there still seems to be some hope out there as the most eye catching and impacting performances were the most original ones… Among them (was) Calibe, who can at best be described as explosive and dynamic…”
Aisha Medina & Tony Muhammad, Urban America Magazine, September 2003, Vol. 2, 11th Edition


“Calibe is definitely well on her way to being a star; her potential is obvious.”
PartyInc.com, Oct 1, 2002


“There are not really any weak tracks on Smile, though … the nice combination track "Take Me There" featuring a fine female singer named Calibe, (is a) particular standout.
Rick Anderson, All Music Guide, 2005, http://www.mp3.com/albums/590842/reviews.html
- Various


TALENTED female singer, Calibe, is presently gearing up for the big impact her debut album, The First Draft, is expected to create. Calibe's solo debut in the business of popular music, came late last year via Natty Dread, a single produced by Sly and Robbie.
Since the release of Natty Dread, the female artiste has experienced an increase in popularity and has enjoyed performing on a few major international music events.
In August this year, Calibe was the only Jamaican entertainer to perform on the Billboard Hip Hop and R& B Conference held in Miami Beach, Florida. Last year Calibe signed on as a harmonising vocalist for Dancehall star Beenie Man on his Tropical Storm tour. Since then she has accompanied the 'Dancehall doctor' on concerts in 40 American states, the Caribbean, and Europe.
"This has allowed me to see half the world. I am no stranger to the stage," said Calibe at the same time suggesting that she was ready for the big stages and bright lights.
According to the singer, her debut album, which is produced by Delroy Cowan-former operator of the Coney Park Amusement Centre, offers a different kind of music.
"My music is uniquely Jamaican but distinctly international. I have drawn my influences from a plethora of popular music," the 22 year-old entertainer told Splash.
The quality of production and variety of musical styles that are included on the nine singles offered on The First Draft, are in truth above average, and it is clear that this artiste is prepared to delve into the unknown and offer music that is distinctly different. Another feature of the album is that all the rhythm tracks included on the album are originals.
Calibe uses her unique voice with grace and poise to to mix dancehall, Reggae, soul, jazz and hip hop on The First Draft.
The former student of the Immaculate Conception High School and Campion College is now at the ripe age of 22 and realised her talent at school fetes before becoming a member of the female quartet Emerge.
After two years Emerge split up and Calibe along with another former Emerge member, started to sing as the duo, Girlfriends. This association also lasted two years and in Calibe's own words, "Now the cheese stands alone."
Even though she has been involved in the entertainment business for eight years and by experience, is aware of the hurdles women are required to clear in order to be successful popular entertainers, Calibe is undaunted and remains steadfast in her quest to make to the top of the hill,
"I want to do everything and be everything," the good-looking singer told Splash. - Karyl Walker, Jamaica Observer, Nov 2003


Xxtreme Entertainment had the pleasure of interviewing the fabulous and talented Calibe. We encourage you to take a few minutes to check out what this young songstress had to say, you won't be disappointed.

Also check out her web site at calibe.net, we particularly enjoyed her media centre and journal!

Where did you grow up and where were you educated?

I grew up in Kingston, Jamaica with both my parents, an older and younger sister, and always a dog or 2. Never a cat. We moved around a lot, or so I hear. I started out in New Kingston, moved to somewhere named Huntsdean, then Constant Spring in 2 different places, then to Coopers Hill, then Liguanea, then Shortwood, so recapping is kinda crazy, but I guess I’m an authentic town girl if I ever heard of one. I went from prep to high school at Immaculate, then Campion for 6th form, then to Utech to get my Bachelor’s Degree in Architectural Studies where I graduated with upper Second Class honours. My favourites have always been art and language. I went to Architecture School because I wanted to do something with art, but make it a little more functional and practical. It was a good experience...then I just got sick of it. Writing, I never get sick of. I don’t always get it right, but I know I’m happy to get up tomorrow and try to fix it or make it better.

Who were your strongest influences in music while growing up?

I will venture to say Anita Baker and Stevie Wonder. Anita was more because my mother constantly had her records playing, and Stevie because he had a melody in his voice that moved me from day 1. My parents didn’t much listen to Jamaican music unless it was on the radio so I didn’t start getting into Dance Hall ‘til I was about 14. Then it was the regular Beres, Capleton, Beenie Bounty and Buju. Funny the selection hasn’t changed much in the last many years. As a female icon in my life, I’ll have to say Lauren Hill when she was miseducted, before she became Miss Educated. I loved how she fused music styles without making them sound washed out or fake. That album to me was a beautiful orgy, the kind of cross breeding that brings forth musical children that people appreciate like they appreciate Halle Berry.

Does your own life heavily inspire your work?

My life inspires my work in so far as I have to be me. I might do something cute or rude or conscious or sexy, but the approach has to be one that makes me comfortable. I’m a pretty circumspect type of person when it comes to my public persona so I wont do anything in public that I wouldn’t do in front of my parents. I’m different in my own space of course. I write sometimes based on personal experience, but often on things I’ve imagined. I’m not into love stories too much because I find it’s been overdone, though it never gets tired, and I have to work my brain too hard to find words to describe something I’ve not often felt outside of friends and family. Everything else is just my opinion or my perspective or me trying to find a cute way to say something I might not otherwise be too concerned with but that might be an interesting topic.

I read a lot now, mainly mystery novels, because the authors paint such fantastic scenery with the script. I love to write and I love to paint pictures with words. I like it that many times when I write a song someone will hear it and tell me they have an idea for the video. I know I wont have too many videos right now but it’s nice to give people their own individual one that they see through their mind’s eye anyway.

Most people know you from your work with the Innocent Kru in "Esposa" and the ensuing video, but tell us about your earlier work?

Actually, most people now know me based on the fact that I toured the north western hemisphere with Beenie Man for almost a year and a half. Long before then I was with a female group called Emerge, then one called Girlfriends.

We used to sing at night clubs and the occasional hotel. While with Girlfriends I was featured on the VP compilation Strictly the Best Vol. 26. We covered Macy Gray’s I Try but noone ever knew who we were. Since day 1 - 8 years ago - I’ve worked with Sly and Robbie so that’s my home base. I’ve recorded numerous songs with them. It was actually through them that I got involved with the Beenie Man project.

Tell us about your current projects?

In Jamaica, I believe my song Take Over is getting some airplay, hopefully that will pick up a little more when the video gets sent down in a few weeks. Otherwise, in the recent past I’ve been featured on projects such as Ghost’s CD ‘Under the Moonlight’, Innocent Kru’s CD ‘Innocent’, ‘Sexy Lady Explosion’ with Beenie Man, Beenie Man’s ‘Tropical Storm’ CD, and most recently Junior Kelly’s ‘Smile’ on a track called Take Me There. I’ve just come out of studio with Kevin Lyttle working on vocal arrangements for a few of the tracks on his album. In Florida my most popular song is Natty Dread, a Sly and Robbie production, that g - www.xxtreme-entertainment.com, Jan 2004


Every now and then a new talent comes along that for some unknown reason seems to stand out from the crowd. Such is the diva-like talent of the Jamaican born Calibe, who is by no means a new artiste, but is just coming into her own as an very gifted song-crafter with rich and endearing vocals. She has clearly grown musically and otherwise in the seven years since she first ventured into the Taxi camp of the legendary Sly & Robbie. Her present style is a refreshing and unique multi-category fusion of Reggae, Dancehall, Jazz, Hip Hop and Soul/R&B. Previously in the shadows, Calibe caught a well deserved break when she became a finalist in the 2002 Caribbean Music Expo Star Search.

After having recorded and co-written the Sly and Robbie produced track "You Babe" with Beenie Man, Calibe has spent the last year touring as a back up singer with the DJ. She featured with him on Virgin promotional tours through the US and Europe, showcasing her talent on such prestigious stages as Soul Train and Showtime at the Apollo. She also appeared on widely broadcasted UK and European television and radio programs including CD UK and The Jules Holland Show. Calibe featured on the Shocking Vibes produced "Tropical Storm Tour", hitting nearly every state in the US and several cities in Canada.

Calibe has been receiving rave reviews for her debut album fittingly entitled, 'The First Draft'. The CD showcases a collection of songs from Calibe's recent musical history, including 'Natty Dread', the Sly and Robbie production which gained her acclaim in Jamaica in early 2002, and 'Let's Stay Together' a duet with Ghost covering the Al Green classic. A serious big up to all the producers such as Nottz, SA-RA Creative Partners, Baby Paul and Mike Risko, and Kwame 'K:L Mill' Holland who worked on "First Draft". It is indeed an excellent release: a low-budget production that sounds like a million.

In the intro to the "First Draft" Calibe sings: "Let me introduce myself. I'm the first born of Clover. I've got plans to take over. I used to write poems but now I write songs. I believe that wherever I am is where I belong. I take what I have and I make what I want. Haven't got more than strong will and talent to flow. But I believe that one day I will be all that I can be…." That tells you all you really need to know about Calibe. That she's highly motivated and has abundant amounts of get up and go energy.

Calibe is certifiably one of the hardest working Rootz performers, male or female, in terms of taking care of her own promotions. As she makes clear in another of her songs, "Grimy": "We nuh cater if ah rain or shine. 'Cause any time if I got something to do I'm gonna be there…. Anybody in my way better beware. I only want to lay some tracks and set some stash. There's a lot I've got to do before I pass.… My crew is like a pride of lions. Trying to stomp down Babylon one one to Zion…."

Calibe is pure creativity, consciousness and light. You can feel it in her aura and you can hear it in her voice and in tracks like the cool and breezy "Sweeter", the sunny and carefree "Days In June" and the Afromantic Lovers Rock track, "Dance". It is no overstatement to say that Calibe has the potential to become Jamaica's own Lauryn Hill or India.Arie in terms of her lyrical creativity and vocal delivery. In recent years she has earned a Bachelor's Degree in Architecture, but her primary focus has been on becoming a recognized writer and vocalist.
- I Jabulani Tafari, Rootz, Reggae and Kulcha Magazine


Discography

'You Babe' w/ Beenie Man/Tropical Storm (Virgin Records CD) 2002

'Walking on Sunshine' ft. Elephant Man/Sunlight Rhythm (VP Records CD) 2004

'Take Me There' w/ Junior Kelly/Smile (VP Records CD) 2004

'Let's Stay Together' w/ Ghost/Under the Moonlight (Artists Only CD) 2003

'It's Got to be You' & 'This Aint a Love Song' w/ Heath Hunter/Urban Warrior (TAO Music CD) 2004

'L.O.V.E.' w/ Beenie Man/Sexy Lady Rhythm (VP Records/Big Yard CD) 2003

'Esposa' & 'How You Wanna Live' w/ Innocent Kru/Innocent (VP Records CD) 2002

'Murderer' w/ Sly & Robbie/Tablas (VP Records CD) 2001

'Every Time it Rains'/Lover's Bash (VP Records CD) 2001

'I Try' w/ Girlfriends/Strictly the Best (VP Records CD) 2001

"Follow Me" (EP) 2005

"The First Draft" (EP) 2003

"World Peace" w/ Beenie Man (Nitty Gritty 7") 2003

"Nah Go Cry" w/ Beenie Man (Pow Pow 7") 2003

Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

Calibe according to journalist Michael Edwards –
“Imagine what might have happened if Angelique Kidjo and Me’shell Ndegeocello grew up on reggae, dancehall and pop rather than classic R&B, funk and jazz. Take that vibe, add a sliver of Damian "Junior Gong" Marley and spike the whole thing with a swatch of unforced, even laid-back, intensity and you begin to get a sense of what Calibe brings to the musical table.”

Calibe according to Calibe –
“Some of a lot of things, but always reggae.”

Not a diehard fan of any specific type of music, but a patriotic Jamaican at heart, Calibe constantly flips her style so that each recording becomes a mélange of musical genres. Her stories are poignant and relatable. Her vocal approach blends R&B/rock/reggae with the sing-song reggae/rap style Jamaicans call ‘sing-jay’. She is often compared to India.Arie and Lauryn Hill for writing vibe and spiritual energy; her most beloved musical role model is Stevie Wonder.

To her credit, she has spent over a year opening for Kevin “Turn Me On” Lyttle, 2 years touring with Beenie Man “King of the Dancehall”, collaborated with reggae/dancehall staples including Elephant Man, Junior Kelly, Ghost and the Innocent Kru and gone as far as Germany to be featured on Heath “Revolution in Paradise” Hunter’s second studio album in the company of Damian “Junior Gong” Marley, Sly and Robbie, Stephen Marley and Capleton. She has been produced by A-listers on the international music scene including “Riddim Twins” Sly and Robbie, Kwame Holland, Salaam Remi, KNS Productions, TAO Music and Troy Taylor. She has appeared with major artists on television shows including ‘The Apollo’, ‘Soul Train’, MTV’s ‘TRL’, BET’s ‘106 and Park’, ABC’s ‘The View’, ‘The Jules Holland Show’ and ‘CD UK’, and in concert on stages including Sting, Sumfest, Jingle Ball, the Bob Marley Festival (Orlando), the Raggamuffins Festival and the Billboard R&B Hip Hop Conference.

She’s come a long way since the days of cover singing in Jamaican night clubs and hotels with girl groups Emerge and Girlfriends.

Calibe was born and raised in Jamaica. Her early musical influences came in the form of her mother’s Anita Baker and Michael Bolton cassette collection. Later the installment of VH1 and MTV access meant that artists from Tina Turner to Duran Duran came within her experience. By the time she got into dancehall in her early teens, she already had a hodge-podge of musical influences.

Though pragmatism prevailed and education came first (Calibe has a BA in Architecture) music never was too far in the background. The 2002 Caribbean Music Expo Song Competition where she became a finalist in 2002, gave her the platform to be introduced to mentors including Frank Liwall of the Royalty Network, who was instrumental in connecting her with many of the US producers she has worked with, and Clyde McKenzie of Shocking Vibes Entertainment, instrumental in her inclusion on Beenie Man’s Tropical Storm album at the starting point of her international career.

Her face and voice are now familiar to thousands of college students, club and concert goers and internet surfers across the US, Canada, the Caribbean and Europe. Her ultimate goals – worldwide visibility and influence, philanthropy, and the upliftment of the spirit of humanity (method of achievement still under development). With good looks, undeniable presence, an engaging sound and a sense of moral responsibility Calibe has all the hallmarks of a legend in the making.