Rising music artist Caye has a hustle that is unparalleled. Who else can score collaboraitons with the likes of Wiz Khalifa while slurping on ramen noodles from his USC dorm room? Currently enrolled at USC Thornton of Music’s Pop Music Program, this Boston native has been heralded by Complex magazine and Yahoo as an artist to watch having already made noise in 2016 with well over five million streams on Spotify with single “Coma.” More recently, his single “Easy,” the aforementioned Wiz Khalifa collab, is a breezy summer track that is a perfect anthem for the upcoming season.
We had a chance to chat it up with Caye about his flourishing career, his debut album Pink Tree Paradise, and much more!
I see you’re an LA head! We’re kind of neighbors. I live like five minutes away from the USC campus.
I’m actually moving out of the USC housing today to head into Studio City. Heading into the valley!
Warmer weather! That’s what’s up. So, tell us about getting Wiz to be on your track for single “Easy.” Personally, I love it. It has this really chill vibe that’s perfect for spring-summer. How did all that come about?
A year ago ago my manager got me a meeting with Wiz. We chilled, played some music for each other. Six months later we have this new song. It came about pretty organically.
Why did you feel he was the perfect artist to collaborate with for this particular track?
His whole vibe fits well with what we were working towards. The connection was there.
So, your debut album Pink Tree Paradise is coming out. How does the album encapsulate all things Caye. How does it reflect your vision as an artist?
My whole I’ve been searching for this chill-happy, upbeat rhythmic style. I worked towards it forever. I started playing piano when I was three years old and I learned a classical style. I switched over to the drums. I started learning folks, reggae, and jazz, then I picked up the steel drums and learned more calypso, Caribbean-feel music. From there, I got into hip hop and sang and produced. I got to my first year of college and my roommate is my producer! He had also come up on the same thing with learning jazz and production in high school. WE met and put our minds together.
You’ve mentioned classics. Anyone who was a major influence musically growing up?
My biggest influence was Bob Marley. On the jazz sign there is Coltrane and Miles Davis. Then, overall, I love Michael Jackson. I mean, the list goes on. There’s Childish Gambino and Kendrick Lamar.
I know it’s like picking babies but do you have a favorite track off the debut album? This question tends to be difficult for most artists.
I think it switches every week. I’d say “Swisher Sweet” (featuring Rosy). But like I said it switches every week.
Some artists have crazy stories recording albums like locking themselves away in some remote location until their work is done. Are there any similar stories for you?
We made the whole album in my room in Boston. It was over the course of four months and locked ourselves away basically, me and my producer.
Talk about being on the road because you’ve been touring with Somo. Describe what makes a Caye performance unique.
We’re on the road with Somo. The one thing I heard over and over is people love our live instruments. My producer has played piano for over ten years now. He plays live during the show and I play the steel drums at the shows while singing and rapping.
Of course, you’d be biased to your home but were there any cities you performed in you absolutely loved?
Boston is always going to be my favorite cities because it’s my hometown. Going on tour I would say Portland, Austin, and San Francisco.
Have you been to those cities yourself yet? I know musicians tend to love those music crowds, especially Portland.
That was the first time I went! The food and vibe were incredible. We got lucky because the weather was perfect as well.
Let’s talk upcoming singles “Top Shelf” and “With U.”
We got those over the course of four or five months. “Top Shelf” we started in our college dorm and is all about getting out of school and getting ready for the summer. It was one of the songs that shaped the rest of the album and gave it direction. “With U” came in the beginning of last summer. We had two songs done and were pressed for time because we had just a few months before going back to LA for other promo stuff. We stopped trying to make a type of song and just messed around with elements and “With U” came about.
Here’s a fun one: what does Caye hope to accomplish in his career? This is just the debut album, but looking ahead, what does Caye want to get done?
I want to accomplish as much as possible. Making a difference and changing the world for the better is the main thing. That’s why I did this in the first place. Back in fifth and sixth grade, I started realizing what death and all that was. It was scary because you think about what life really is. I found a way to cope with it and motivated myself to leave a mark. When I’m gone I’ll still be here through music. That’s been my motivation ever since.