Harlem's Caleb Hawley is an American soul singer, songwriter and performer. Like savvy throwback crooners Mayer Hawthorne and Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings, Hawley channels early Stevie Wonder and other Motown sounds into a complete, magnetic package.
Raised in Minneapolis by a family of preachers and therapists, Hawley’s family fueled his on-stage charisma and perceptive, witty lyrics. “Growing up in an a capella church, we didn’t have instruments. It forced everyone to learn how to sing harmony,” Hawley says. “We mostly sang older hymns, which is probably what drew me to gospel and eventually soul music.” Hawley's grandfather hooked him on an early Ray Charles record, leading him into the fertile soul music of the ’60s and ’70s.
Hawley spent his early 20s touring the country with only an acoustic guitar and his dog, Fargo. “There's no place I'd rather be than on a stage in front of people wanting to hear music I've created,” Hawley says. In those years, Hawley racked up hundreds of gigs, along with multiple songwriting awards for the John Lennon Songwriting Contest, Telluride Troubadour Competition, SongCircle Contest, and more.
Now a talented full band multiplies that energy across the country. “I used to love listening rooms,” Hawley admits, "but now I pretty much just wanna get a party started.” Music Without Labels agrees, calling the stocked setup, “a fantastic show, full of danceable riffs and singalong choruses all held together by Hawley’s tremendous charisma.” The Chicagoist says, “The New York-based musician has a flair for soulful songwriting and a voice that will blow your hair back.”
2014 marks the release of a pair of EPs: Side 1 and Side 2. Hawley says, “They are a bit different stylistically, but each share my own voice artistically and literally.”
Side 1 is a time capsule from the ’60s, employing a full string section from the NY Philharmonic to capture the authentic R&B sounds of the ’60s and ’70s. Side 2 brings us to the present with beefier beats and more modern production. Hawley’s vocal swagger, his old Alabama garage-found Harmony electric guitar, and live rhythm section tie the EPs together. Lucius drummer and producer Dan Molad co-produced both with Hawley.