With the Spotify play count rapidly rising on contagious singles like “With You,” “Treehouse,” and her latest, “Lonely Lover Man,” Caleigh Barker is poised to make some serious waves with the release of her new EP in early 2021.

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That Caleigh Barker comes from a close-knit family of music lovers will come as no surprise to anybody who’s heard even one of her incredibly infectious first three singles. Her father was an ardent lover of country and soul greats like Johnny Cash and Otis Redding, while her three older brothers were old-school rock ‘n’ roll obsessives. The combination provided the young Torontonian with a continuous influx of sounds that imbue her current work with an indelible timelessness and groove that leaves listeners hungry for more. Luckily, the wait is almost over. RAC found Caleigh hard at work on her upcoming new EP and sat down with the young songwriter for a quick chat about her early influences, inspiration, and creative process.

“I have always been into music. I started playing piano at age six and never really looked back – having since learned different instruments like the guitar, bass and ukulele. My earliest musical influences would have to be a combination of my dad’s favourite soul and country artists and my three big brothers’ taste for classic rock ‘n’ roll”.

There is a certain reverence in Caleigh’s tone when she describes the early musical discoveries that shaped her- a reverence eclipsed only by her family’s role in paving the way for her to make them. However, she is quick to bring the conversation back to the here and now, eager to talk about new influences and the role they play in the music she’s currently making. “I still love all that music, but I have diversified my tastes and interests in terms of what I listen to. My current influences are Adele, especially when it comes to my singing, and Sia when it comes to my production. The music I listen to influences my work, whether I’m aware of it or not. I think my eclectic tastes are reflected in my overall production”.

Though she was quick to pick up and learn the instruments of her trade, Caleigh was just as quickly challenged by the limitations that so often confront solo musicians. She explained these to us and how they led to her learning music production at RAC, where she graduated in 2018. “I decided I wanted to learn production when I began to feel frustrated by my inability to put the sounds I heard in my head out into the world. There’s only so much you can do with one instrument at a time. I did my research before choosing RAC; there were a couple of schools in Toronto for music production, but RAC seemed to be the perfect fit for what I wanted to learn. I feel well-rounded as an artist, producer, and audio engineer because of their program”. 

Like so many musicians affected by the global pandemic, 2020 saw Caleigh’s bourgeoning live career prematurely halted. Undeterred, she continues to focus on her upcoming release. “I love writing music. I’m a very opinionated and highly emotional person, so I rarely run out of things to say or feelings to express. Right now, I’m working on my first EP, which is really exciting! I have more songs than I need, so, luckily for me, it’s more of a cutting process than me trying to fill gaps”. Once again, it appears Caleigh’s eclecticism will be on full display on her new EP. “Music is constantly evolving and changing. Each track in the song has a different musical origin for me, but I find a way to fit them together cohesively, so it sounds like they were always meant to go together- like hip hop drums and piano ballad chords, for example”.

With the Spotify play count rapidly rising on tracks like “With You,” “Treehouse,” and her latest single, “Lonely Lover Man,” Caleigh is poised to make some serious waves when her new EP drops at the start of 2021. We asked her if there were any behind-the-scene players who helped her during this particularly prolific period. “I wanna give a shoutout to my best friend and producer David Mooney, AKA Badlook, who helped me with the three songs I have out so far and who helped me believe in myself. His music is DOPE! So, you should check him out as well. I also want to thank my manager Kathrine Weiss for pushing me to get off my butt and make things happen!”

Look for Caleigh’s new EP in early 2021.