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Artist Spotlight: Caleb Hyles talks new journey with debut album of original music

Singer-songwriter Caleb Hyles carved out his own musical space performing covers of everything from Disney classics to Broadway showtunes on YouTube. Now, the talented vocalist is taking a new path with an album of fully original material- and it’s a collection of music he’s always wanted to make. We connected with Hyles to talk current inspiration, hopeful touring and his plethora of upcoming projects.

You found your internet niche with a slew of incredible covers over the last several years. How did you ultimately decide to start creating original music of your own? What was the process like for you when making this album?

Several things. My dad is a songwriter and growing up he would play us his songs around the house or at church. I think he unintentionally nurtured a desire within me to write my own music at some point. Then, several of my colleagues, namely Jonathan Young, have always been prolific songwriters even though they themselves are known for mostly the covers. So, with their encouragement, I felt like I could give it a try too. In that way, the album’s creation was much like my career; experimental. And I think you can hear that from track to track. I’m not sure if my next few albums are going to be this much like a patchwork of genres, but I adore how the whole product turned out. 

Where do you find yourself drawing inspiration from these days? 

Musically, it’s everywhere. This album shows that. But thematically, I’ve been very fortunate to have a diverse community that I’m surrounded by that influences my thinking, and, therefore, my writing. Simply put, the people in my life are my greatest inspiration. I’m extremely proud of the company I keep. Maybe more so than the music (haha)

Which song on the album do you connect with the most? Which one do you feel that listeners will relate to the most?

I connect more with the tracks that are about topics and themes, so “Wasting Time”, “Not My Own”, and “In One Breath” are just a few of my favorites. For listeners, I know that a personal story is one that is more widely enjoyed so there are a handful on this album. Already, I’m noticing that “Leave a Light On for Me” is really gaining traction. It’s a sad, but familiar tale to all too many, but with, arguably, the most hopeful resolution on the record. 

What are you hoping listeners will take away from this album?

You know, I’ve been asked this question in a couple of different ways and I think my answer keeps changing. Hopefully I can create some continuity with my answer this time, but I’d want listeners to be challenged. Challenged on their outlook on life, challenged on how they view their past; their future. I’m not sure if it’s true, but I think we actually appreciate and understand life most when we’re defeated. In that way, I want people to feel defeated, but know that is not the end of the story.

Are there any topics that you hope to write about that you haven’t had a chance to yet?

Honestly, I think I’ve covered a ton of ground on “In One Breath”, but I’m sure as I continue to grow and learn, I will be able to more adequately, maturely, cover these topics once again. Next time around, I’m planning to go for a decidedly more encouraging record. Topics around joy, resolve, perseverance, perspective, goodness, gentleness. I’m already in the process of LP #2 and I’m arguably loving it more than the first time around!

Are you planning to bring these songs to a live audience soon? What would be your dream tour scenario?

Oh man, some sort of small tour, to start. Maybe like a southeast run? That’s where I was born, so that’d be crazy. I’m also down to be a starting-act for a bigger band/artist. I just want to take these on the road. Maybe I could bring some YouTube friends along with me? 

What’s coming up for you now that the album is out? What’s next down the road?

Promotion is on the brain at the moment. But the work never stops! I’m still cranking out covers for YouTube, but I’m keeping my head-down on LP#2 starting the work now so I’m not rushed near the end of its cycle. Oh! And I’m doing several voice acting and video game projects, so that’s kind of dope. 

Is there anything else that you want people to know about you or your music or is there anything you wish you got to talk about more that you may not get asked?

To the people who’ve listened to my music for any length of time, thank you for everything. I say this on my livestreams and in-person, but I can never fully repay what has been given to me by my supporters and that is time. Because of them, I’ve been able to explore my creativity and thoroughly embrace this journey. While I can’t repay them, I can not take it for granted. 

And I wish more people told me about their favorite sandwich and why it is their favorite sandwich. I like to get in very intense but super inconsequential arguments about food preference. 

Story by Olivia Khiel