‘The Eagles Meets One Direction’: How King Calaway Are Bringing the Boy Band to Country Music


At the highest of 2018, then-BMG president Zach Katz referred to as up CMA Awards producer Robert Deaton and requested, “What’s lacking in music?” His reply? “A band that’s old-fashioned meets new college.”

Deaton then enlisted his pals Jason Halbert (Kelly Clarkson’s music director) and Jon Shoen (One Direction’s former music director) to maintain their eyes and ears open for expertise. The search solely took just a few months, with every scouting promising male musicians around the globe, from Ohio to Gibraltar.

Just over a yr later, their findings have change into the six-piece nation group referred to as King Calaway, who’re precisely what Deaton was on the lookout for: he deems them “The Eagles meets One Direction.”

The group signed to Broken Bow Records in October, thanks partially to Robert’s friendship with BBR Music Group’s EVP Jon Loba. Deaton’s son Chris made the lower for the sextet, however the father says his familial connection isn't the explanation for his enthusiasm in regards to the group. “I consider strongly within the high quality of their musicianship as a bunch,” he says. “My observe document speaks for itself — I solely work on prime quality tasks that I’m captivated with.”

King Calaway definitely has the connections, however extra importantly, it has the expertise. All six members — Chris Deaton (25), Simon Dumas (22), Chad Michael Jervis (24), Jordan Harvey (27), Austin Luther (25) and Caleb Miller (18) — play devices, and properly. Simon switches between keys and guitar, Chris retains time on drums, Austin performs bass, Caleb handles lead guitar elements, and Chad and Jordan play guitar as properly. On prime of that, every member can sing (Simon, Chad and Jordan break up lead vocals), and the group incorporates six-part harmonies as a lot as doable. “What’s vital for us is that we’re attempting to place the ‘band’ again into boy band,” Chad says.

5 Seconds of Summer might have already performed that within the pop-rock sphere, however King Calaway introduces a wealthy sound that’s a fusion of Top 40-friendly melodies and folky instrumentation. And as boy bands preserve popping up throughout genres (BTS in Ok-pop, CNCO in Latin) and generations (new teams like Why Don’t We and PRETTYMUCH are forming; whereas older teams like Backstreet Boys and the Jonas Brothers are experiencing resurgences) within the late '10s, King Calaway are prepared introduce the traditional pop mildew to the Nashville market.

“We don’t have anything like them in nation,” Loba says. “Every time I watch [King Calaway], and watch the response of the viewers, my thoughts jumps to visions of them enjoying arenas.”

With their debut self-titled EP simply arriving in January, the King Calaway guys know they’ve a methods to go earlier than they’re enviornment rockers. But like Loba, they’re already setting their sights on big-time venues, they usually simply checked off the Grand Ole Opry on March 1, the place they obtained a standing ovation. The response has been overwhelmingly optimistic regardless of the venue dimension, too: The day earlier than their Opry debut, King Calaway performed a showcase in Augusta, Georgia, the place that they had folks in tears by the top of their efficiency.

Robert noticed this sort of potential himself final July, when the complete group was collectively for the primary time at his home in Tennessee. “Once all six had been there, we had been like, ‘Whoa, the dynamic has modified right here. It’s like they’re stars,’” he remembers. They instantly discovered all of the guitars round Robert’s home and started jamming, busting out a rendition of Rascal Flatts’ “Bless the Broken Road” virtually inside minutes. “That was the primary time that I believed, ‘Okay, this actually may very well be one thing,’” Robert provides.

Though they hail from completely different corners of the nation and the world — Chris was raised simply exterior of Nashville, Caleb is from Ohio, Austin grew up in Minnesota, Chad is a Delaware native, Jordan hails from Scotland, and Simon from Gibraltar — the fellows may really feel the moment chemistry themselves as properly. Robert put them in a studio collectively for 2 weeks uninterrupted to really feel out their sound as a bunch and finally allow them to resolve in the event that they even wished to pursue being a band collectively. Once they created a roaring association of Stephen Stills’ 1970 traditional rock hit “Love The One You’re With,” everybody was all in. “After we performed that, we had been all like, ‘Whoa, we will already see Wembley,’” Chris says.

Along with their huge collective goals, there was additionally an instantaneous private connection between the fellows. “I spent years in a band with my two older brothers, and also you don’t actually get nearer than that,” Simon asserts. “But I very a lot really feel the identical rapport with these guys — the way in which we get alongside, and the way in which we will criticize one another as properly. It’s fairly brotherly, this complete factor.”

Like Simon, every of his bandmates had beforehand been in at the least one band. Some even achieved fairly spectacular milestones: Simon’s sibling band performed for 10,000 folks at his hometown’s pageant; Jordan’s former group, The OK Social Club, allowed him to tour throughout the U.Ok. and Europe; Austin opened up for Ariana Grande whereas enjoying in Sabrina Carpenter’s band.

The guys’ previous experiences is likely to be the most important cause why King Calaway work so properly collectively: They know what it’s wish to be concerned in one thing that’s not working. In reality, Chris was nearly to surrender when his dad referred to as with this chance. “I used to be in one other group the place we weren’t as pleasant. Then I met these guys, and I used to be like, ‘Yes, I wish to carry on going,’” Chris says, including with fun, “I’m not attempting to get all gooey, however I owe it to those guys that I’m even behind the package proper now.”

Even once they’re sitting in a room for a bunch interview, it’s straightforward to see that the bond between the six members is actual and natural. They snicker hysterically at one another’s jokes, geek out over Elvis and Harry Potter, and gush over their bandmates’ expertise. (Simon even has a video on deck of Chris hitting a super-high concord throughout a current recording session, which sparks uproarious laughter from everybody.)

As descriptors, “boy band” and “nation” can every be polarizing in their very own methods, however King Calaway wish to redefine each with their true instrumentation. The guys take delight in the truth that they not solely play their very own devices, but additionally lower their music dwell within the studio — so all the pieces you hear on their songs is what you’ll hear in live performance. Their uncooked expertise has impressed business powerhouses in addition to these within the Twitterverse (Austin remembers a tweet that learn, “King Calaway isn't the dumpster fireplace I used to be anticipating,” which made the entire group burst out laughing), however maybe essentially the most significant responses are coming from inside their very own inside circles.

“My good friend in LA [has] seen me carry out, however our showcase at No Name was the primary time he’s seen us play, and he was fanboying,” Simon remembers. “He was like, ‘Dude, please can we get a photograph?’ I used to be like, ‘Bro, you’re my greatest buddy… what?’”

After Chad and Chris share related tales, Simon provides, “Something particular is certainly taking place after we’re enjoying. And the folks closest to us are feeling like they’re part of one thing particular.”

As a band of younger, charming boys, the King Calaway guys acknowledge that they’re going to strike parallels to One Direction. Though their group origins aren’t terribly completely different, King Calaway take consolation of their musical skills when confronting the comparability — but additionally have a bit of enjoyable with it. “None of the six of us existed earlier than this band,” Simon jokes. “And we don’t have stomach buttons.” Humor apart, all six members agree that chart-topping superstars like One Direction aren’t such a foul group to reflect. “We embrace it,” Chad says, with Chris including, “They’re so good!”

King Calaway have been engaged on their debut set, which is predicted to be launched in September. The guys have been in a position to work with a few of Nashville's heavy hitters, together with Ross Copperman (Kenny Chesney) and Justin Ebach (Brett Young), who’ve helped them set up their very own songwriting chops, but additionally set a excessive bar for King Calaway’s future materials. Currently, the group is on a radio promotional tour — their first single, an acoustic love music titled “World For Two,” debuted on nation radio on March 6 — and hope to tour the U.S. subsequent.

The guys are already plotting the tattoos they'll get upon touchdown their first No. 1 single: their brand, a sketched crown. But with or with out that form of success, being in King Calaway has given every of them the chance of a lifetime.

“We’re all a household collectively, all of us work collectively, all of us depend on one another, and all of us simply assist one another to be one of the best that we might be,” Jordan says. “This complete undertaking has been completely unimaginable from day one.”