How CAL. Found Success By Helping Independent Artists Grow

How CAL. Found Success By Helping Independent Artists Grow

What have you done for a fellow musician or artist lately? Have you put someone on, shared a connection or networking piece, taught a friend how to use a program or app to improve their process, or shared your favorite resource? Helping others seems to be part of this week’s artist’s very being. CAL. is an independent artist and musical creative who has found a way to make himself everyone’s social media bestie. In our interview, he shares his tips and tricks on becoming the plug, building success and momentum through helping others, and a little motivation for those feeling stuck in the rat race of the music business.

CAL. in the studio

CAL. on Success Through Helping Others

Photobombshell: Hi CAL.! Welcome back! It has been a long time since we first connected with radio, cohosting the Friday Night Frequency Show. It’s your turn in the hot seat for an interview, and I am so excited. For the very few people who don’t know you yet, would you be so kind as to share a little bit about what you do as a musician and describe your sound?

CAL.: As a musician, I want to express myself. I have a lot of fun creating, from writing to recording to mixing. I am my true self when I do, so I know it genuinely makes me happy. Music has been a passion of mine since I was a child, so being able to create is a blessing for me. Creating music allows me to escape any stress or frustration we all deal with. Life without music isn’t for me. I have to have it in some way or form.

Photobombshell: Self-expression through music is a common theme and pull to the profession. It is impressive that you have created financial success for yourself with music in many ways. Outside of what you are working on for yourself, I always see you working hard to elevate other musicians and their careers. Helping artists is how we connected in the first place, years ago on streaming radio. What are you up to these days?

CAL.: I am big on making sure artists know they are great and their attempts are worth it if they have a passion for music. My job is to uplift, support, and provide resources to artists so they can flourish. If they win, I win. That’s an incredible feeling and journey. I am currently working on marketing, branding, playlisting, influencer marketing, write-ups, and Youtube campaigns. I teach artists how to market themselves, and if time does not allow for that, I provide these services.

Photobombshell: You always surprise me with the things you add to your list as offerings. Do you ever find that your work for other independent artists affects your music? How do you balance working on your business and your dreams?

CAL.: To be honest, working with others and collaborating more has been a great way to network. Not only am I putting out more music, but I have the opportunity to show my featured artists how to market themselves and their music in new ways. My Strangers-themed album is about showcasing each artist’s talent and promoting together. 

Photobombshell: That’s awesome. It seems like creating and networking go hand in hand with you. Given your skill set and background, we know so much about you as an artist, but maybe not as much behind the scenes. Tell me something about you that most people might not know.

CAL.: I work in the medical field as an MRI tech. I’m in the business of helping, which is why I am so good at helping others. It’s my job. 

Photobombshell: That must be who you are to the core, someone who sees the value and possibility in others and helps. I love that about you. Besides helping others to collaborate, create, and share, when it comes to music, what is your favorite aspect of music creation? 

CAL.: The recording, deciding how to layer a hook, selecting the effects to use on a background vocal, or arranging the order of songs are my favorite aspects of creating music. I have to say, that’s one of my favorite parts. I enjoy writing as well. Writing is a lifelong passion too. 

Photobombshell: As an artist, a leader, and educator (in some regards) in the independent music space, what do you feel is one of the best resources (book, podcast, person, company, whatever) that an independent artist could take advantage of right now, regardless of where they are in their career?

CAL.: The best resource and advice I can give an artist is to be the resource. Be the plug. Figure out a way to be so resourceful that everyone wants to come to you for help, and then introduce your music or what you are working on. You will see how willing everyone is to help. Another gem to share is about HRDRV, a subscription-based record label based in LA. The community and networking events are top-tier, and I’ve met incredible talent there.

Photobombshell: Thank you so much for sharing that. Your mindset is so clear regarding your goals and how to reach them. What are your career plans for 2023? What can we expect from you both as a professional and an independent artist?

CAL.: I am going to be more focused on the business side. I need more artists to know what I can offer and what to look out for. Musically, I have singles scheduled for the year and will introduce a new theme: CAL presents (Artist Name). I will work closely with a chosen artist and put together a project I feel they can use to showcase their unique talents. 2023 is off to a great start.

Photobombshell: That is so on-brand! It speaks to networking and collaboration, which is so CAL.! One of the things about you that stands out is your ability to connect with people and network. Do you feel like that is a teachable skill? Drop a gem for us on how to improve online networking without being sales-y. 

CAL.: Of course! My greatest gift is knowing when to show support and give compliments. Not everyone is great at speaking their mind when they find talent. Fear of rejection or not getting a response might slow that process down, but I show love to those who are deserving and putting in the effort to succeed. Whether they respond or not, I did my job. They’ll notice sooner or later. Again, being resourceful is my biggest asset for networking. Artists connect with me because I am open to helping and sharing tips. I also give free gems before I offer any services, and I notice that works very well.

Photobombshell: I know you are a playlist boss like myself. How do you think playlisting will change in 2023 if at all? How can artists plan for this?

CAL.: Find all the sites known to be helping artists, and get familiar with It is a great resource to have. I don’t think anything is changing regarding artists wanting to be heard and land on playlists. Rather than focusing on streaming numbers, focus on follows and song saves. This way, you know it helps towards the goal of having the streaming platform work in your favor. Before reaching out to anyone for placements, create and run playlists. Make your playlist so appealing that other artists will want to join yours. That should be part of your networking strategy.

Photobombshell: I am also a big fan of Daily Playlists and have shared about them before. It is so true, that you need to find those people and resources that are helping artists and not simply capitalizing off of them. As we wrap up, I want to thank you again for this. It has been a long time coming! What have you always wanted to share in an interview but haven’t had the opportunity to say?

CAL.: I always wanted to say this. Guys! This game is all an illusion! Don’t worry about numbers and what others are doing. Be consistent, and show yourself and your talent more. Do not worry about the family and friends not supporting or liking everything. Focus on your true fans, that always start as strangers. Trust me. They will show themselves. It is up to you to notice them and cater to what they like. I discuss a lot of this on my calls. We all get discouraged one way or another, most of the time due to worrying about what others may think. Once you get passed that hurdle, you are unstoppable. 

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