Introducing Cayela Black
Written By: Carlos Espinoza Lopez
Taking her inspiration and musical experiences from the gospel and into her future, Caleya Black is moving up in the music industry, accomplishing a dream she is close to reaching.
Born and raised in New Jersey, Caleya Black is an Independent R&B artist who would describe her sound to be nostalgic and sweet soul. As time progresses, Caleya wishes to build and nurture her relationships, with both her fans as well with other creatives. As a songwriter, Caleya is working with a notable music library for sync placements, Overall, she wishes to be able to escape the need of a 9-5 and be able to create music full time. As superstardom seems to be a huge measurement for a lot of artists’ success, Caleya does not see success that way, for she just wants to be able to do what she loves and live comfortably while doing it.
As previously mentioned, Caleya Black gained the inspiration of her name from her past life experiences being a part of the church, she further stated, “My church was pretty small, so everyone pitched in – so I sang solos, directed the choir, and also played the keyboard. I feel like singing gospel taught me how to connect emotionally with the lyrics that I sing & write. I am also inspired by soul music from the 60s-80s. I feel like this time period was filled with songs that you could connect with emotionally. Some artists who have influenced my style include Smokey Robinson, Sade, and Whitney Houston.” In regards to her musical inspirations, she wishes to take her creativity outside of just herself and alongside other talented artists. These artists being Smokey Snoh Aalegra, Kirby, Giveon, Tone Stith, Drake, and Smokey Robinson who in which she truly believes is one of the greatest songwriters.
When it comes to Caleya Black’s career goals for this year, she states that she is planning to release her 2nd EP and get back to doing more live performances. In addition, when Caleya was asked what is her biggest motivations, she states, “Aside from wanting to give my children the things I didn’t have growing up, my godfather would be my biggest motivation. Have you ever had someone believe in your dream more than you did? That was him. Sometimes I would get discouraged and wanted to give up on music, but he would push me. He would tell everyone he met about me. At the beginning of my career, we would spend a day in NY going to different labels and handing out demos. He even waited in line with me for hours to audition for American Idol. Sadly, he passed away around 5 years ago. I really want him to see me make it, even if he is no longer here physically. I don’t want all of his belief and effort that he put into my career to be in vain.” Caleya gives much of her credit to the ones she loves. She has also mentioned that she is an advocate for cancer research, having lost her grandmother to cancer, having this cause is very important to her.
Caleya has been in the industry for eight years now, as stated by her, growing up, she always knew that she wanted to work in the music industry in some way. She began to write poetry which later evolved to her writing songs. She wrote her first song in middle school and continued writing & singing ever since then. She was the first from her family to go to college and from there, she decided to first achieve her degree before fully pursuing a career in music. Fortunately, she was able to earn the opportunity to intern in the publicity department at Virgin Records in NYC. From there, she was surrounded by music every day, having the energy of that environment was able to really solidify her desire to do this full time. She has stated that although, like many of us, 2020 was a year with challenges, however, she was able to create some great moments; her song “Go There” was featured in season two of UMC’s original series, 5th Ward, which starred the R&B singer MYA and Carl Anthony Payne. In addition, she was also featured on two mixtapes curated by Tank (Just Vybes) & Mario (Mario Talent, and she has had two of her songs play on one of the top radio stations in the NYC tri-state area, WBLS.
Despite her many successes, Caleya Black says that her road to where she is now has not been easy; “I’ve heard a lot of “no’s” along the way. I’ve also come across some scammers who prey on independent artists. As a mom, it was also difficult to find the balance between pursuing a music career and being present for my family. Pursuing a career can be very time-consuming, especially when you do not have a team backing you. You have to not only be the artist and create music, you also have to handle the business side as well.” However, in spite of her difficulties, Caleya was able to learn more about the music industry when entering it, she states, “By nature, I want to believe in the good in people, but sometimes in this industry people may not have the best intentions for you and/or your career. I’ve had to learn that the hard way over the years. Also, relationships are key. That is definitely the foundation to a successful career.”
Writing and recording the majority of her music, she does collabs with other artists as well, having a song that she has collaborated with other songwriters is on her Christmas song, “All I want for Christmas”. While she doesn’t produce she does enjoy playing the piano. Some of the producers that she has worked with include Shaun Rivera (from the group, Az Yet), Mike Shaw (credits: Bobby V, Lyfe Jennings, Eric Benet), and Derek Linzy (engineered for Prince).
Outside of just music, Caleya loves to spend time with her family, dance, travel, and says she is always down for a game of Spades! A quote that helps her to keep working towards her dreams comes from Langston Hughes, “Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken-winged bird that cannot fly.” Telling us that she always thinks about this quote when she begins to second guess herself or when she feels discouraged. It reminds her to keep pushing.
When it comes to the discography of Caleya Black, she has released one EP in 2017 and seven singles, not including the new song that was released on January 21, 2022. When it comes to her work, she was asked which one is her favorite, she responded, “My songs are pretty personal to me, they’re like my kids. It’s hard to choose a favorite, as they each are a reflection of where I was in my career and also in life when I made it. There are a few that are worth highlighting – “Tired” was written after the murder of George Floyd and is deeply personal. I wrote it as a way of expressing how I was feeling about the racial disparity in our country. “Our Song” was my very first release as an artist. It is the song that speaks most to my musical style. I received my very sync placement with “Go There”, so that was major for me.”
As an artist, she states that her favorite part is being able to channel everything she is feeling, good or bad, and put it in a song. If one were to ask her why should we listen to Cayela Black, she would answer it is because it’s relatable, she states, “It’s real life. My music holds pieces of who I am as a person,”
If there was one piece of advice that Cayela would give to someone wanting to follow in her footsteps it would be, “Don’t depend on or wait for people to help you. You have to find a way to make things happen for yourself. Also, you need to read “All You Need to Know About the Music Business” by Donald Passman.” Additionally, if she had one message to give to her fans it would be, “… to know how much I appreciate them. Their support gives me the encouragement I need to keep going.” With the strength and confidence Caleya has built up from herself, her loved ones, and her fans, she truly believes that in the next 5 years, she sees herself walking the red carpet at The Grammy’s.
Cayela Black is currently working on her second EP, which will be released this year. When it comes to collaborations, she has a song featuring Shawn Rivera (formerly of Az Yet) that will be coming out soon as well. You can keep up with Caleya Black by following all of her social sites as well as her streaming platforms.