Ace Irish artist Caleb Kunle has been crowned the winner of Thatchers Haze x NME’s Emerging Artists Project – a new initiative to provide a platform for the UK’s best upcoming talent. We got the lowdown on the 25-year-old as he heads into the studio with producer Murkage Dave (Tonga, Mike Skinner collaborator) to record his debut EP ‘Eden’.
- Caleb Kunle will play at NME HQ in London on August 18. Head to NME.com/win to find out how you can be there for free
Did you expect to win the Emerging Artists Project when you entered?
“In all honesty, I forgot about it. I just threw that song into the universe to see what would happen. Two or three weeks later I got the call and I was speechless. I’m not a big conspiracy-head, but I definitely thought there was a huge prank going on.”
You’ve just started recording your debut EP ‘Eden’ with Murkage Dave. How does that compare to where you’ve worked before?
“I’ve been trying to write an EP for three years and I’d been doing that all on my own, so it’s been hard. ‘Another Life’, the song that I won with, was written and recorded in a shed at the bottom of my mum’s garden.”
What inspires you to start writing songs?
“What stands out for me most is something I call ‘The Situation’. There’s always lyrics and music floating around my head, but I just get this tingle when seeing something like my reflection in running water, or an overheard conversation, that really inspires me – then I know a song is coming on. That thing is rare and it’s a spiritual moment.”
You’re playing a gig at NME HQ on August 18. What can people expect from that?
“I used to do a lot of open-mic nights so would strip things back, but I’ve also performed with my group [Blackfish Collective] and that has a much bigger sound with several people on the stage running around. It’s a good juxtaposition between that honest sound and something a little more crazy.”
From: Laois, Ireland
Buy: ‘Another Life’ is on Soundcloud now
Live: Aug 18, NME HQ, London
Best Track: ‘Another Life’ – Caleb’s winning track is a soaring and soulful beauty. Perfect for walking home at dusk.
Strange But True: By his own admission, Caleb didn’t listen to much music as a child. So as a teenager his first real musical love was US hip-hop group The Black Eyed Peas.
For Fans Of: Frank Ocean, The Weeknd
Photos: Andy Hughes
Grooming: Johanna Dalemo using Mac Cosmetics
Styling: Shirley Amartey
Buy exclusive Caleb Kunle merch in the NME merch store