The Spotlight

Calligraphy (1)


While scrolling through Instagram a few months ago I randomly came across a musician’s page named Calligraphy. So like most people do when they come across a stranger’s open page on Instagram, I lurked to get a glimpse of what this person’s life was like. While lurking I came across a video that he posted of himself playing a keyboard and singing. Not to sound cliche or corny but his voice was mesmerizing and he had a unique sound especially coming out of Mississippi. I reached out to let him know I was digging his vibe and to see if we could possibly work together in some way. Later I got a chance to hear him for the first time live at an event this past June in Jackson, Mississippi. The crowd loved him that night! After the show I introduced myself and told him I would love to interview him for the blog.

The interview didn’t happen right away due to crazy schedules but the perfect summer day and time arrived. We met up at Cups in the Fondren art district of Jackson the following month. When I saw him he looked like he could be a model; tall, attractive, nice smile, oh…. and he had an afro. He definitely had the free-spirited look and vibe and he was very genuine and down to earth. He is known to friends and family as Anthony or AJ, but as an artist he is known by the name Calligraphy. A while back people always complimented him about his beautiful handwriting so the name was very fitting as an artist. Surprisingly he has only been performing since March of this year but he has been involved in music since the age of 5.

Check out our interview below:

Ashley E:  So how did you get your start in music?
Calligraphy: At an early age I played the piano and that’s when I realized I liked music. In junior high I started playing the saxophone and violin and during that time I started writing lyrics and songs. From there things just kind of evolved. Last year I decided I wanted to do something portable so I started playing the guitar.

Ashley E: Did you teach yourself how to play the guitar?
Calligraphy: Yea. I learned from watching other people play and I used a app that helped teach me different chords.

Ashley E: Do you have a musical background? Like are any of your family members into music?
Calligraphy: In my extended family there are a lot of musicians, singers, and producers. Not really in my immediate family. My family especially my mom wasn’t really that supportive of my decision to become a musician. I don’t think they realized how serious I was about it.

Ashley E: But now that you have evolved more and have fans are they more supportive?
Calligraphy: Yea some of my family have come out to see me perform now that they know I’m serious about it. My major was music industry studies so I learned all I needed to know about the business side of music.

Ashley E: When was your first performance?
Calligraphy: It was actually here at Cups. I’m a perfectionist so I kept putting it off but my friends kept telling me I needed to go ahead and put myself out there. During the performance I just kept thinking about how horrible I was doing but the crowd loved it. So many people kept coming up to me after my set.

Ashley E: Do you have any projects coming out?
Calligraphy: I’m working on an album called Love Child. It’s really about finding out what love is and going through that emotional journey of love; trust, anger, breakups etc.. I originally wanted it to be geared towards teens because most have a blind perception of love.

Ashley E: A lot of adults have a blind perception of love.
Calligraphy: Yea they do and a lot of my friends were telling me that this album could help a lot of adults too.

Ashley E: Do you have a release date set?
Calligraphy: Not yet, maybe some time next year. I’m raising money because I really want to get it professionally recorded.

Ashley E: Are there any artists that influence your sound?
Calligraphy: I really don’t listen to a lot of music besides piano music. I like John Mayer and Ed Sheeran. Ed is really where I got that inspiration to start looping… multi-tasking like playing the guitar and singing at the same time. I was like if he can do it there is no excuse why I can’t. And I like Alicia Keys. You can hear the emotion in her voice when she sings and she is an artist that developed her own sound.

Ashley E: What’s a word that describes your music?
Calligraphy: Therapy. I’ve had women come up to me after shows crying because my music touched them so much. I was shocked by that kind of reaction. I want my music to revolve around love because it’s needed. And it’s something I felt like I didn’t receive that much growing up especially being the middle child.

Ashley E: Do you want to expand beyond Jackson?
Calligraphy: Yes, of course. I feel like I’m a role model to a lot of people in my family so now I kind of have this pressure to succeed.

If you want to keep up with Calligraphy check him out here. If you’re in the Jackson, Mississippi area you can catch him live every 3rd Saturday along with other talented artists at the M7 coffee house in Ridgeland for their Coffee and Vibes series. He will be performing there next Saturday, September 17th.

Photograph: Mitch C. Davis, Jackson, MS

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