HappyBirthdayCalvin is a kid out of Chicago who has been making some major noise in the music community, but especially here in the city, so of course I had to bring him through the office for a brand new interview for the site! HappyBirthdayCalvin will end up being one of the leaders in the Chicago music scene within the next few years, and I know that’s a bold statement for someone who just graduated high school, but trust me when I say he is a good person to the core but even more importantly he is musically inclined. Calvin’s record “No Friends” has been going crazy for a minute now, playing on radios all over the country, and not to mention that he just got Chicago legend G-Herbo on the remix of the track. Learn a thing or two about Calvin by reading this brand new interview below and don’t forget to stream his record below while you read, & also keep an eye out for his upcoming music releases!
Follow Calvin on Twitter here!
EM: Before we dive into the questions, give our readers who may not be familiar with you a brief introduction of yourself.
Calvin: My name is Happy Birthday Calvin. I’m 17, from the westside of Chicago. I’m a producer, I’m a rapper, I’m an artist I just like making music.
EM: What’s your earliest memory of music?
Calvin: Probably my mom getting me a G-Unit shirt, It had 50 Cent on it so that was my first favorite rapper before anybody.
EM: When did you first start creating music?
Calvin: I started writing when I was 10, I started producing when was 13. I used to write poems and my mom would record me and post it on youtube.
EM: Who or what inspired you to start making music?
Calvin: Kanye West, Lil Wayne, “A Mili” video/the “Gold Digger” video. I used to write Poetry a lot, when my aunt passed that got me really deep in being a voice and just saying more, so that got me into rapping. My dad used to rap, that got me into rap.
EM: How would you describe your music to someone who has never listened before?
Calvin: My music sounds authentic, my music sounds purposeful, my music sounds older I guess (that’s what people tell me) I think I just sound like myself.
EM: You mentioned Kanye, but who are some of your influences musically?
Calvin: Kanye, Tyler, Rocky… Lyrically, Biggie Smalls, I feel like he is one of the greatest rappers. Jay Z obviously the “greatest rapper of all time”. Odd Future, that whole collective got me deep into finding myself and just being unique.
EM: What are your top 5 favorite projects?
3.)Life After Death
EM: If you could collaborate with any artist dead or alive who would it be?
Calvin: Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston. Probably those two, really Whitney though.
EM: With your record “No Friends”, did you know that was the one that was going to pop?
Calvin: I didn’t know, it just damn near like happened. I had dropped it before I was gaining steam, then i met Peezy, so then all that shit, we had to redo everything because it wasn’t as clean as it could have been.
When I first made it, it was a freestyle, like I freestyled it after a show, I went to a homies crib after I performed, so me doing it, I was just rapping. Then after that it just became what it was.
Peezy: His homie thats in a Netflix film that’s about to come out June 19th, that how I met him. He sent me the record through Soundcloud and i was like shit ain’t that bad and from that it kind of went from there but the original recently just played on my phone randomly and I was like “this shit sound ugly” (laughs) but I heard through it.
EM: Following that last questions, when G Herbo got on the remix, how does that feel?
Calvin: It’s crazy because like all the stuff be happening and I don’t really realize it as we going because I don’t like getting caught up in what’s going on, I feel like I’m going to get out off focus. So I treat every show like let’s do the best show I can do, I don’t think like “Oh I’m at BET” I’m just trying to do the best show I can do. But hearing his (G Herbo) voice on that I remember I asked the engineer and he had played like a snippet and I had to go home , I couldn’t even hear it. So then when I came back and heard the whole thing it was hot.
EM: Do you think you’ll work with Herbo more in the future?
Calvin: Yeah for sure!
EM: One thing I was also wondering is do you have any upcoming music with Logan? I know you guys are close & both work with ATS.
Calvin: Yeah we got a few songs so I am sure they will drop at some point.
EM: So your new single drops on June 21st, tell me how that song came about/what’s it about.
Calvin: The track overall is about self-love, not needing anybody to feel like you’re not enough. This will be out and it says on the lyrics, I’m not by myself, I’m not lonely, I’m just alone I don’t need nobody. Overall, indulge in yourself and look in the mirror and realize who you really are, because when you know who you really are you know you don’t need nobody else.
EM: Random question I ask everybody but what is your favorite music video ever?
Calvin: Man, favorite? A mixture of ‘Power’ (Kanye West) It’s like grand as hell, it’s like he’s really a god right now and then the “A Milli” (Lil Wayne) music video is hard as fuck.
EM: Are there any local rappers you’ve been listening to?
Calvin: Some of them are hard. I like LUCKI a lot, he goes crazy.
EM: If you had to pick some of the bigger name Chicago artists that you would like to work with in the future who would that be?
Calvin: Chief Keef, Chance, Kanye West, Common, I want to work with Twista.
EM: What’s your favorite book?
Calvin: “From N*ggas to Gods” I forgot the Authors name. I got it from one of my counselors at school.
EM: What school was that?
Calvin: Chicago High School for the Arts on Augusta and California.
EM: What’s your favorite performance you’ve had to date?
Calvin: When I opened up for Kodak, that was raw. There were so many people, that was probably the largest crowd I ever did. So that was really raw.
EM: With this upcoming one on the 22nd I’d imagine that’s overwhelming. Big ass crowd BET. Are you nervous for that?
Calvin: I love big crowds, I feel like it be bumping and as long as you’re confident they don’t tweak on you. They ain’t finna throw tomatoes at me or nothin.
EM: I want to ask about the 3rd part of your EP series. What can our readers expect from that when it drops? You want to talk about any producers involved or anyone working on it?
Calvin: I produced everything on the 3rd ep.
EM: Do you produce most of your own music?
Calvin: Yeah for the most part.
EM: Do you have a favorite of the 3 EP’s?
Calvin: Ah, yeah the last one (3rd).
EM: Why is that your favorite
Calvin: It’s hard, it’s just really big, I try to make like big music, that something me and Peezy talk about a lot like stadium status stuff. That’s really like, if it was a band, it’s like damn. Like Stevie Wonder can play the piano and niggas gon be like “that’s what’s supposed to happen.”
EM: For this Netflix film can you speak more on that and how are you involved with it?
Calvin: First off my homie is an actor in a movie, he just starred in a movie, so he’s like an upcoming actor. His name is Kahlil Everidge (that’s how I met Peezy), overall with the film I did the outro track. That shits hard. The movie overall is about ptsd, it’s about a kid who makes beats trying to overcome PTSD and that’s pretty much it.
Peezy: It’s about a kid who suffers from PTSD because he was walking home with his sister and he was out in the street fucking around and his sister was like I’m going to get my little brother and their mom was kind of frustrated, so she goes to get him and there is a rival gang shooting and he watched it so now he’s like “Oh shit if none of this would have happened I’d still have my little sister”. His sister made beats so he got into making beats. It comes out June 19th, it’s called beats. Anthony Anderson is in it and the kid Kahlil, I trained the kid to make beats for the film, thats how me and the kid got cool. Afterwards he sent me Calvin’s music. That’s how we got close.
EM: What are you most excited for, the rest of the year? What are you most looking forward to?
Calvin: Lot of collaborations just want to do, because I love music. One day I’m going to meet Pharrell and we’re gonna work. When I meet Kendrick we’re going to go bar for bar. Stuff like that is monumental in my head. Grammy’s, I want to win a Grammy, like a lot of them, enough to fill a closet.
Peezy: Who did you meet at LA Reed’s grammy party that was like the man?
Calvin: Leonardo Dicaprio.
EM: Woah, what did you guys talk about?
Calvin: I pretty much talked about my music, asked him how his day was going. How was life. I met a lot of people, I met swizz beats, q tip.
EM: Are there any producers you want to work with in the future?
Calvin: Pharell, Q tip, just they goats, Kanye, Pete Roc, Yung Chop. I want to bring a lot of people back. I feel like sounds just be abandoned sometimes. Yung Chop can still make a hit.
EM: Who are some other artists that you wish to work with in the future?
Calvin: I want to work with Young Thug, LilNasX, Drake, I definitely want to work with Melly if he gets out of jail. I definitely want to work with Chance. Travis. I definitely want to produce a Wiz album one day.
EM: If you could set up your ideal show what would it be?
Opener: Lil Uzi Vert
Headliner: Michael Jackson
EM: Any directors you’re working with?
Calvin: Jake Osmun. We got a video for “No Friends” (remix).
EM: What is your typical studio sessions like?
Calvin: A typical studio session? I produce most of my stuff so when I’m at the crib creating the world that I’m trying to build in a song. For the most part when I get to the studio, it’s just like pullin the track out, then I’ll have the engineer mix everything and make sure the kicks are louder, If I hear something, I may want to add something, I might want to go into Youtube and get a sound effect. After that we pretty much start recording, I might step out and listen to a verse, think about what I could add to it etc, it’s not like I be freestyling too much unless it’s the vibe. For the most part I try to write out a lot of stuff just pushing a certain message, I feel like a lot of positive music ain’t really out there no more. A lot of positive stuff that is out there is either corny or it doesn’t feel genuine. So I try and think about what I’m saying and like what I’m trying to push which is pretty much positivity overall you can be who you want to be, don’t have to hide from anybody or be who you ain’t. So after i get that idea pretty much set out, I bring everybody in to listen, I just try to have it as open as possible.
EM: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Calvin: I want to win as many Grammy’s as I possibly can in 5 years as many as that time entitles.