Calen Savidge brings new sound to Hip-Hop musicWritten by Jeff McGinnis | | email@example.com
Calen Savidge stood on stage at Martini and Nuzzi’s in Maumee. This was a solo performance, without the backup of his regular band. He only had his trusty guitar to accompany him. The house of late-December revelers sang along with glee, anyway. He’s a regular at Martini and Nuzzi’s, where he sings modern favorites, takes requests and occasionally gets to perform his original work.
“What I’m most proud of is the writing of my original stuff,” Savidge said during a break in his performance. “Unfortunately, when you play out in bars, to make money — I can go out, I can sell my album, all that stuff — but when I go out to play in bars, people wanna have a good time.”
Not that he was complaining. It’s all just part of the business. The more he plays, the more people know his name. And the more they know, the more they’ll be interested in the kind of music which really moves the young singer/songwriter.
“I grew up on Hip-Hop, strictly Hip-Hop,” he said. “Underground groups that nobody heard of until a few years ago, that will never get played on the radio, unless its college radio, way underground. That’s the stuff I love to this day.”
Savidge’s lyrical sophistication and style are reminiscent of many of the great Hip-Hop groups he idolizes, backed by instrumentation that feels more folky. The result is a surprisingly winning amalgamation of genres.
“Because Hip-Hop is my influence, when I started writing, I still like to incorporate that in everything I write and everything that I do,” Savidge said. “I play what I like to play, and it just so happens that there’s a large group of people that seem to like it as well.”
Savidge said his unusual style and sound rose organically. He was about 13 when he first started writing.
“It started off as just free-writing, and it kinda turned into a Hip-Hop thing where a buddy of mine from Sylvania, we started doing the Hip-Hop thing where we were flowing over other people’s beats. Whatever we could find, we were just writing songs to.”
He didn’t consider playing an instrument until late in his high school days.
“I didn’t know anything about the guitar, I didn’t know how to play. I picked up what little I knew at first from my brother-in-law, who was my best friend in high school,” Savidge said. “He would play guitar, I would sing, and it got to the point where it was like, ‘I need to do this, too’.”
That same brother-in-law, Drew White, is now bass player in Savidge’s band — which, like his music, also evolved over time.
“It started off with just me, and then we added Drew. And then we added Jason [Goss] to play the drums. And now that we have Scott [Ballard], we’ve never heard our music played this well before!”
The band is firing on all cylinders at the right time, as this past year has seen a remarkable rise in prominence for Savidge and his music. It began with a call from the 92.5 KISS-FM morning show for a performer needed to play a live bit on local television. Savidge volunteered, and the gig proved a success — so much so, he was invited back and took a half-day off of his factory job to do the show.
In the months since, Savidge has become a regular guest on 92.5, and devoted himself full time to the pursuit of his music. It all culminated in the release of his first album, “Bombs and Alarms,” on Oct. 22. Savidge said as he worked on the album, he marveled at how much the unique sound he performs has changed.
“When I chose the songs for the album, I said to myself, ‘I don’t know how this sound came about’,” he said. “Because if you were to ask me what sound I was going for, I would have told you something totally different.”