Eleven-year-old Caleb Matthew Johnson — quirky, upbeat, sometimes offbeat one-half member of the old-school, classic music loving new brother/sister duo, Klassic Kidz —exudes a raw musical instinct that the spirit of his late paternal great grandfather, New Orleans’ own Jazz saxophonist, Norward Sutton, Sr., may have imparted into his unforeseen grandson’s soul.
When Caleb first learned to tickle the keys without formal training, his mother felt something magical about Caleb’s natural ability to grasp and feel the emotions of the music’s melodies, harmonies and rhythm. He made songs emit emotion . . . make songs love, cry or smile or express sorrow. To Caleb, music is like the “melodies from heaven” and is the peace the world needs.
Caleb and his older sister, Kelsey, the other soft-spoken half of Klassic Kidz, developed musically by learning classic songs of all genres and posting them online as a way to aim for growth and positivity. But during a trip to New Orleans in 2016, Caleb’s private rendition of Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On” held the attention of a kind gentleman who invited Caleb and Kelsey to sing the song on stage at a quaint, down home, local jazz and blues eatery, The Prime Example, thus inspiring an excited Caleb to work harder on his passion.
Two years later, without expectation, Caleb’s budding talent caught the eye of “Tallahassee’s Gospel Station”, Heaven 98.3’s disc jockey and music mover and shaker “Doc” Darius Baker, who also leads the UK chart-topping multi-talented soul and funk ensemble, Tallahassee Nights Live (TNL) as well as Shed Live, the city’s open mic hotspot and talent hub for aspiring and undiscovered musicians and singers. Caleb never fathomed that Mr. Baker would give him an opportunity of his lifetime and invite him to perform live, sharing the stage with some of the most amazing musicians and singers his young ears had heard! And it was those magic moments with TNL that led Caleb to the Celebration of Music.
Though Caleb’s story is just beginning, a humbling, gob smacking part of Caleb’s musical journey is his and his family’s unexpected emerging kinship and camaraderie with generous, heart-inspiring, music teacher/pianist/classic music lover from Baltimore, Maryland, Richard Butler. Affectionately called Uncle Jaz with the blessings of the Klassic Kidz’ mother, Mr. Butler’s (House of Jaz’s) online piano tutorials, continuous encouragement, loving mentorship and unyielding support helped Klassic Kidz’ Caleb and his sister, Kelsey further strengthen their piano skills, fine tune their musical ear, and widen their love and bond for classic music.
Old soul Caleb never sought fame in his quest to learn music; he never imagined it would go this far. He just worked hard learning something for which to be proud. And if the result of that hard work touched someone along the way, he felt he did his job.
Song Choices Marvin Gaye- Mercy, Mercy Me Donny Hathaway- A Song for You John Lennon- Imagine Elton John-Don’t Let the Sun Go Down onMeHarold & The Blue Notes- Wake Up Everybody
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