About Kalu and the Electric Joint
Born in Nigeria and raised in Republic of Benin , Kalu fluently speaks three languages – French, English and Igbo (native language ). Although he had sung in the choir since age 9, it wasn’t until he moved far from home to New York State in 2001 to study computer technology that he discovered his gift for songwriting.
Kalu says, “Music is a journal for me. It’s a way for me to express and chronicle my days. Some people have diaries. I have music.Instead of defining myself by putting my music in a box called a ‘genre,’ I consider it ‘feel’ music. I want to connect to people by letting them know howI feel. Maybe they feel that way, too, and it creates a link between us.”
The son of a businessman and an educator, during his childhood his parents would play American artists such as Otis Redding and Marvin Gaye from his dad’s record collection. American & Reggae music was also popular on African radio with tunes from artists such as Boys II Men, R. Kelly and Bob Marley as well as Nigerian favorites Fela Kuti & Osita Osadebe.
But it was after Kalu moved to Rochester , New York that he discovered some of the artists that would have the greatest influence on him, Jeff Buckley and Tracy Chapman. Kalu had always been a writer and a poet. Now he was inspired to put his words into music. He bought his first guitar and began attending open mics. Music began taking over his life.
Soon he was not only a regular, but also running one of the most popular open mics in Rochester , New York . After six years in Rochester , he was a well-known and popular entertainer. But when the opportunity came to move to Austin , Texas ,he didn’t hesitate.
Kalu remembers, “I had developed a name in Rochester and you could almost say I was well known in my niche. Friends would ask why are you moving to Austin where there are so many other musicians? But I wanted to go tough it out with the big boys. I couldn’t just wait for people to discover me. I had to take the music to the people.”
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