After a year-long hiatus, Dwight Gutzmer, better known by his stage name King Calie who won the last staging of the Magnum: Top Performa competition in 2021, has returned to the music industry.
Calie, who is known for the lyrical strength he brought to the Top Performa competition, had taken what he calls a “strategic step back” to focus on his personal life and refining his craft. But after a year of being away, Calie is ready to remind Jamaica that he is a king in the making.
In an interview with Our Today, Calie spoke about his childhood and what drew him to music, some of the challenges he’s faced and his thoughts on the current state of dancehall.
How did King Calie get interested in music?
Calie’s first introduction to music came from him supporting his brothers.
“How it all started was with my little brother Dane, who liked singing at parties. He was shy so I would be his hype man and do what I could to take the attention off of him, so I would dance and jump around and do ad libs and there was my older brother Duwayne who was part of a group that did their own thing as well and that’s how I fell in love with performance,” said Calie.
His love and desire to become a dancehall artiste were inspired by the time he spent living in The Bahamas during his teenage years.
“My first day there was horrible,” recalled the artiste. “I remember kids making fun of my shoes because they weren’t Clarks.”
Calie mentioned a particular day when he was confronted and questioned by his new classmates about his Jamaicanness was when his dream got solidified.
“The first thing they said to me was “How comes you nuh have nuh locks?” and I had to tell them that not all Jamaicans were rastas,” recounted the artiste.
“Then they said “Every Jamaican is an artiste so sing something,” and at that point in my life I was a young teenager and still trying to find myself so I did, and by the time I was halfway through the song the class was full of people, you’d swear it was Beenie Man on the stage and for me, that was very fulfilling and that moment was when the spark was lit for me,” he continued.
Calie said he is very grateful for the time he spent in The Bahamas because that allowed him to develop a different type of appreciation for Jamaican culture and different ways to refine the craft that he would not have had if he never travelled at a young age.
Journey to Magnum Top Performa
When Calie returned from The Bahamas at 18 he was on a mission to become the best he could be as an artiste and committed the following years to research and working on his craft. He named Yolande Rattray-Wright and a program he joined under the guidance of Mikey Bennett as what taught him everything he needed to know about being an artiste, from the workings of the stage, vocal training and how to carry himself as an artiste.
However, personal issues as well as the onset of the pandemic caused the young artiste to temporarily shift his focus.
He recalled his time at the competition as one of the only good things he could channel his energy into during a time when it felt like the world and life were on pause.
Check out the interview below:
“I’m a dancehall artiste, nothing else, I’m not a reggae artiste, nor reggae and dancehall, I do sing but its still dancehall and that is my love,” said the artiste.
Calie has promised there is more music in store for fans and his intentions to mix old school dancehall with the new school sound.
Follow his journey on Instagram @neverendinggrammyspeech
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