Pop is not a dirty word.
Rock gets all of the hipster love, but when you look at the most popular songs on the Billboard charts, pop songs dominate. There should be no questioning of the songcraft of chart-toppers such as Justin Timberlake, Pink and Bruno Mars, who all share the same level of talent seen in My Morning Jacket, Wilco or She & Him.
Brigham Young University music student Caleb Blood hopes to one day reach the top of the pop charts.
The 23-year-old guitar-playing native of San Francisco released the pure pop album “+one” in February on Sample Road Records, a record label started by fellow BYU student Manuel Delgado, followed by a record release show at the epicenter of the Utah County music scene, Velour Live Music Gallery.
Blood answered questions about what doesn’t inspire him, how “+one” came about, and why naming Kanye West’s future child has no interest for him.
Why did you decide to enroll at BYU?
I grew up as a BYU fan and I just always expected to go there. I grew up watching all the BYU football and basketball games on TV and when I found out about the Media Music program at BYU, my decision was solidified even more.
Tell me what you wanted to do with “+one.”
I wanted to create an album with a slicker pop sound than I had ever done. Utah, and especially Provo, is building an incredible reputation for great rock and indie bands, but radio-ready pop music is fewer and farther between around here. We have incredible mainstream bands like Neon Trees and Imagine Dragons that have launched from Provo, but the foundation of both their sounds is rock. I want to make a similar impact on the national music scene, but with pop music. I don’t want to sound “local.” Mainstream music can take a pretty bad rap sometimes, and I have no problem with that, but that’s the kind of music that I listen to and that’s the kind of music I want to make.
What inspires you?
My biggest inspiration is my wife. I got married last year, so she’s all over this new album. Other than her, my inspirations are pretty widespread. For example, my album has a couple songs inspired by Detroit, a song inspired by [Mixed Martial Arts], and a song inspired by The Hunger Games. Musically, I’m inspired by whatever I’m listening to. I listen to music differently than other people. When I listen to music, I try to figure out what ideas I can use in my own music.
What doesn’t inspire you?
Rihanna. I can’t stand her.
If you were a grunge band from the early 1990s, whom would you be?
I’d have to say Pearl Jam because even though they were alternative, they were still criticized for being mainstream, and I have pretty mainstream musical tastes. Sometimes, I think my musical tastes are a combination of a middle-aged man and a teenage girl. I listen to Boston, Santana and Led Zeppelin, but I also listen to One Direction, Justin Bieber and Taylor Swift.
When people ask you to describe your sound, what do you say?
My music sounds like Maroon 5 hanging out with Justin Timberlake at a One Republic concert. It’s slick pop music that blends electronic and acoustic elements.
Describe a perfect day.
My perfect day would start in the recording studio and end by playing a live show. I love recording. I love starting with a guitar track that I recorded in my bedroom and adding layer upon layer to build a track that I really get excited about. Finishing the album is bittersweet because even though I am ecstatic about the final product, it also means I don’t get to spend as much time in the studio. I also love playing live shows because there’s nothing like the energy of being on stage with an excited crowd in front of you.
What would you name the offspring of Kanye West and Kim Kardashian, and why?
I wouldn’t even name it because that way I wouldn’t have to hear about it.
Where can people listen to you?
People can listen to my entire album for free on Spotify. You can also find out about future releases and upcoming shows at calebblood.com, facebook.com/calebblood or youtube.com/calebbloodmusic.