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Interview: Celebrating Caleb Hearn’s EP, Birthdays & Funerals

Interview: Celebrating Caleb Hearn’s EP, Birthdays & Funerals

We’re absolutely buzzing in the hive because we have another exclusive interview with Caleb Hearn! His songs have (rightfully) gone viral on TikTok and beyond. His love songs have us screaming, “me and who when?!” because they’re just that beautiful and romantic. Today, he released his new EP, Birthdays & Funerals and we got the chance to chat with him about it!

Hello and welcome back to The Honey POP! We’re so excited to talk to you about your upcoming EP, Birthdays & Funerals. First, what’s your favorite lyric from it? 
Thanks! Okay, my favorite lyric from the EP has gotta be on the song ‘Dear Son or Daughter,’ how it goes at the end of the third chorus: ‘And when the time comes, I’ll let you take care of me, ’til I have to leave, dear son or daughter.’ I like it because it’s a flip of the narrative, and adds a layer of depth to it. 

Who are some of your musical influences for this EP and do any of them vary from your previous music? 
One of my biggest influences for this EP would be Ed Sheeran. I think that his last album was a little under the radar and underrated. It was very acoustic, and I drew a bunch of inspiration from that. So yeah, Ed Sheeran is a big one, and I’d say another one would be The Fray, which is an older band, but I’ve drawn a lot of inspiration from them in the past. I just love the way they make very intimate concepts with a big production. ‘How to Save a Life’ is a very big production, and they pull that off well. I feel like that song influenced this EP a lot – the drums especially. 

For this EP, you got to team up with some incredible producers! How did the writing and/or recording process differ from your previous music? 
First off, the producers that I was able to work with for this EP were just incredible – David Hodges, Dan Swank. ‘How Did You Know’ was Michael Blum and Andrew Tufano, and ‘Dear Son or Daughter’ was Katie Cecil and Chris Ganoudis. All of them were really good producers and writers. I think what was kind of different with this project is I had a vision.

One of the hardest things in music, in general, is learning to let the artist have free rein and just keeping them in the lines instead of talking over them. It’s a balance that’s hard to find, and David Hodges is an incredible example – he’s written some of the biggest songs in the world, and he could easily have taken over that session, and I would have been like, ‘Yeah, whatever you want, you’re better than me,’ but he didn’t – he let me go and created this really cool dynamic between us. Like, we’re both in this room for a reason, and he just wanted to help my vision come to life. All of these guys were really able to help me bring this to life. I had a vision, and they just let that go. 

You’ve said that you’re “musically taking stock of the last ten years” of your life through this EP. What advice would you give to your past self? 
Honestly, now I’m at a place where I feel like I’ve reflected and healed from a lot of things. Not only have I healed, but I really understand a lot more now. So my advice for my younger self would simply be don’t be so hard on yourself. I know it sounds cliché, but I really feel like if I could go back and change something, it would be the feeling of regret. I wouldn’t change the actual things that happened because they made me who I am today – I know that’s cliché too, but I’m a cliché king over here. But yeah, I genuinely feel that way – I would not change any of the circumstances, I would change how I reacted to them and how I would beat myself up. Knowing what I know now, how everything worked out, beating myself up during that time did nothing but tear my confidence down and tear other people apart. If I could go back, that would be the only thing. 

Cover art for Caleb Hearn's Birthdays & Funerals EP
Image source: Stephanie Siau, Courtesy of Nettwerk

‘How Did You Know’ is the only unreleased song from Birthdays & Funerals. Why did you choose that one to be saved for last, for listeners? 
Honestly, it’s kind of a boring answer, but I didn’t have too much of a real reason. What is cool about it, though, is that it was in an order of how I was feeling. It wasn’t like, ‘Oh, I’ll save this for last because in December, it’ll perform better,’ or something strategic. It totally could have gone first, but the difference is I wrote ‘Birthdays and Funerals’ because I was feeling that emotion right then, then ‘Dear Son or Daughter,’ I felt it and released that, and then finally, ‘How Did You Know’ was the last feeling to come up and the last song. It was really just the natural progression of my feelings. ‘How Did You Know’ was a letter to my dad because I am the age he was when he had me, and I was like, ‘Wow, how did you do it?’ Because I can’t imagine how hard and stressful that would have been, because I’m so immature and I could never pull it off now, but he did. That was the perspective of it, I guess. 

You’re playing a few headlining shows at the end of this month. That’s so exciting! What’s your dream headlining show or tour lineup? 
My dream is not that flashy, actually – venue-wise, most people, I feel, would want to go to Madison Square Garden or something, haha. My dream place to headline at would be the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville – it’s just really old, and the sound is incredible; I think it used to be an old church. I’d much rather play there than a stadium or something gigantic.

If I could headline and have people with me, like opening for me, that’s a tough question because I want to pick people whose music I love, but then I think, ‘Realistically, I’d be opening for them!’ I think that Ed Sheeran, John Mayer, Noah Kahan are all current inspirations and would be awesome to play with. I think that whoever’s opening for me, I’d want to love their songs, and I would want them to just be up there with an acoustic guitar and take the crowd that way. Those are the best concerts I’ve been to, and that’s what these guys do so well – they’re such good examples of incredible singer-songwriters that can capture a crowd with their emotion. 

You recently wrote a beautiful song, ‘Think I’m Gonna Love You’ with your fiancée. What was the writing and recording process like? 
It was really cool. Early into my relationship with my fiancée, we used to do this thing where any time we were out doing something or whatever, and we were too scared to say ‘I love you,’ we would just say to each other ‘I think I’m gonna love you,’ and that became the thing we said until eventually, it became real – I think we even said it after we knew we loved each other because we were so nervous.

One day, both being songwriters, we were sitting in my room in my old apartment like, ‘Wait, that could be a song, that’s such a cool idea,’ and so we actually started writing it there, just me and her, and had a few ideas, and then we were like, ‘Well, we’re not producers, so let’s take this into a session and get a third opinion.’ So, Andrew Tufano, an incredible producer, was still in Nashville, and we both went into a session with him and were like, ‘We wanna do a duet, this is our idea,’ and he loved it and helped bring it to life. It was so cool. It was really honest, and the lyrics came so easily because they were just so true to us. The writing and recording process were so fun and came together in like 3 hours. It was so honest and heartfelt – anything we said was a lyric. 

Quite a few people have made some of your songs their wedding songs. Besides your own, what’s a song that’s special to you and Michal? 
It’s actually an old Rascal Flatts song – one of the most pretty songs of all time, ‘God Bless the Broken Road.’ I think that song is so good, just the idea of ‘God bless the broken road that led me straight to you’ – it’s so well written and so true to us. It’s one of the biggest wedding songs, but just everything in our lives that we thought were broken and wrong somehow led us here, and so that’s become our song.

We’re thinking of recording it and putting it in the wedding because everyone wants us to sing at our wedding, but our job is to sing and perform. We don’t want to be working on our wedding, but we want to somehow integrate it and make everyone happy. Maybe secretly recording a cover, not telling anyone but just having it play, and let people figure it out. I think that’ll be really pretty. I guess the cat’s out of the bag, but they’ll just have to come read my article to find out the big surprise. 

Caleb Hearn
Image source: Stephanie Siau

TW: suicide ideation

See Also

You post a lot of heartfelt TikToks. What’s the most touching comment you’ve received? 
Okay, it wasn’t a comment; it was a DM, does that count? It came in after a post that I made really early on, and it was a song called ‘Always Be 2.0,’ and it was about my friend who passed away, and it was really the song that started everything for me. I was so overwhelmed with the attention and the comments when it started blowing up because I was like, ‘I’ve never felt this, I’ve never made an impact like this before,’

and then I got this DM from somebody, saying something a little heavy – it was basically like, ‘Hey, I was literally on the brink of suicide today, and I had driven my car somewhere, and I was going to do it, and your song came up on shuffle, and I turned my car around and went home. I felt like I had a reason to keep going all of a sudden,’ and that message not only made me cry – I don’t cry hardly ever – it also made any doubt I had about being a musician go away. I knew then that this was what I was supposed to do, whether it’s touching one person or a million. If I can change their mind on something, if I can make them feel valued, that’s fulfilling. 

We at The Honey POP love spreading positive vibes and being sweet like honey, what’s one sweet thing you can say about a loved one? 
I could say a lot of things. One person that is so important to me and has made probably the biggest impact in my life would be my nana, my mom’s mother. I wrote a song about her called ‘Half As Good As Her,’ and she is the one person in my life, besides my fiancée, that knows how to love completely unconditionally. There are people that say they can, but when it comes down to it, there’s always one condition. She’s the only person I can think of that truly loves unconditionally.

Tomorrow I could do the stupidest thing in the world, and she’d be the first person I’d call because I know she’d be able to calm me down and be like, ‘Listen, you’re loved, I love you, you’re stupid, but I love you.’ She tells me straight – it’s what I need. She’s such a sweet soul, and she’s made that impact on so many other people. When I moved out, she couldn’t stop being a nana, I think, so now she’s got little kids from the neighborhood that come over to the house and call her nana. That’s her – that’s what she was born to be. She’ll do whatever she can to make someone feel loved. That’s what the song I wrote was about – it was me saying in my life I hope I can be half as good as her.

We want to thank Caleb for coming back and taking the time to chat with us! What do you think of his new EP, Birthdays & Funerals? Do you love it as much as us? Let us know in the comments, on Facebook, Instagram, or by tweeting us @thehoneypop!


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