Born in Hammersmith, Elisa Caleb spent the first 13 years of her life in Barbados. Whilst in Barbados Caleb sang in school plays and the choir, but never reached solo status. Music wasn’t really a major influence on her life. All that changed on her return to London, when for her 13th birthday she was given a small, black hi-fi. Suddenly she could not just listen to radio and the cassettes, but she had a small recording button which she never took full advantage of. Before that though, she would have discover jazz music. That discovery came all of a year later with her discovery of Jazz FM. Educated musically through listening to Herbie Hancock and Ella Fitzgerald, it was Sarah Vaughan who really made a big impression.
At 16 she left school for college, meeting musicians Femi Temowo, Michael Olatuja, Jonathan Idiagbonya and Jo Caleb. The four would jam for hours in the music department, whilst Elisa stared at the sky listening, lost in music. Alas, she still didn’t sing. Leaving college to study law at Sheffield University, everything changed drastically in her second year. Leaving her studies behind due to breast cancer, Caleb went home to London to recover. Two years later, all treatments behind her, she was told she would have to restart her degree given the amount of time she had taken off. With life put into a new perspective, Caleb prioritised. She married her best friend Jo and they became christians. An established musician, he took her along to Tim Whitehead’s jam session in 2005. Her voice was finally found.
Without doubt a notable upcoming artist.
Having firmly settled into her new nest, Caleb’s debut album Carry Me Home is a fitting tribute to the jazz musician’s who inspired her. Effortless renditions of classics including “Every Time We Say Goodbye” and “My Funny Valetine” sit easily amongst new compositions by both Caleb and her husband Jo. Lead single “The Wind” is a tear-inducingly elegant tribute from Jo to Elisa. Elegantly capturing the essence of his heartfelt outpouring, the pair make an unbreakable musical team. A breathy reworking of “Swing Low” could divide opinions, with many favouring the original.
Caleb is without doubt a notable upcoming artist. Going against the trends, she is no copycat but nor is she trying to redefine a genre. Caleb is clearly passionate about jazz and her contribution is one of a commercially relevant, yet artistically dynamic artist. Both her emotional and musical journeys have taught her to appreciate the finer details. Surrounded by a consummate instrumental setting, you should definitely not refuse when Caleb asks you to Carry Me Home.