Twenty-four-year-old Chad Michael Jervis — a 2013 graduate of Cab Calloway School and now a lead singer and guitarist with King Calaway, one of country’s hottest music acts — says he can’t wait to come home to perform for the first time with his new group.
Fresh off their late-night television debut on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, King Calaway will perform in Delaware later this month.
The concert will take place at the 76ers Fieldhouse in Wilmington on November 30 (tickets here), adding another top-flight musical event to the multi-purpose arena’s calendar in its first year of operation. In April, the mega rap star Cardi B performed at the Garasches Lane venue.
King Calaway formed only last summer, when Robert Deaton, executive producer with the Country Music Awards, assembled six artists to form a band in Nashville hoping they would gel and create great music together.
His hunch was right, and the group rocketed to stardom with the release of their first EP in January, which featured the hit single World for Two, which has been streamed over 40 million times. The song soared to the tops of the country radio playlists and the band now has their first full-length album, Rivers.
The band was named one of the seven new country acts to watch out for by Billboard and has had multiple performances at the famed Grand Ole Opry – including appearing on stage with the legendary Ricky Skaggs.
On stage at the Today Show last month, Jervis told Hoda Kotb that the band celebrated when they learned that Garth Brooks was a fan. The band was even more overjoyed when they found out they would be opening for the legendary country music singer.
Also performing on November 30 are Tower Hill School junior singer-songwriting phenom Reece Ratliff, and the award-winning Jazz Chords of Calloway will be opening the show.
We caught up with Jervis to find out more about his time between Cab Calloway and King Calaway how the one-time American Idol contestant landed the opportunity of a lifetime.
Town Square Delaware: Take us from Cab Calloway to King Calaway.
Chad Michael Jervis: The summer after I graduated high school, I went up to Berklee. I was there for about a year. But while I was there, we formed a band with some buddies of mine – The House on Cliff – and we were like a rock band basically. And we decided to go focus on doing that full time. We were getting a lot of offers to go on the road and tour, so I dropped out of school for the time being.
And then we were on the road for a few years, actually going back and forth from Los Angeles to Boston, constantly. We did that for about three years, and then I found myself back in Boston. Around 2017 not a lot of work was coming in. So, I decided to go back to Berklee.
And then while I was there that same year (2018) I met Robert Deaton, who helped put King Calaway together. He was out speaking at Berklee, and I met him and we stayed in touch. He already identified the other guys [for King Calaway], and he just wanted to see if something could kind of work between the six of us.
So I went down to Nashville, and I met the guys. I loved all the guys at first — they were all super nice. We got along great. But we just wanted to see if a band would be able to work. So when we got into the practice room, we just clicked super well musically, and we all decided that there was no way, we can’t not be a band!
So, and then, then we start working on what the King Calaway sound would basically be. We are all very much inspired by harmony-based groups like Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young and, and the Eagles and trying to fit that into a contemporary country scene but also to be able to explore and dip into other genres as well.
But now we’ve been doing it for about a year and a half, and the things that we’ve got to do since then have just been absolutely crazy.
TSD: How did Robert Deaton pull you guys together?
CMJ: Essentially we all had an affinity and a desire to go down to Nashville and be involved in music scene there. I was a late bloomer when it came to country. But I always felt like the next direction that I would want to take would be in that direction, because the older I got, the closer I got to country music. I always wanted to pursue a music career down there.
And so when I met Robert I felt like that was the perfect opportunity for me to do that. Robert was connected to the two British guys from the UK, Simon and Jordan, through another friend of his in the business, Jonathan Shone, who was the musical director for One Direction.
And the other guys [in King Calaway] knew Jason Halbert, who was Kelly Clarkson’s musical director. So basically, through all those contacts, Deaton was able to see that the six of us would be able to kind of mesh musically together.
TSD: When did you realize the potential appeal of your band?
CMJ: I had known about the Bobby Bones Show for years [a nationally syndicated country music radio show]. And we were invited onto that show, and that was the moment where I was like — this is the real deal, the real thing. But then we did Jimmy Kimmel, which was our first national TV performance, and that lead to the Today Show and the Late Late Show with James Corden.
When I grew up, I imagined wanting to have a career in music. That’s a part of the dream, to go on these shows and perform in front of a live national television audience. So all those little moments were big dreams coming true for me. And the more things that we have planned for the future, I’m just incredibly excited about.
TSD: How much did Cab Calloway School play a part in your success?
CMJ: Oh, almost everything. Growing up, even before I even knew of Cab [Calloway] as a school, I started developing a love for music, and for theater and for performing in general.
And when my parents told me, ‘Well there’s a school here that can help you with that,’ that immediately changed my life. I was there from sixth grade to the end of high school. And so much of the performer and singer I want to be was shaped through going to Cab. Getting to study and perform with some incredible students and teachers completely shaped my life. It was the only reason why I was able to do any of this — because I went to Cab. It gave me the courage to move up to Berklee and study music up there and pursue my dreams, take chances and fail.
I failed every once in a while, and there were moments where I felt like music wasn’t really going to happen for me. But because of the courage I developed at Cab, I was able to pick myself back up and just keep moving forward.
TSD: What have critics said about King Calaway’s first album?
CMJ: It’s so awesome to hear people’s reactions, and we’re super honored that people are really enjoying it.
We’ve been able to go out and perform live a whole lot this year. And they’re able to hear some of those aspects from a live show in the record because we recorded the whole thing live, essentially. We recorded the album in the Castle Recording Studios in Franklin, Tennessee, and most instruments were recorded live all the same time and vocals – between me, Jordan and Simon – we recorded at the same time in the same room. And we just wanted to get as much of a live feel from our live show into the record.
TSD: How excited are you to perform back in your home town?
CMJ: I am really looking forward to the concert at the 76ers Fieldhouse because this is the first time I’ll be coming to Delaware with this new group. And I’m excited to like see a bunch of people that I grew up with and grew up around — like the Delaware scene — to show them what I’ve been working on for the past year and a half. Coming back to Delaware is just always a fun experience getting to see like so many familiar faces, and I’m just really looking forward to that.
For tickets and more information on the event go to: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/king-calaway-tickets-77862604145