Dwight Callender is marching to the beat of his own drums.
And in the music business he stands head and shoulders above everyone else –– literally –– when it comes to playing the drums and steel pan. But just how did this phenomenal drummer get to be where he is today? Dwight told Bajan Vibes it all started from back in primary school.
“I was accustomed to watching the steel orchestra at lunch when I was like six or seven; so when I got old enough to join, I just decided to try my hand at it. I guess I was just a natural for it,” he said with a coy shrug.
Dwight then took his talents along with him to the Christ Church Foundation School, with big hopes of starting a steel orchestra there –– but couldn’t as the school did not have the required material. That disappointment just made room for him to discover a new talent and love: playing the drums.
“When I went to Foundation, I tried to start a steel orchestra when I was in first form, but the school didn’t have any pans. So one day I went to band rehearsal and just saw the drums and decided, ‘Well, I’m accustomed holding sticks, let me hold some more sticks’,” the 23-year-old said with a laugh.
“It didn’t take me too long to learn the drums. I had the coordination already. So from there I just had to hone the skills; and I decided I could make a career out if it,” Dwight explained.
Upon realizing he had the talent, Dwight decided to take the drums very seriously. From there, as they say, the rest is history.
At 18, Dwight joined the Energy Band –– known then as Strategy: The Energy Band –– and since, he says, the journey so far has been nothing short of amazing and has opened many doors for him.
“Kirk [Brown] has opened a lot of avenues for me. I was able to go on to do the Reggae Festival, soca festivals. We did some travelling to New York in 2011. In December, 2011, we did a gig with Alison Hinds, which made me then her drummer. I did about six shows abroad with her in St Vincent, St Lucia, Jamaica, St Maarten . . . .
“I also did Panoramas in Antigua with the Mosaic Steel Orchestra.
“It’s been going pretty great so far. Just continuous work,” Dwight added with a smile and a nod of the head.
He said the highlight of his journey so far had been “being able to travel the world, seeing different cultures; being able to play in front of a large number of people doing what I love, enjoying it”.
Dwight is currently preparing to travel to Bonaire next month for a tour and this is just a small glimpse of the plans he has for himself in the very near future. For him, success is inevitable, and he is not stopping until he reaches the heights he knows he is capable of.
“I’m about to take on building my own studio, so I can get the ideas out my head easier instead of having to wait on someone else. I’m thinking seriously about investing in my craft.
“I’m thinking about going on a cruise ship to work. Just basically investing in and taking my craft to another level. I also want to get into producing. I would get some pointers from my fellow bandmates and see where it goes from there,” he added while discussing some of his future plans.
And he is not keeping his talents to himself. Dwight also teaches drums and steel pan during his spare time.
“Right now I teach at the Springer Memorial Secondary. I’ve also done one-on-one classes for the steel pan and drums. Also at church.”
Dwight offered many thanks to all who had had a hand in his career thus far.
“I would like to thank everyone who has had a hand in my career. Anyone who showed interest and invested in me. I look up to Kirk Brown for sure. He’s a business guru and I take a lot of tips from him for sure.
“Musically I take inspiration from all the musicians I come across. As it relates to drums and musicality, I look up to Melvin Elic and Lori Worrell,” he said.
And he offered some advice to fellow musicians and young aspiring musicians.
“Don’t let the struggles deter you; focus on the goal that you have in mind. Stick at it and try your best. Music is life and has no limits!”