Ormond Beach's Kaleb Lee is now part of a duo, with a record and tour to follow.
Kaleb Lee has his record deal.
After the Ormond Beach resident starred on "The Voice" with fellow Top 6 contestant Pryor Baird, the two struck up a friendship, and now they're a duo, signing with Black River Entertainment. Their first record — after they each released solo debuts — is expected this year. They also launch the Country's Back tour on March 1 in California, with Daytona Beach and Bunnell dates to follow.
They spoke with the Ormond Beach Observer about their journey, their process, and getting interrupted by the president.
You have released one song together already: “Don’t Do Me Like That,” from your 2018 season on “The Voice.” How was that moment different from performing together today?
Pryor: The first time we ever had to do a song together was that song, and I remember the rehearsal. We went over the song three or four times. "I’ll do this part, you do that part." I’ve played with other people and it’s a lot of work, but from the very first moment with Kaleb it was very easy. We went over it like five times, and "Hey, let’s go have a beer." Nailed it.
"We’ve got a lot of dreams ahead that are on the radar now."
Kaleb: There was ease and comfortability, something special. In the beginning, we didn’t know what that was, because we were put together to sing that song. It was divine, if you will.
Do you plan to write songs together? What is your process?
Kaleb: We’re writing together, writing independently, shopping songs from other writers. Our process is, Let's find the very best songs we can. We only have one shot to make that first impression.
Pryor: We know our swim lane. I know my part when we go into a room to write a song. I’m not the greatest with words. I can come up with an idea, but my part's the melody. I put some sort of sound to it, and Kaleb’s great at what we does. Kaleb is more sultry and cleaner, and I'm super loud and obnoxious.
Kaleb: As a songwriter, the challenge is always to not write the song that the last person wrote, but still keep it relevant and enjoyable for people to listen to. We try to put ourselves into the song and keep them unique.
What was it like when you sang for children with disabilities through Easterseals?
Kaleb: We had such an amazing time. We were invited to come and play a few songs for the kids, and it’s aways our pleasure to be involved in our community and do what we can to impact the next generation. We got to see them sing and dance and clap and yell, and for us, on a large scale or a small scale, that’s why we do what we do: We love to see people express emotion from our performances, and that was an opportunity to see that in a very cool environment.
Kaleb, in your song “Nothin’ on You,” you refer to Sundays at the Speedway. What was it like to play there during the Daytona 500 festivities?
Kaleb: We played about an hour before the 500 kicked off, and it was one of the coolest moments we’ve had. Just as we were singing our very last song, Air Force One flew in, and we stopped midway, and everyone took it all in. Then we finished the song out. So we had the opportunity to unofficially announce the president of the United States.
Pryor: Growing up in California, we had a dirt track, and we watched the races on TV, but I had never been to a NASCAR race. Just to be on that stage with Kaleb — there's so much energy and chemistry — and to be able to do that in a place like the 500 with so much history was a very cool experience. Racing is built on people's dreams. All those 101,000 people are there to watch 40 drivers chase their dream, and we get to share it.
What makes you different from other country duos?
Kaleb: There’s not a lot of country music duos. You have Florida Georgia Line, Dan and Shay. We're taking a different approach stylistically. We’re trying to go after more of a pure country music market, more like the Brooks and Dunn of the day. We're trying to bring a little country back to this world.