Flint drummer Caleb Robinson preps for the release of new album 'Going Home'

FLINT, Michigan — Local drum phenom Caleb Robinson has been charming his way through life with the power of sound since the age of three. Born on the west side of Flint on Hubbard Ave, he studied under Percussion Instructor John Hill at Flint’s School of Performing Arts (FSPA). Robinson continued his education by studying at Mott Community College (MCC) where he earned his Associate's Degree in Fine Arts and Social Sciences.

Inspired by his father who played drums at their family church, Robinson reveres the musical talents of artists such as Tony Williams, Elvin Jones, Omar Hakim, Vinnie Colaiuta, and Isaiah Rashad. Having received the “Outstanding Sophomore Year Music Student Award” and a Scholarship to Berklee College of Music, it's no wonder that the 25-year-old drummer conveys his creativity through the world's most ubiquitous instrument.

Flintside was able to sit down with Robinson to discuss the vision behind his second album, Going Home, which has a release date of April 28. There will be a live presentation of the album being held at Mott Memorial Building (1401 East Court St) from 7 p.m. - 9 p.m. This is a free event sponsored by the MCC Alumni Association

Band members include Rufus Ferguson (Keys/Synth), Matt Ryan (Bass), Antwain Kirkland (Keys), Kent Crawley (Guitar), Wyatt Forhan (Trombone), Patrick Score (Trumpet), Kasan Belgrave (Saxophone), and Jade Nicole (Vocalist).

Promotional flier for Caleb Robinson's album, 'Going Home.'Flintside: How did you develop your method of converting your thoughts and feelings to sound?

C. Robinson: "It’s definitely an emotional thing and [it] depends on how I'm feeling but I like to keep the audience engaged. I like to tell stories. It’s like a book, if I give everything away at the beginning there's no room for later chapters. If you slowly build up the momentum people, slowly become engaged. I try to be intentional in what I'm doing but still freeing my mind. I try not to think. I lean into what just comes out. Sometimes I envision movies or recall certain scenes from shows playing in my mind, and I'll play to the tune of that. I like to close my eyes and rest in what I’m doing and it helps me to just flow."
Caleb Robinson live and in action at Comma Bookstore & Social Hub located in downtown Flint.
Flintside: Your first album, Reaching, was released in 2020. I was able to see that album performed live at The Local 432 and it was an awesome arrangement of emotions expressed through instruments. Describe the difference between creating Reaching and the new project, Going Home.

C. Robinson: "Reaching, my first album, was about me trying to find something within myself. I feel like Reaching was my chapter one. I was just in a place of figuring myself out. Going Home is me actually taking action to figure it out. Whether it’s old relationships, working through past trauma, doing things that I want to do, doing the things that I didn’t do; now it's the time to do it."

Flintside: Do you feel that the FSPA and MCC fostered the right environments for you to be successful in your music career?

C. Robinson: "Yeah, it was easier because I was living down the street. But, I’m also the type of person [who] if I want something, I’m gonna go full out for it. It was easy to make connections and the environments were cool. The people that were in the programs wanted to be there and the ones who didn’t sort of began to fall out so the small settings were helpful."

Flintside: What advice or words of wisdom would you offer other up-and-coming creatives/musicians?

C. Robinson: "If you be yourself, there's room for it!"

For more on Caleb Robinson, visit calebrobinsondrums.com, find him on Instagram, and check out his music on Youtube and all streaming sites.
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Read more articles by Jarielle Tasha Nettles.