Cal Shapiro credits a lot of what he knows within the music business arena to his days as one half of Timeflies, a pop-rap duo formed in the dormitory of Tufts University.

“It was all hustle from Day 1,” says Shapiro, known as CAL artistically. “Most of our early contracts were things I did on Legal Zoom. We didn’t really have the money or expertise but that’s what makes you learn,  and learn fast.”

Fast forward to the present, and CAL has ventured on his own with his debut album, “The Identity Crisis.”

And make no mistake about it, while CAL appreciates the time spent and lessons learned with Timeflies and Rob Resnick, he says writing and creating music on his own vibes perfectly with him.

ED Magazine spoke with CAL to find out how his previous work with Timeflies inspired his solo album, why the single “AFU” — available to industry DJs via — is suited for gentlemen’s clubs and more. 

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ED: Have you met anyone who you were awestruck by? Anyone whose celebrity maybe even left you shy?

CAL: Met Bill Clinton on a golf course once. That was pretty epic.

ED: ”I want to kind of take a step back to take a giant step forward,” I read that quote in an interview you gave and I’m curious how this “step back” is going so far?

CAL: Not sure it could be going any better… Everyday’s a grind and that’s just how I like it.

ED: You touched on how life in California is more “transactional” than in, say, NYC, so have you adjusted to that lifestyle? What does that “transactional” life mean for you as a musician?

Cal Shapiro, known as CAL, formed one-half of the pop-rap duo Timeflies.
Cal Shapiro, known as CAL, formed one-half of the pop-rap duo Timeflies.

CAL: I don’t know if you ever adjust. It just is what it is, that being said… I think there’s no better town to be in as a musician – you’re kind of 1 degree of separation from everyone and everything.

ED: What was the creative process like when it was just you with “The Identity Crisis” versus when you wrote with Rob for Timeflies?

CAL: It was a complete reinvention. Writing with Rob was kind of all I knew. We work so well together and had a process that was amazing for us. But going out on my own was a chance to challenge everything I knew and explore new ways of creating and collaborating.

ED: How have you embraced the vulnerability you’ve injected “The Identity Crisis”? Is it easier or harder than you thought writing lyrics about yourself and your demons?

CAL: It’s weird. The way music is consumed now makes it so immediate, so tangible. I think the weird thing is family and friends calling and asking specifically what I meant by this or that line. My favorite artists are ones I connected with because I felt like I understood them. I knew to get the same thing out of myself I was going to peel back the curtain a little bit and show some of my vulnerabilities, my truths.

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ED: With so many platforms via social media and the internet, do you think it’s easier to be heard/seen or harder to be identified among the masses?

CAL: Easier and harder. Both are true. What a weird time to be alive, but shit, it’s pretty amazing. While you can get discovered overnight there’s so much to try to compete with. So you just have to not compete. Just do you.

“I once had a friend ‘make it rain’ (at a strip club) then proceed to collect all the money from the stage and do it again. We shamed him pretty hard. If you wanna make it rain, throw more money!” – CAL

ED: StripJoints services DJs at gentlemen’s clubs nationwide, so why would “AFU” be a good choice to play at a gentlemen’s club?

"AFU" is a track off CAL's debut solo album, "The Identity Crisis."
“AFU” is a track off CAL’s debut solo album, “The Identity Crisis.”

CAL: I mean the song makes you wanna move and kind of explains the feeling you get in a gentlemen’s club. It’s a very primal response, kind of without thinking to say, ‘Damn, just seeing you has me ALL FUCKED UP.’

ED: Have a good gentlemen’s club story from your travels?

CAL: Too many. But I once had a friend “make it rain” then proceed to collect all the money from the stage and do it again. We shamed him pretty hard. If you wanna make it rain, throw more money!

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