The sound of a soulful voice and acoustic guitar bled through my walls early Sunday morning as singer/songwriter Calista Singley warmed her voice early for a later gig in Billings that day. Despite leaving the Murray Bar in Livingston at 3 a.m., this young woman rose with dedication and drive to share her music with the world.
Norris Hot Springs, Wild Joe’s, Teds Montana Grill, The Bay, The Hauf — if you have been out at all in the last year you may have already heard of this curly-haired, free-spirited traveling musician named Calista Singley. Featured in the Wild Joes Promo and on posters taped up around Bozeman, her name has become locally known in the bars and shops of Bozeman, MT. She has also played gigs in Billings, Lewistown, Missoula and Helena.
Born in Lewistown Singley began playing guitar at 14, and at 15 she began performing at breweries, bars and anywhere that would let her play. She has now been playing for over eight years and has lots of experience in the music business, booking her own shows and learning self promotion.
After nine months of playing around the state, Singly decided to slow down during the winter of 2013. Now, the 23-year-old is performing part time on top of a full time bartending job, but shows no signs of fatigue or stopping. Despite her busy performing schedule she still makes time for open mic at the Hauf, which is her favorite place to play.
“I feel most comfortable behind a guitar,” she tells me, “I am actually not that great at talking with people, so music makes it easy for me to explain my emotions and feelings.” She describes her sound as blues, soulful songs that are rock inspired. Singly writes all original songs including, “Tuesday,” “Words like Water” and “Taste of Me,” and draws her inspiration from artists Janis Joplin, Tom Petty and John Mayer. “My music is sort of like my diary,” she explains,”I’m able to speak to the world about difficult things I could not say otherwise and it keeps me sane.”
Alongside her personal songs, Singly likes to give her audience a chance to request music for her to cover. In December, Singley was part of a themed evening every Friday for four weeks at Wild Joes Coffee. The first Friday was songwriter covers, the second all originals, the third was Christmas music and the fourth was all audience request. She set a notepad by the door and ended up covering everything from Frank Ocean to Carly Rae Jepsen (which she was less than thrilled about).
Currently, she has a five song EP available on iTunes, a YouTube channel and a Facebook page promoting her music. She has 11 full songs and she is hoping to transition an album but has been busy with her full schedule.
“The album is coming!” she exclaims, with demand coming from her strong fan base and supporters all around the state. Recently, on top of her own music and work, she was invited to join the local band, Petty Band, who have been performing for a little over a year. “Right now we are working on getting me caught up, but I am really excited about it,” Singly said.
Singley is passionate, driven and dedicated to writing music and performing her “diary” to all of those who are willing to listen. With an ear for rhythm and a heart for playing, Singley will be around the music scene for a long time.