[INTERVIEW] Austin Brown & Tony Touch Open Up About Their CaliYork Connection

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CaliYork, comprised of singer Austin Brown (son of Rebbie / nephew of the late great Michael) – of the Jackson dynasty – and original b-boy-deejay-producer-rapper Tony Touch, have come together again for their latest collaboration, “Dirty Little Secret,” featuring Snoop Dogg, the follow-up to the duo’s 2019 gem, “Ride.”

We caught up with the pair to talk about their recent releases and their upcoming new project.


Parlé Mag: Let’s hop right into this newest Snoop Dogg assisted single, “Dirty Little Secret,” — Tell me about this particular track; how did it come to fruition?
CaliYork:  Single came about as organic as CaliYork; I [Austin] originally made the beat a few years ago in my room…it naturally had a funk feel paying homage to the Prince era mixed with the ‘90’s dance movement…while the subject matter was based off of a real experience with an ex-girlfriend. Sent the vibe (to) Tony Touch, who did his magic and suggested that Snoop Dogg would sound great on it. He sent it out, Snoop recorded his vocals himself and sent it back, and the rest is now what you hear. What’s cool is that I ended (up) running into Snoop that next week at Diddy’s house, and got to speak to him and thank him for what he blessed us with on the tune.

Parlé Mag: “Dirty Little Secret” follows 2016’s “Show Up At My Place” — Why such a lengthy delay between records?
CaliYork:  Just timing overall, and the both of us wanting the project to represent the true hybrid of what the collaboration is really all about. We both are moving around a lot and also have our current projects, but what’s great is that we’re friends and naturally always circle back…and the album will show just that vibe. We had the “Ride” record, featuring Syles P and Brian London, in 2019, and then the world shut down in 2020. So we are back at it just in time.

Parlé Mag:  That said, does this new entry signify that there is a full length album on deck? fingers crossed And if so, any specific details; i.e. title, favorite selection(s), cameo appearance(s), etcetera, that you all can reveal and / or divulge regarding upcoming said set at this particular point in time?
CaliYork:  Yes, there definitely is an album on the way that we’re putting out in 2022. We have been making songs for a while, and have found the middle ground for the sonic. Great collaborations in the works already with Snoop Dogg, Styles P, Brian London…and some we’re finalizing. The plan with this is to make everyone dance together in unity. We’re coming from the world just opening back up, to a new renaissance of expression and we’re happy to (be) a part of it. Musically there is this record called “CaliYork” that we’re excited about that has the naturally N.Y.C. grit on the production, while being smooth straight Hip Hop vocally. Live instruments mixed with samples and 808’s.

Parlé Mag: For those who don’t know, tell me how you all came together in the first place to form CaliYork?
CaliYork:  We met in N.Y.C. at the legendary Funk Box through a mutual friend, DJ Kelly G. Naturally both loved music, and organically started vibing out in the studio and decided to make a project together paying homage to where we both grew up. It’s all about culture, dance and that’s what we connected on…mixed with a love (of) Hip Hop, R’n’B and Soul music, being the core of what we do.

Parlé Mag: And, why do you all feel that the chemistry between you two works so well?
CaliYork:  The chemistry works well because we’re both students of the game, and have respect for the music as the core. We study, we dig and we move with what musically feels right. It’s all rooted in friendship, and when you mix good music with that, it becomes easy.

Parlé Mag: How then do you all describe and / or define the style of music that you all create and perform?
CaliYork:  We would describe the music as a gumbo of everything that makes you feel and want to move musically in one pot; Soul, R’n’B, Hip Hop, Funk and Dance. Telling stories about real life, while playing into the sonics that made you originally fall in love with music. It’s those sounds you would hear in the kitchen when your family was together having dinner; dancing, expressing and celebrating. It doesn’t matter the race, gender or age, CaliYork is meant for everyone to have fun together. Tony, of Puerto Rican descent, and Austin, Black American, we grew up hearing all styles and rhythms which are all rooted in Africa, so we naturally hear very similarly but different at the same time, which makes it a unique respectful collaboration.

Parlé Mag: Success, what do you all attribute yours to?
CaliYork:  That’s a good question…the success is attributed to the love of music and art, and keeping that first. When you base it on that, you’ll always work in your purpose due to you naturally attracting the success because of the positivity and respect you’re putting out there. Hard work and when you love it, it doesn’t feel like work, it’s just what you do.

Parlé Mag: What do you all want people to get from your music?
CaliYork:  We want people to be able to come home, put on CaliYork, dance and celebrate life everyday that you’re blessed to have it. To remember that it doesn’t matter what coast you’re on or what part of the world you’re from, we all feel and move the same way when the right intention is put forward. Nothing does that better than music.

Parlé Mag: On a more serious note, are you all happy with the current state of music?
CaliYork:  Like anything else there is good and bad, but overall the state of music is headed in a good direction. We’re in a time where there isn’t an idea that can’t be done, and technology has caught up to where you can create with anyone from anywhere. People are listening to everything, and more open and receptive.

Parlé Mag: Do you all have any other outside / additional aspirations, maybe even completely away from music?
CaliYork:  Definitely! To give back more and help in places where natural freedoms that come with being from a free will standpoint isn’t as tangible in a lot of parts of the world. Being an artist and traveling you see how badly people have it, not just in our country but all around the world. Some places where clean drinking water is hard to come by. Much to be done, and that’s where a lot of passion is leading next.

Parlé Mag: To date, what has been y’all’s greatest career moment(s), at least thus far anyway?
CaliYork:  For me, Austin, it’s been being able to be on a track with Snoop Dogg and DJ Tony Touch. I grew up listening to both of these legends, and it’s humbling to be able to have a record with them…along with being blessed to play shows around the world, and do what I love as a job.

For me, Tony, I would have to say I have been blessed to have traveled the world for over 25 years, representing the culture and being able to share music and perform everywhere

Parlé Mag: One track of y’all’s that you all think defines you all and why?
CaliYork:  “Ride”; the mix of East Coast grit on Tony’s beat and Styles P verse, mixed with the smooth West Coast on the vocals. Brian London brings that island party storyelling that loops it all together. We wanted it to feel like our version of the Fugees, with all the uniqueness coming into hybrid on one track to make that cool sonic blend.

Parlé Mag: Finally, what’s next for CaliYork?
CaliYork:  The album, Austin Brown and Tony Touch Presents CaliYork, which we expect to be out by summer-time, along with some CaliYork shows to be announced soon.

Parlé Mag:  Is there anything I left out, or just plain forgot to mention?
CaliYork:  “Ride,” featuring Styles P and Brian London, out now on all streaming platforms, along with “Dirty Little Secret,” featuring Snoop Dogg.

Parlé Mag:  Any “closing” thought(s) for our readers?
CaliYork:  Thank you for supporting the music and the movement, and to remember that no idea or goal is intangible. As long as you work hard, stay humble and keep going, you’ll always get to your destination. It’s not about how you start, but it’s always about how you finish.

…Peace and Love!

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