Oct 16, 2023

From Struggle to Success: An Interview with Edi Callier, Winner of the TUFF Song Contest’s ‘The Road to Nashville’

We sat down with Edi Callier, the talented musician who triumphed in the 2022 TUFF Song Contest’s ‘The Road to Nashville’. Edi’s story is a testament to the power of music and the importance of perseverance in the face of adversity. Discover his journey, his creative process, and the profound message behind his award-winning song, as well as his insights on mental health in the music industry.


In the world of music, where dreams are chased and creativity knows no bounds, triumph often emerges from the depths of personal struggles. Edi Callier’s journey embodies this spirit of resilience and artistic expression. We had the privilege of sitting down with Edi, the talented musician who secured victory in the TUFF Song Contest’s ‘The Road to Nashville’ last year, to delve into his experiences, his music, and the vital message he shares with the world.


Experience Edi’s Journey: An Exclusive Interview


Congratulations on winning the TUFF Song Contest’s ‘The Road to Nashville’ last year! Can you tell us about your experience participating in the contest and the emotions you felt when you found out you had won?

Edi’s Response: It was such a wonderful experience getting to meet all of the amazingly talented artists from around the world and getting a chance to spend time together, jam together, and to ultimately come together for such a great cause. The first thought that came to mind when they made the announcement was actually shock and surprise! I’d gotten so involved and excited about just being included that winning was the farthest thing from my mind but receiving and holding that award was such an immense honour and to this day, I’m being grateful and will forever cherish those moments.

The TUFF Song Contest focuses on raising awareness about the importance of mental health in the music industry. How do you think your winning song resonated with this theme, and what message did you aim to convey through your music?

Edi’s Response: I wrote my song that won, “Alone”, during a tough period in my life. My brother had just passed, and I felt like the last person I’d usually lean on in times like those was the very person that was no longer there. There’s a line in the song that says “oh no, I can’t stay, but I hope it gets better than this” and that kind of mirrored the response of a lot of the people around me during that time. Many people (and I dare many artists in particular) a lot of times feel this need to be figures of strength in hard times for others, but when things get hard for those people, the support system isn’t always a reciprocal one and the pain just gets ignored or “channelled into the art.” I wrote this song, though, with the intention of letting people know that it’s okay not to be okay and to express vulnerability in times when you need to the most.

Video of the artist’s YouTube channel playing an acoustic version of Alone.

Can you share some insights into the creative process behind your winning song? How did you approach writing and composing it?

Edi’s Response: At the beginning of the pandemic, I found myself stranded in Los Angeles with nothing but my laptop and my instruments. I used that time to produce and write what became my first album but after listening through it, I felt like there was something missing, so I sat down at the old upright piano in my living room and asked myself what I was feeling at that moment. I then started playing and the words, melody, and chords just poured out of me and by the time I was finished with the first run-through, I’d written the entire song (a very rare occurrence for me). It felt so raw and so real at that moment, so I grabbed a couple of microphones and moved my entire studio setup to the living room and recorded it right then and there and that first recording is actually the one that made it onto the album.

Mental health challenges are prevalent in the music industry. How has your personal experience or observation of mental health issues influenced your music and your career as a musician?

Edi’s Response: I can definitely say that the mental health challenges that have come with the loss of my brother and the loss of my mother over the course of the last few years has changed me to my core and in turn has changed the way that I make and experience music, the type of music I make, and the purpose behind it. I’ve always had a love for music, but it was only when I realised just how much healing power it has in times of need that I began to really dig into that side of composition. Seeing the difference it’s made in real time has been life-altering. Hearing the stories of people that connect to these songs and seeing the impact that it makes truly puts into perspective what I’m really doing it for and what this all means.

The music industry is known for its highs and lows. How do you maintain your own mental well-being while pursuing your passion in this industry?

Edi’s Response: It’s a constant journey and it’s been steadily evolving for me. I honestly believe pursuing this passion in and of itself has been both the saviour and turmoil of my mental well-being because the industries of the arts can be so hard to break through and it comes with sacrifices, hardships, and challenges unlike almost any other profession but at the end of the day, we come to the conclusion that there is nothing in this world that we’d rather do and nothing else that can truly make us as happy as the arts.

What advice would you give to aspiring musicians who may be dealing with mental health challenges while pursuing their dreams in the music industry?

Edi’s Response: Push through it but also don’t be afraid to ask for help. Allow yourself grace, surround yourself with love, seek therapy, and rest when you know you need it.

As the winner of the TUFF Song Contest, you’ve set a great example for aspiring artists who may be hesitant to enter similar competitions. What would you say to other musicians who might be considering participating in future editions of the contest to inspire and motivate them to take that step?

Edi’s Response: You are enough, your art is enough, and of the billions of people on this planet, there is someone out there that needs to hear what you have to say. Any opportunity that you have to further spread that message, take it. This is one of those opportunities. Don’t let it pass you by because it could be your chance to make a difference.

Photo from that special day: Edi being awarded first place in the Song Contest.


As we wrap up this insightful interview, Edi Callier’s journey from struggle to success stands as an inspiring testament to the power of music and the importance of addressing mental health in the music industry. His willingness to share his personal experiences and vulnerability through his music is a source of strength and healing for others.


Take the Next Step: If you’re an aspiring musician, now is your chance to make your mark. Join this year’s edition of the TUFF Song Contest: ‘The Road to Memphis’ and let your music be heard. Your unique voice and story have the power to inspire and make a difference. Don’t miss this opportunity to share your music with the world. Embrace the journey and let your music shine!