By Sarah Schuchard
With twenty-three albums, a record label, an Olympic performance, and the release of his newest album, Have Faith, one could say that rapper, songwriter and student Calvin Tiu — known under the moniker Kalvonix — is nothing less than extraordinary.
But, in his own eyes he is nothing more than “that little kid” who has a hard time growing up because of his spastic diplegia — a type of cerebral palsy — that causes him to be in a wheelchair most of the time.
Calvin hopes his latest album, Have Faith, will be “seen as one of if not the greatest work [he has] done.”
Featuring a lot of party songs and female vocals, Calvin wants people to see the fun guy that he can be intellectually and creatively.
Throughout the album, there is a playful attitude and a sense of femininity as Tiu expresses that he finds a woman audience more appealing and fun to rap for. He wants to show that he is not pretending to be tough like the stereotypical rapper, and uses his music to express his sensitive side and the struggles that he deals with on a daily basis.
“Music is everywhere and that is why I feel like nobody can stop me,” he says.
After 22 self-produced solo albums, it’s not surprising that it only took Tiu two months to complete the album, featuring all of 20 tracks.
Along with a fun, upbeat party side comes a deeper side to Kalvonix, revealing the struggles with his disability.
Within the emotion and struggle that is remarkably evident in his songs, Tiu expresses one of his many struggles is the feeling of being left behind.
“It was hard for me to enter university. I feel I can’t do what [my friends] are doing because I’m not ready and too afraid,” he says.
As well as being a student at Kwantlen Polytechnic University, Tiu also loves to perform for people with disabilities because he feels he can inspire them to do more and follow their dreams by example.
Tiu wants Have Faith to let people get to know him and see that he’s “not just some guy in a wheelchair.”
“I need people to have faith in me because if they don’t, then I can’t have faith in me. So, if they have faith in me, the better chance I have for making it,” he says.
Although it would be his dream to “make it” in the music industry, Tiu isn’t a money-hungry rapper.
“I’m not in it for the money and I’m down to do any type of gig, whether it be for three people or three thousand.”
Rapper, songwriter, and student, Calvin Tiu is just a guy living his dream, trying to challenge peoples perspectives through his music.
“Hopefully things will work out and hopefully god will take me into a direction,” Tiu professes.