Victor ‘VC’ Caldwell’s Chattanooga ‘church experience’ evident in his music 


A multitude of entertainers from all genres can trace their musical origins to the church. Grammy award-winning jazz and gospel producer Victor “VC” Caldwell is no different. 

Caldwell was born into musical royalty, with the church playing a major part in his upbringing. His father was the legendary Reverend Dr. Virgil Julius Caldwell, who served as the pastor of Chattanooga’s New Monumental Baptist Church for more than 40 years.

The late Dr. Caldwell was considered an outstanding musician–recording three albums, while playing the saxophone and the piano. He also authored 18 books, wrote Sunday School literature for the National Baptist Convention and performed in and wrote numerous plays. 

Dr. Caldwell worked as a public school social studies teacher, choir director and band instructor in Union City, Tenn. before accepting the job as pastor of New Monumental Baptist Church in 1968.

A line from Dr. Caldwell’s April 30, 2015 obituary noted that, “His Christian principles and genuine interest in equal rights and humanity kindled a spark in the lives of all who knew him.” 

Growing up in Chattanooga, in a devout family, VC Caldwell’s church experiences led him to focus on penning, engineering and producing invigorated music–with the aesthetics of spirituals, gospel and the blues forming its bedrock.

“As an artist I want my work to be a true reflection of who I am,” Caldwell said. “I want it to be known that what I say is what I do, and is who I am and how I live.”

Caldwell has either played on or produced music with a host of iconic artists, including Joe Sample, Beth Nielsen Chapman, Whitney Houston’s “Jesus Loves Me” on The Bodyguard movie soundtrack, CeCe Winans’ gold Grammy-winning album “Alone In His Presence” and Donnie McClurkin’s breakthrough singles “Stand” and “Speak To My Heart.”

He’s also produced songs for Andraé Crouch, T.D. Jakes, The Clark Sisters, Yolanda Adams, BeBe Winans, Smokie Norful, Brandy, Take 6, The Winans, and many others.

The Franklin, Tenn.-based vocalist/composer has readily incorporated choral-type singing and overtly spiritual themes into his own gospel/jazz single, “Can God Trust You?,” from his second solo project of the same name. The full-length project features Kirk Whalum, Kevin Whalum, Paul Jackson Jr., Ruby Camille and Rod McGaha. 

Caldwell said his primary goal with the Feb. 24 release of “Can God Trust You?” is “to use music as a tool to spread a message. The message is, to allow God to trust you as much as you say you trust Him. The album says, ‘Can I be trusted as much as I trust in things like the dollar bill?’ Which is not almighty, by the way. It says ‘In God We Trust,’ but can God trust us?” Caldwell is represented by Unda The Hat Media Entertainment.