Colbie Caillat welcomes change. Being a Gemini might have something to do with it, or it could just be her innate predilection for progression. Either way, the Grammy Award-winning, multiplatinum songstress’s fourth album, Gypsy Heart, and EP Gypsy Heart: Side A, see her artistically evolve yet again.
“I like change,” she affirms. “I have a hard time picking one thing I love. Gypsy Heart sums up everything I am. I love listening to Bob Marley at the beach, while drinking a kale smoothie in my twenty-dollar Target bathing suit with zero makeup. At the same time, I love having my amazing style and hair and makeup team get me ready for shows. Other times, I’ll be dancing to dubstep in my dressing room, while drinking Jameson and eating donuts for breakfast. I’m all of those things. Musically, Gypsy Heart has the singer-songwriter style fans have loved all these years, but it’s more up-tempo with beats and heavy production on some songs. Combining those two sides was my goal.”
She certainly succeeds as well. After 2012’s Christmas in the Sand, she spent the next year tirelessly writing with an acoustic guitar at a cozy house overlooking the beach in Malibu.
“I recorded an entire record inspired by Paul Simon’s Graceland and Simon & Garfunkel’s ‘Cecelia’,” she recalls. “After turning it in to my label, they suggested I keep writing and aim for a completely different sound.”
Reluctantly, she agreed to continue writing, and it proved to be the right decision. Teaming up with her “Brighter Than The Sun” collaborator OneRepublic’s Ryan Tedder [Adele, Beyoncé]. The two cut the shimmering dance floor anthem “Hold On,” which hinted at what lay on the horizon for Caillat.
“I went down a different path,” she admits. “It was exciting to try something new. The writing sessions that I reluctantly agreed to do, yielded a new creativity—especially once I got in the studio with ‘Babyface’. Songwriting can be an emotional rollercoaster, and that makes it fun for me. It's personal therapy.”
For Gypsy Heart’s campaign song “Try”, she joined forces with Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds. Gently plucking an acoustic guitar along to a lush piano melody, the singer makes a powerful statement about female body image. For the lyric video, she enlists both fans and celebrities to appear without makeup, freeing themselves and bravely embracing natural beauty.
“While we were writing, Kenny told me, ‘Stay true to yourself. Don’t let them change you’,” she goes on. “Tony Dixon and Jason Reeves were in the session as well, and they both reiterated, ‘You don’t have to try’. So, I started singing the chorus with the words, ‘You don’t have to try’. It was such a liberating way to start the session and we kept rolling with that message. It explains literally every step a woman takes to get herself ready to go out in public and how exhausting it is. There’s so much we have to do in order to make ourselves ‘beautiful’ so we feel accepted in the public eye. This is an anthem for women to accept who they are and be comfortable showing it and not hiding it from one another.”
Elsewhere on Gypsy Heart, Caillat cuts loose yet again. “Blaze” could very well be the life of the party over an endless summer with its kinetic energy and breezy hook. Written with longtime friend Reeves and David Hodges [Christina Perri, Avril Lavigne], it’s as vibrant as it is vivacious. “When my friends and I get together, we have a blast,” she smiles. “We don’t do anything crazy, but we do know how to have fun! Sometimes, we end up dancing on tables. It’s a song about what we do!”
At the same time, “If You Love Me Let Me Go” examines a breakup with poetic lyrics and her striking vocal delivery. “It’s that story everyone’s gone through,” she says. “You break up with someone, yet you’re dating them again. It’s a confusing thing. It’s so much worse to do that to yourself though. If you love me, let me go. Stop torturing me and keeping me around just a little bit longer, if we’re not going to last forever.”
During “Live It Up”, Caillat confronts stage fright and her struggles to overcome it even after eight years of professionally performing. The chorus is her personal reminder before every show. Meanwhile, “Never Gonna Let You Down” remains the song everyone loved the most from the first sessions in Malibu. However, “Babyface” put his own stamp on it. “Along with ‘Try’, I think it’s one of the songs my fans will relate to the most,” she continues. “I love the crisp folk lean to the song. I can honestly say Kenny is my favorite all-time producer. He’s unpredictable and thorough, and he can also brilliantly produce any genre you ask him to.”
Caillat’s music lasts forever. To date, she has been honored with Two Grammy Awards and sold over six million albums and ten million singles worldwide. Her breakthrough hit “Bubbly” remains "one of the best-selling digital tracks in history" and her multi-platinum debut COCO hit #5 on the Billboard Top 200 Albums chart upon release, while her sophomore set Breakthrough landed at #1. From 2011’s All of You, “Brighter Than The Sun” went platinum and enjoyed over twenty film and television placements, while seeing acclaim from People and NY Post. She’s also played sold out venues everywhere alongside everybody from John Mayer to Sheryl Crow. Beyond music, she’s an avowed spokesperson and supporter for the The Humane Society of the United States, the ASPCA, Farm Sanctuary, Surfrider Foundation, and Save The Music.
Still, at the end of the day, Colbie always challenges herself as a writer, regardless of which direction she travels. “I just want to write songs that stay with people,” she concludes. “If fans can listen to my music on repeat, that’s amazing. And play my songs during memorable moments in their life, I know I want that more than anything.”