Colbie Caillat has recorded recently with a diverse range of performers, including reggae legends The Wailers, Colombian star Juanes, country singer Taylor Swift and singer-songwriter Jason Mraz.
Perhaps Bone Thugs-N-Harmony will be next.
“One of my favorite songs is ‘Notorious Thugs’ by Bone Thugs-N-Harmony. I can rap the whole thing,” Caillat announces when asked whether there’s anything on her iPod that might surprise people.
It’s a bit hard to imagine the gentle voice that seduced listeners with her hit “Bubbly” spitting out lines such as “Armed and dangerous/ ain’t too many can bang with us.”
She laughs and offers a non-committal “Maybe so” when asked whether she’ll add the number to her set list, so don’t get your hopes up. Besides, she’s just getting comfortable being on stage in the first place.
Caillat’s stage fright sometimes had her shaking and crying before performances. Once on stage, she says, “I wouldn’t talk to the audience. I’d just stand in one spot and sing.”
The success of her debut album, last year’s “Coco,” forced her to deal with it. She turned to her personal trainer, who has helped her develop as a live performer.
“We work out together in the morning,” Caillat says by telephone from her Santa Monica, Calif., home. “Later, she gets together with me and my band.”
The trainer “moves the band and tells them where to stand. She tells me to go interact with them, when I should talk about a song, tell fans what the song is about,” she says. “I didn’t know what to do. I’d never performed before.”
Caillat built a considerable fan base before the release of “Coco,” but not through live performances. Listeners found her through her MySpace site, where she posted her songs.
Her audience was steady but hardly spectacular until she posted “Bubbly.” The effervescent ode to romance increased her daily plays on MySpace from a few hundred to a peak of 50,000, she told Cosmo Girl magazine.
The song quickly propelled Caillat, 23, from Internet sensation to major star, and the album into the Top 5. Not bad for someone who didn’t pick up a guitar until 19.
The tone of “Coco” was almost uniformly upbeat and positive. Caillat says it’s a reflection of growing up in California and Hawaii. Her second album, which she begins recording next month, will continue in that vein, to a point.
“There are definitely gonna be some more melancholy, sad songs,” Caillat says. “When I was on tour I was writing songs, missing family and home, and there were things going on that I was dealing with.
“But I’ve been home for the past month and the songs I’ve been writing are a lot happier and more upbeat,” she reports.
WITH: Jon McLaughlin
WHEN: 8 p.m. Saturday
WHERE: Tampa Theatre, 711 Franklin St., Tampa; (813) 274-8286
COST: $25 and $35