Warming up to winter Colbie Caillat, Gavin DeGraw top holiday ‘jam’ at the Sovereign Bank ArenaDecember 5, 2008
Though Colbie Caillat will be performing as part of WPST’s “Winter Wonder Jam” tomorrow at the Sovereign Bank Arena in Trenton, she has warmer things on her mind.
`’In January, we’re going to finish writing the next album in Hawaii,” says the Malibu, Calif., native who will share tomorrow’s concert bill with Gavin DeGraw, Sara Bareilles and Matt Nathanson. “We have a huge house on the beach and we are going to write a bunch of songs for the next album, which should be out in the summer. “I love it in Hawaii.”
This doesn’t mean the 23-year-old “Bubbly” singer doesn’t love singing tidings of Yuletide cheer. Last year, Caillat recorded “Mistletoe,” a lonely ode to an absent boyfriend. Shortly after its release, the song, which contains the lyrics “Wrap me in a great big bow and tear me apart,” was the most downloaded holiday song on iTunes.
Caillat says she will perform “Mistletoe” for the Trenton audience.
`’I wanted it to be the holiday song people know,” she says.
Caillat is someone many people got to know through her MySpace networking web page. In 2006, she decided to put a few of her songs up on her MySpace page for the fun of it and, within a short time, she became the No. 1 unsigned artist on the site for four straight months. Her page (myspace.com/colbiecaillat) now boasts 433,991 “friends.”
`’What happened with MySpace was so random,” she says “One of the good things about it is anyone can put their music up for people to hear. I made a page and uploaded some songs. At first it was my friends, but then after a few months it just grew. By September, my page had 50,000 plays a day, and it just spread. It was even heard by people all over the world.”
Caillat’s parents �â�� her dad is Fleetwood Mac producer Ken Caillat �â�� helped her find a manager. Eventually, she was signed by Universal Records and released her debut album, “Coco,” yielding the California sun-drenched hits “Bubbly” and “Realize.” Caillat collected a “Rising Star” award at the Billboard Women in Music event in October and was nominated for the American Music Award’s “Breakthrough Artist” honors. (She lost to The Jonas Brothers.)
This Christmas, Caillat is offering fans a deluxe edition of “Coco,” which includes new songs, live material, a collaboration with Latin star Juanes and a cover of the Dusty Springfield song “Brand New Me,” recorded with the Wailers, reggae legend Bob Marley’s former back-up band. Caillat also included her live version of Marley’s “Turn Your Lights Down Low.”
`’I love Bob Marley,” she says. “I’m a huge fan.”
Catskills, N.Y., native DeGraw says he is definitely in the holiday spirit this year.
`’I try and plan my touring so it starts to slow down after Thanksgiving so that I can do these holiday shows,” he says. “Most of the time, the holiday shows are put on by radio stations that have been very good to me throughout the year, so it’s nice to come back to see some old friends.”
In 2003, DeGraw released “Chariot,” an album that yielded the top 40 hit “I Don’t Want to Be.” The song, which alludes to his parent’s careers as a prison guard and a detox specialist, became the theme song for the television show “One Tree Hill.”
DeGraw’s second album, “Gavin DeGraw,” was released in May and includes the singles “In Love with A Girl,” a rocker in line with “I Don’t Want to Be,” and “Cheated on Me,” a melancholy, lovesick anthem for the broken-hearted.
While admitting “I Don’t Want To Be” “opened a lot of doors for me,” DeGraw said he didn’t feel obligated to duplicate it on his sophomore effort.
`’I don’t think that I really felt any crazy pressure to follow it up on this record, but I really just wanted to make another record with songs that I felt just as strongly about,” he says. “My brother Joey is also a singer/songwriter, so he was a great ear for me when I was writing this current record. He had a similar reaction about ‘In Love With a Girl’ that he did with ‘I Don’t Want to Be.’ I was glad to hear that people listening also had the same reaction and allowed me to have some success with that single, too.
`’I wasn’t necessarily trying to write a ‘rock’ record, I just wanted to try and do something a little different while paying homage to my first record and the fans that like that more acoustic style.”
DeGraw enlisted Howard Benson, known for producing My Chemical Romance and Daughtry, to help with his latest CD.
`’Howard was great. He has an amazing talent of getting everything out of someone’s voice. I’m really happy with my vocal tracks on this record, and he also gave me a lot of freedom in terms of my creative input, which I really enjoyed and respected,” DeGraw says.
In addition to promoting his eponymous s ophomore release, the singer has released the intimate “Live From Soho” through iTunes.
`’(That) was a lot of fun,” he says. “It was recorded at the Apple Store in Manhattan, a few blocks from my apartment. That was great �â�� hopped in the train and ended up a gig. It was just me, a piano and a guitar. I really love performing that way. It gives me a chance to deliver the songs in a little different way, which my fans seem to enjoy.”
DeGraw is so encouraged by the fan reaction to “Live in Soho” that he is considering recording a stripped version of “Gavin DeGraw,” much like he did when he rendered “Chariot �â�� Stripped,” an acoustic recording of the songs on “Chariot.”
In the meantime, DeGraw is looking forward to the Christmas season and tomorrow’s show