Singer Songwriter Celebrating 15th Anniversary of ‘Coco’ Album
By: Jeff Walker, Entertainment Writer
Just 37 years old American singer-songwriter Colbie Caillat has enjoyed a healthy career that began in 2007. Her debut album ‘Coco’ put her on the map with singles ‘Bubbly’ and ‘Realize’ making Caillat a Top 40 radio sensation. The album would go on to sell over two million units.
With her lineage it’s no small surprise she was destined for pop stardom. Caillat came to her God given talents through natural surroundings. Her father Ken was a journeyman record producer and engineer who worked with Fleetwood Mac on their biggest albums, including ‘Rumours’ (1977) and ‘Tusk’ (1979). “I can remember my dad being in the studio. He even had one of the huge mixing boards in our house. I was surrounded by music.”
Mom and dad inspired young Caillat. “Both my parents were very supportive of me. They encouraged me at a young age when I was just singing in school.” However, dad offered her more sound advice. “He said if you really want to make it you have to write your own songs. He explained song structure, giving me all the tools I needed to be an artist and helped me play guitar.”
Prior to her high school years Caillat began to take singing lessons and says Lauren Hill was one of her early inspirations. Caillat tried out for ‘American Idol’ back in 2004 and 2005 but was turned away both times, even when she sang ‘Bubbly’ for the pre-audition judges. “I wasn’t the person I am today. I was shy back then, basically an introvert.” Ironically Caillat has performed on the American Idol stage. “I didn’t give up on my dream, so it all worked out as it was meant to be.”
Perhaps the biggest boost to her career came from an online social media platform that preceded Facebook. “It’s crazy but MySpace really helped launch me. I had fans I didn’t even know I had.” She explains further, “I wasn’t going to the record labels. Honestly, I just loved singing. A friend of mine started up a MySpace page for me and before long I had followers downloading and listening to ‘Bubbly’. That’s kind of how the song took off.”
After more than a decade of solo success Caillat became a member of a short-lived pop country foursome called Gone West (2018). The group included Caillat’s sometime writing partner Jason Reeves and his wife Nelly Joy as well as Caillat’s then fiancé’ Justin Young.
Although they put forth well received music, Caillat says it just wasn’t meant to be. “We all loved the album we created.” Whether it was the pandemic or strained relationships, Gone West decided to call it quits in 2020 after just the one album. “There was just a whole lot going on at the time. It started not being fun anymore, so collectively we decided it was best to end the group.”
One of the few upsides to the pandemic for Caillat is that it allowed her to work on new songs that will soon find the light of day. “I’m working on a new album and songs I hope to release in a couple of months. I have about 14 or 15 songs I’m really proud of, so I could release two EPs or one really big album.”
Like many songwriters Caillat soaks in her surroundings. “When I write for myself, it’s about what I’m going through. Whether from personal experience or from what I see going on with people around me, a majority of my songs deal with love or heartbreak. We all go through ups and downs in our lives. I just write about what’s happening around me and often too me.”
She’s not ready to reveal any potential title to the new project. “I’ve got a few ideas for the title, but things change so I don’t want to share that right now. Whatever name is on the cover I feel really good about the songs I’m working on.” After all she’s experienced over the past couple of years, many of the new songs will have a common theme. “It’s more of a heartbreak album.”
Caillat agrees most of her music and especially the hits are best described as effervescent. “Absolutely. I’ve always needed to look at life that way. Good things are temporary, and bad things are temporary. But as a rule I’m generally optimistic no matter what the message is in the song.”
Having peaked at an early age Caillat admits there have been many career highlights over the years. “Gosh, there are so many. All of the tours I was on during the initial height of my success. Of course, working with John Mayer, Sheryl Crow, Taylor Swift, and recording with Jason Mraz.”
She adds, “I sang at the White House for the Obama’s. All along I’m thinking how is any of this possible. How did I go from this relatively shy young woman who just wanted to write songs to performing on the bigger stage.”
Even today, Caillat is happy yet humbled to be doing what she’s passionate about. “I’m extremely grateful fans have enjoyed my music. 15 years down the road I don’t take anything for granted.” She does find irony in shifting generational fans. “It’s weird when I have someone who’s just 20 years old come up to me and say ‘I grew up with your music’. Obviously they had to be seven or eight when they first heard my songs. It’s weird, but also cool at the same time.”
In 2022 Caillat is ready to breakout of the COVID hysteria and play live shows again. “It feels really good to be back out on the road.” Like her soon to be released new album, her current concert tour has a particular theme. “I perform ‘Coco’ from start to finish. It introduced me to the fans and it’s still among my favorite releases, so I’m just out celebrating it.” She admits there’s a few surprises thrown in as well.
Colbie Caillat brings her show to the newly remodeled Riviera Theater on Friday June 17th. Show time begins at 8pm. For more on the pop singer and upcoming new music visit her website at https://www.colbiecaillat.com/
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