California girl Colbie Caillat may be blond and bubbly, but this woman has got more brains and bravery than most artists her age in the business. Born into a musical family (her father co-produced Fleetwood Mac) Caillat has been working with producers and songwriters since she was a teenager. She began writing for herself in 2004 and released her debut single, “Bubbly,” in 2007 to critical acclaim.
Since then, she has written with Jason Mraz, Taylor Swift, Juanes and Jason Reeves. Caillat’s has been traveling the world to promote her second album which was released in 2009. The singer songwriter was named BMI’s Songwriter of the Year in 2009 and even won two GRAMMYs this year for her work with Taylor Swift’s and her duet with Jason Mraz. And now Caillat is continuing her ongoing success by embarking on a summer tour—appearing alongside other empowering women during Lilith Fair.
Caillat got the chance to get OurStage up to speed on her career, songwriting and feelings on Lilith Fair.
OS: You grew up in a very musical environment. How did that benefit you as an artist and help you get to where you are today?
CC: I was around music all the time, it was just natural for me. It was my dad’s business, just the same as if he had been a teacher, and I was in a classroom—only it was a musical classroom. So, I was always singing. In fact, one day when I was just visiting the studio one of the producers he worked with, Mikal Blue, heard me humming background vocals and he started using me to record on his music. Mikal eventually produced my first album, Coco. My dad, of course, made a huge contribution to my career by telling me that it was really important that I write my own songs.
OS: How have you advanced as a songwriter as you’ve grown up and become more successful?
CC: I think that the messages of my songs are the same, but that the delivery of the message, both lyrically and melodically, have become more complex and dynamic. My success gave me the ability to co-write with really experienced songwriters such as Rick Nowels and Kara DioGuardi, and I have learned a lot from all of them.
OS: You’ve been writing songs for a while now. What do you think makes a good pop hit?
CC: To be honest…I have NO idea. Songs that I want to be the radio hits usually never end up to be. We always go with the ones my fans like the most. I always think the hits are the songs with the catchiest most memorable melodies and lyrics. But sometimes I’m wrong. I guess I know what a good song sounds like but not a hit song.
OS: Do you find being a songwriter or being in the spotlight more rewarding?
CC: Actually, being in the spotlight sometimes makes no sense to me. I am still the same person I always was. But my songs have really affected a lot of people, and that is extremely rewarding. Fans come up to me all the time and tell me that certain songs expressed exactly what they were feeling at the time and actually the songs helped them understand their feelings better. The songs spoke for them.
OS: You write a lot about very personal feelings and intimate subjects. How are you able to open up for such expansive audiences?
CC: The songs are actually helpful to me. Sometimes when I have an experience that has affected me, I’m not able to move on until I can write a song about it. And it’s not just my own experience I write about —it’s people that I know, or have read about or family members and so on. So, I try to express my feelings about it in a way that everyone can relate to so, while they may be connected to a personal thing that happened, I try to write them in a way that everyone can relate to.
OS: What are you looking forward to most about being on the Lilith Fair tour?
CC: There are so many women whose music I admire on the tour— from Erykah Badu to The Weepies. I can’t wait to see them, and also be a part of a festival that acknowledges the music created by female artists.
OS: How do you feel as a woman to be a part of something so unique in the industry?
CC: It is exciting to be part of a great day of music, but even more gratifying to have my music acknowledged and included in an historical event. It’s been several years since there has been a Lilith and this is history.
OS: What can fans expect to see at Lilith?
CC: I hope to play everyone’s favorite songs. My band and I do songs from both of my albums, and probably we will play some new songs that I just wrote earlier this month. I would love to see what the fans think about them. And of course, there will be some fun stuff too, and a surprise or two.
Check out these surprises when Colbie plays Lilith Fair on the fellowing dates:
June 27: Calgary, AB
June 28: Edmonton, AB
July 1: Pitt Meadows, BC
July 2: Ridgefield, WA
July 3: George, WA
July 5: Mountain View, CA