Colbie Caillat On Music Education, Songwriting and Stage Fright

Grammy-Award winning singer-songwriter visited Hoboken last weekend and talked to Patch about her inspiration, and more

Colbie Caillat catapulted into the music scene in 2007 with her smash debut single, "Bubbly." The airy, romantic track was the first song she wrote.

"I had never been in love before and I wrote about what I thought love should feel like and what it would be like if I found it," she said. The song remained No. 1 on the Billboard chart for 17 consecutive weeks.

Before "Bubbly" became a mainstream hit, Caillat was well known on MySpace. The top unsigned artist for more than four months, labels took notice and she eventually signed to Universal Republic, which released her debut album, Coco, and Grammy-nominated follow up, Breakthrough.

Caillat was in Hoboken on Sunday for W Hoboken's Summer Kick-off benefitting VH1 Save the Music. Caillat has been named the 2010 Foundation Ambassador. Patch sat down with the two-time Grammy Award-Winning singer-songwriter before she took the stage.

Growing up, Caillat was surrounded by music. Her father, Ken Caillat, co-produced Fleetwood Mac's albums Rumours and Tusk and later ran his own record label. Singing at an early age, Caillat performed for the first time at a school talent show in the sixth grade. 

"It was so important to start at that young age. Like anything else in school, we learn what we're interested in and whether it is what we want to do for our career or not, it's another outlet for us to have and to be creative," Caillat said.

Now an ambassador for VH1 Save the Music, Caillat stressed the significance of keeping music programs in schools and getting involved with music. "I think it's important for anyone at any age, and especially children at a young age, to have the opportunity."

Many tracks on Coco and Breakthrough are written with friend and fellow singer-songwriter Jason Reeves. Additionally, Caillat's two Grammy wins include her collaborations with Jason Mraz and Taylor Swift.

"Writing with someone else, you come up with a song, you create something that neither of you would have done on your own. You're bringing two people's lives together and writing about a story that someone is going to relate to around the world. That's a rewarding feeling, knowing that you can do that with someone and learn from them."

Often, songs Caillat wrote years ago strike a chord today. "Lucky," a song written with Jason Mraz over email, is just one example. "When I wrote that with Jason Mraz, I hadn't been in love with my best friend before. It's just a song that I knew other people could relate to. But now when I sing it, I'm like 'Oh my God, this is really weird. I'm relating to my song right now.' It makes me happy knowing that I can relate to it."

"Fearless," from her most recent album Breakthrough, has had a similar influence on Caillat. "Fearless was about someone else and breaking someone's heart. But, when I sing it now I relate it to myself and stage fright or whatever I'm scared of in life," she said.

Hard to believe that an artist who has seen so much success worries about stage fright, but Caillat said she still gets nervous every time she's onstage. While she used to cry before each performance, wanting to cancel the show, her fright has lessened over years of continuous touring.

"After a few songs, I get more comfortable and that's when I start letting go once I realize that it's okay when I'm up there. To see [everyone] smiling and singing, it's an amazing feeling up onstage."

Observing other artists onstage has helped too. "Being on tour with John Mayer was amazing. He's one of my biggest influences and getting to watch him every night, how he interacts with the crowd and how comfortable he is onstage was huge because I've always had stage fright growing up."

Additionally, Caillat remains inspired after her two Grammy wins. "There's no pressure. It's not like if I don't get another one I'll think I failed. There are so many amazingly talented people out there," she said. "It's something to look forward to and hope for, but not be disappointed if you don't."

Caillat is currently working on her third album. And whether or not she wins another Grammy, the music world can certainly expect to hear much more from Caillat in the near future.


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