Pop singer Colbie Caillat comes off as a sunny person on albums such as her latest, “All of You,” and previous efforts “Coco” (2007) and “Breakthrough” (2009), but she admits that's not always true in real life.
“I'm glad people see me that way. I'm from Southern California, and I have roots in Hawaii. I grew up listening to positive vocal bases,” says Caillat, who names artists including Fleetwood Mac, Lauryn Hill, Bob Marley, James Taylor, Tom Petty and John Mayer as musical influences.
But, she says, “I'm not always happy. But I try to turn my songs around. If I'm in a bad mood, I'll turn it around, figure out how I can make it better.”
On “All of You,” which features the hit singles “I Do” and “Brighter Than the Sun,” her writing came about while she was falling in love, she says.
“I was writing songs about our relationship, the ups and downs we were going through,” she says, adding that they're still together.
Caillat worked with rapper Common on the track “Favorite Song,” on which she sings, “I wanna be your favorite song, you can turn it up, play me all night long.” It's an unlikely collaboration, one with a reggae twist, but it's a winner.
She calls Common one of the coolest people she has ever worked with.
“He's so down to earth, just a really nice guy, very positive and healthy and spiritual,” Caillat says. “I've always loved the tone of his voice and the positivity of his lyrics. I'd been dying to work with him.”
Caillat's fans may be surprised: This isn't the first time the singer has worked with a rapper.
When she was 18 and still trying to figure out who she was, she was the “Fergie” in a rap group.
“I recorded on these rapper guys' songs, and it never went anywhere,” she says.
“All of You” demonstrates a much more advanced Caillat, she says.
“When I listen back to ‘Coco' I think my vocals sound so young and, oh my God, there's barely any instruments on there,” she says. “Now I know where I can go vocally. Before, I was brand new. I'm 27 now, and I've learned a lot and know who I am as an artist.”
Caillat says her new tour with Gavin DeGraw came about during a writing session.
“Gavin and I were writing a song at the beginning of this year, and we had such a great time writing,” she says. “I love his voice. We thought it would be fun if we toured together and told our managers we wanted to. But you never know if that is going to work out.”
It did, and they're joined by support act Andy Grammar, who toured with Caillat last year.
Caillat and DeGraw alternate closing the show each night.
“My set is more beachy and summery,” she says. “His is a boy rock show. We both play songs from both of our albums, mix in a little bit of covers here and there, and it's a lot of fun.”