Colbie Caillat Saves the Music at the W Hoboken


It’s been quite the busy year for Pop singer/songwriter, Colbie Caillat. After releasing her sophomore album, Breakthrough, in August of last year, Colbie has won two Grammys, was recognized as BMI’s Songwriter of the Year, and is currently serving as the Ambassador for VH1’s Save the Music Foundation. I sat down with Colbie at the W Hoboken in a VH1 inspired suite at a recent Save the Music Event to discuss her role as program ambassador, her upcoming tour with Sheryl Crow, the songwriting process, and how she overcame stage fright.

So Colbie, tell us a little bit about VH1’s Save the Music Foundation and your role as a program ambassador.

It’s a non-profit organization and they’ve raised millions of dollars for schools around the states and making kids aware that it’s important to study music and have instruments in classrooms. I know for me, I’ve been singing since I was 11 years old, and I did talent shows in the 6th and 9th grade, and to have that outlet, really helped form who I am today.

Did you have any teachers who inspired you as a kid?

My vocal teacher definitely did. She taught me that it was important to know what I’m singing and know the words, know what the song’s about, with full emotion from your heart. Now when I’m singing, it’s not work for me, it’s so enjoyable.

Do you have anything you’d like to say to people who want to cut funding for music education in schools?

I mean, it’s great to learn about everything in life. When you go to college, you take classes that you’re interested in. I took photography. I took art. Any outlet that you can learn about, I think it’s important to learn and have that inside of you, so I think it’s really important for kids to have that opportunity.

Let’s shift the focus now to your music. How have you grown as an artist from Coco to Breakthrough?

I’ve grown a lot as a songwriter because for Coco I was writing songs with my friend, Jason Reeves, or by myself in my bedroom. But now I’ve met so many songwriters and producers that I can collaborate with and learn new ways of how to write, different songwriting techniques. Being on tour for the past 3 years, I used to have stage fright, and now every time I go out onstage, I’m a little less shy and nervous. It’s been a huge growing process for me.

Oh wow. That’s something I didn’t know about you. So just the experience of touring helped you get over stage fright?

I mean it was challenging, difficult. But with any fear you have, if you’re scared of something, you just have to slowly work at it, because little by little, it will fade away. And now I’m happy where I am and if I had stopped myself from doing it, it would have been really sad.

So to get back to songwriting, what is your usual approach? How do you write a song? Do lyrics come first, the melody?

It’s usually melody. If I’m playing guitar, I’ll just start singing a melody. If I’m with a producer or writer and they have a beat going I’ll start singing the melody and whatever lyrics come out when I’m singing. I’ll go, “Oh I guess I’m thinking about this topic, I want to write about this.” Then there comes the homework. I’ve got to go and write the rest of the words.

Who inspires you as a songwriter currently? Who are you listening to on your iPod right now?

Everyone. I mean everyone. I always listen to the same classic rock- Tom Petty, Steve Miller, Fleetwood Mac, Bob Marley, Sheryl Crow, Bone Thugs n Harmony, Common, Jason Mraz, and Jack Johnson. I just bought, Katie Perry ‘s California Girls. I listen to everything.

So you’re going out on tour this summer with Sheryl Crow. Any particular cities you’re looking forward to visiting?

I’m not sure. It’s cool to be going back to all these cities. On these huge tours, I get to play these huge amphitheaters.  I was out with the Goo Goo Dolls and John Mayer, and now being out with Sheryl Crow, performing for 20,000 people, it’s an amazing experience. And to be out on the road with an artist like Sheryl Crow, who’s been a huge influence for me, it’s amazing.

You can check out a video of my interview with Colbie Caillat below.

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