Colbie Caillat interview

Grammy winning soulstress talks ahead of Dubai Jazz Fest

Interview

When US pop singer songwriter Colbie Caillat, 24, hits the stage at The Dubai Jazz Festival on February 19, she will be unleashing the years of practice that saw her win a Grammy in 2008 for her song with Jason Mraz ‘Lucky.’ The daughter of legendary Fleetwood Mac producer Ken Caillat, she undoubtedly has music in her bones, which partly explains how she has sold over 10 million singles to date and toured with the likes of John Mayer.

How did you first realised you had a talent for hitting the pop notes?
As a kid I was always singing around the house and I really enjoyed it. It wasn’t something I knew I was good at - it was just something I did. My mum would always try and put my sister into musical theatre and finally with the encouragement of my friends and family I started following up on what I do and actually working at it.

And what tunes did you hum when you were a kid?
My parents raised me on classic rock – Fleetwood Mac and Steve Miller, Tom Petty – that kind of thing. And then my sister influenced me with reggae, so Bob Marley was one of my biggest influences. And then, when me and my friends were old enough to find our own music, we loved R&B and soul. So Lauryn Hill and The Fugees – I wanted to be like her and sound like her.

Is there a gig you’ve played that stands out?
I’ve done a lot of gigs like that. I performed on Saturday Night Live with Jason Mraz and being on tour with John Mayer - to go out on stage with him was amazing. Performing with Sheryl Crow – I’ve really worked with a lot of people I admired and grew up with admiring their music. Those three are huge in my mind.

Anyone left you’d like to collaborate with?
I I’d like to work with Coldplay – Chris Martin – he is just amazing.

But would you really want all the hassle of being extremely famous?
I’m lucky that I’m not in the tabloids with people following me and stuff like that and I know that life would be difficult if it was like that. There are times when I get recognised in malls and things and although it’s not a big deal, it’s not something that I really enjoy.

You were lucky with your parents but what advice would you give to budding stars?
Just practice. Someone once said that you aren’t really great at something unless you’ve done it for 10 thousand hours. John Mayer used to sit up in his bedroom and play for hours and makes as to why he’s such a great guitar player. I’ve been singing since I was eleven years and I’ve been taking vocal lessons since I was a young teenager. I remember I got upset after my first guitar lesson and I couldn’t play but really you don’t get good at something unless you work at it every single day and you’re determined. My parents wanted me to focus more on what I wanted. I just wanted to take singing lessons a couple but my dad, since he’s in the business and knows what it takes to get to be an artist [Ken Caillat produced Rumours and Tusk by Fleetwood Mac]. They [her parents] gave me all the tools I needed to complete myself and get me as far as I got.

And what’s the next chapter for Ms Caillat...
I keep saying that I’m going to take some time off music, go and live in Hawaii and spend some time with my family and get married and have kids at some point. But my life is a chain affect. I love writing and I love recording so I have all these friends that are writers and producers, so when we get together, we ‘say let’s write a song’ and then management and the label hear it, say ‘that’s awesome’ and that ‘you need to make a record now.’

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