In every lifetime, there comes one special star destined for greatness. A glowing beauty, full of energy and warmth, that shines big and bright for the world to admire.
In this lifetime, that star is Colbie Caillat.
Born Colbie Marie Caillat on May 28th, 1985 to a music producer dad and model mom, Colbie inherited greatness from both sides: the looks of a Hollywood actress with the voice of an angel.
Colbie could always sing and was a part of musical theater casts from 8 years old. At 11, she heard the Fugees’ Lauryn Hill sing “Killing Me Softly” for the first time and was blown away. She started taking things more seriously, writing, recording, and picking up instruments along the way.
In 2006, her producer friend convinced her to record several songs to put up on Myspace “just for fun.” Before long, her songs went viral. Members added her songs to their pages after seeing it on their friends’ pages. It multiplied and multiplied until she became the #1 unsigned artist in her genre for four consecutive months. That’s when the record companies came calling and the rest, as they say, is history.
Here’s her story…
Colbie Caillat – Personal Life
Edward Sugimoto) Not too many people know that you have roots to Hawaii. Can you kind of explain your history with Hawaii?
Colbie Caillat) I grew up going to Kauai when I was 11 years old with my parents. And my aunt and uncle live there and they own Bubba Burgers in Hanalei. And ever since, I’ve been going once or twice a year with my family and bringing my friends and my cousins. And then I worked there for a summer, I worked there for a couple months at Bubba Burgers in Kauai. As so Hawaii is just… everyone, the people, the food, the weather… it’s just like my second home. It’s the one place that I would always want to be.
Edward Sugimoto) What was it like when you first heard Bubbly on the radio?
Colbie Caillat) When I first heard Bubbly on the radio, I was in Southern California at this restaurant that my family and I always go to, and we heard it playing in the background, and all of the sudden my mom like gets up and starts dancing, and then everyone starts singing at the table. That was the first time I realized that it was actually really being played cause people tell you it’s played but that was my first time knowing that it was real.
Edward Sugimoto) I hear you are a true arteest. You like to take photographs and you like painting a lot. Are photobooks or art in your future?
Colbie Caillat) I’m really into photography and painting. I like watercolors. So my dream job is to move back to Hawaii and be a photographer and paint and live that lifestyle. That’s what I want to do eventually. And yeah, I paint all the time on my tour bus when I’m traveling. And I save all the paintings. We’ll see what I’ll do with them. *modest laugh*
Edward Sugimoto) A little art gallery maybe?
Colbie Caillat) I don’t know. Maybe. For my mom. *laughs*
Edward Sugimoto) When you’re not out being “world famous” Colbie Caillat, what do you like to do in your downtime?
Colbie Caillat) Whenever I have downtime, if I’m on tour, I hang out with my band and crew and we barbeque outside of the bus, we go sightseeing, we take pictures, just super mellow since the schedule’s really crazy. When I’m home, I like to be with my family and my close friends and my dogs. Stay at home, listen to music, barbeque, go swimming. I’m super mellow.
Edward Sugimoto) I noticed you got some new ink on your arm.
Colbie Caillat) *laughs*
Edward Sugimoto) Any significance with that? Is there a story behind it?
Colbie Caillat) My flower tattoo, well this smaller flower I’ve always had for a couple years and that’s the logo for my first album CoCo. And then this new flower I got in Paris a couple months ago. And that is the Breakthrough flower for my new record. So this is the new logo for like all my merch, my T-shirts, on my CD. I had wanted it for a couple years and I new it was a big commitment getting a big tattoo on my arm so I made sure I still wanted it and I got it.
Edward Sugimoto) So after a few albums, your whole arm is gonna be covered?
Colbie Caillat) *laughs* My dad was actually like, “Honey, that flower better not keep growing!” I don’t want a sleeve, but I could see how tattoos are addicting.
Edward Sugimoto) Let’s play Faves. First thing that pops into your mind when I say this/when I ask this question: Favorite all time song?
Colbie Caillat) Bob Marley “Waiting in Vain.”
Edward Sugimoto) Favorite musical artist?
Colbie Caillat) Bob Marley or Lauryn Hill.
Edward Sugimoto) Favorite TV show?
Colbie Caillat) The Office.
Edward Sugimoto) Favorite movie I heard is “Dumb and Dumber”. Is that still the case?
Colbie Caillat) Favorite movie is Dumb and Dumber. I quote it probably every day. *laughs*
Edward Sugimoto) Favorite web site (besides AroundHawaii)?
Colbie Caillat) *laughs* Besides AroundHawaii? Um, Youtube!
Edward Sugimoto) ColbieCaillat.com?
Colbie Caillat) I could promote myself, but no Youtube is way more fun! *laughs*
Edward Sugimoto) Favorite food?
Colbie Caillat) Favorite food is either Mexican food or sushi. Either one.
Edward Sugimoto) How about least favorite food?
Colbie Caillat) Least favorite food? Um, I don’t like goat cheese. Is that ok, or did you want like a full on like kinda food? *laughs*
Edward Sugimoto) What is the one thing you always need to have in your purse before leaving the house?
Colbie Caillat) I’m addicted to chapstick or lipgloss. My lips are, I always want to reapply every 5 seconds. My camera I always have in my purse. My cell phone, gum, water bottles.
Edward Sugimoto) If you weren’t doing music, what would you be doing career-wise?
Colbie Caillat) I would be living in Hawaii doing photography and painting.
Edward Sugimoto) These stats are a little off cause I did it about a week ago, but you had over 438,857 Myspace friends and over 40,615 Twitter followers.
Colbie Caillat) Wow!
Edward Sugimoto) How does it feel having that kind of accessibility to your fans?
Colbie Caillat) I think the Internet is so amazing. I mean that’s how I got my career started was because of Myspace a few years ago. People found my music and played it so much that I became the #1 unsigned artist and I got a record deal. And now, to be able to keep in touch with my fans by sending out a text to Twitter anytime, telling them what I’m doing, and they can reply and I can reply to each person individually. I think it’s the coolest way of being able to just stay in contact with your friends, family, fans. Internet’s great.
Edward Sugimoto) So that’s actually you on Twitter then?
Colbie Caillat) Yeah it’s me.
Edward Sugimoto) Your songs are pretty huge for weddings I’m guessing. We (wifey and I) actually used your “Magic” for our wedding song.
Colbie Caillat) Awww, so did my friend.
Edward Sugimoto) And a lot of people cover your songs on Youtube. Is that pretty flattering?
Colbie Caillat) It’s really flattering. This year, I’ve heard that “Lucky” was the wedding song. Last year, I heard it was “Bubbly” and “Magic”. But to know people cover my songs and try to learn them like I’ve learned other artist’s songs that I admire and adore, it’s really cool to know that I could be like that for other people. It’s a wonderful feeling.
Edward Sugimoto) You mentioned today on the stage about your constant struggle with fear/fright and stage fright and that’s why you named the album “Breakthrough”. What kind of specific things can you tell other people who have that kind of fear on how to get over it?
Colbie Caillat talking about her struggle with stage fright
Colbie Caillat) It’s just like anything. It takes practice and you have to work on it every single day. I mean I went on tour and performed every night and every day for two years straight and as hard as it was for me, as difficult and terrifying as it was I had to keep doing it. And slowly each time it got better and I got more comfortable. And just the past 6 months I really trained my brain to just remember to have fun out there. People are there to hear the music and music’s supposed to make you feel good, and have fun and smile. So when I remember to smile and look at my fans who are smiling and singing back it calms my heart down a little bit and you just have to remember that you’re up there doing something great and people admire that so you have nothing to be afraid of.
Colbie Caillat – Music Life
Edward Sugimoto) You started singing at 11 after hearing Lauryn Hill’s/Fugee’s “Killing Me Softly”. Did you have “it” back then or is it something you had to really work on?
Colbie Caillat) “It”? *smiles*
Edward Sugimoto) It: the voice, the singing.
Colbie Caillat) I’ve always been able to sing. I remember my parents saying I could sing when I was younger, and like when I was 8, 9, I was in musical theater. I did musicals, but I was still always afraid of being on stage and performing so I would never audition for like one of the lead parts, I’d always be in the background. And then when I got into 6th grade, I sang “Killing Me Softly” with my two best friends for our school talent show. And my other two friends, who I’m still best friends with, they can’t sing at all. *laughs*
Edward Sugimoto) You carried the team!
Colbie Caillat) Yeah, I guess, I didn’t realize it at the time. But um, yeah I’ve always been able to sing but I had to also train my voice. I mean I followed Lauryn Hill and learned how she did her licks, and I took vocal lessons for years to keep… I still have to warm up every single day. You have to keep your voice. Just like working out you have to stay in shape.
Edward Sugimoto) You kinda touched upon your Myspace history. Can you kinda expand on how you got discovered after that?
Colbie Caillat) Well, pretty much I was writing songs and I was friends with my producer, and every time I’d play him a new song in the studio, he was like, “let’s record it right now and put it up on Myspace just for fun.” And so we would put it up on Myspace and after 6 months I had grown such a large fan base. They were playing my songs everyday like 50,000 times. People would add my songs to their pages and then their friends would hear it and I kept rising on the charts and I eventually became #1 and then I got all the record label calls. I went to New York and met with the different labels. Universal (Republic) was the first one that I met with and I just knew that I belonged with them. They were just great and so personable. So that’s really how I got my career started and then went on tour with the Goo Goo Dolls and ever since then, everything keeps going.
Edward Sugimoto) Your dad is famed producer Ken Caillat who produced people like Fleetwood Mac. Why didn’t he just hook a sistah up instead of making you work hard for it?
Colbie Caillat) *laughs* Well, first of all, like I said, I was shy and had stage fright and so, I didn’t know how to play an instrument because I wasn’t writing when I was younger. I could sing, but I was shy. If you asked me to sing, I wouldn’t sing. So he couldn’t have done anything for me in this business because I wouldn’t have made it. I was too shy and if someone asked me to sing and I had to, I would mess up because I was so nervous. Plus my dad really wanted me to become a musician and become a song writer and establish my career for myself and he knew that was the best way to go about it, and at the time I didn’t realize that, until I was 19 and I learned how to play guitar and I wrote my first song and I realized that he was right.
Edward Sugimoto) I read somewhere also that he was the one that kinda made you play instruments and pick up piano and guitar and all this kind of stuff. Are you kinda glad you took that advice?
Colbie Caillat) I’m so glad I took my parents’ advice. I learned how to play guitar, a little bit of the piano, and I can play a little ukulele now, and battle Justin. It’s great because I’m able to write songs now and I’m able to accompany myself when I’m singing and doing performances. It feels good to know how to play music and to be able to express your emotions in song writing.
Colbie Caillat with her ukulele battling Justin Young on stage
Edward Sugimoto) You mentioned the ukulele. Jason Reeves played it on “Tied Down” on the last album. Do you get to play it a lot and is it going to be featured on future songs possibly?
Colbie Caillat) The ukulele, I think we might have it on “Rainbow” on my new album “Breakthrough.” But yeah, I always want to keep the Hawaii ties tied into my music, the whole reggae islandy vibe. I want to learn how to play more chords on it. I only know a few chords right now so that’s my next goal: to get better on the uke. *laughs*
Edward Sugimoto) You guys shot “The Little Things” in Kauai. Was that kind of like your shout out to your hometown?
Hanalei Bridge in Kauai
Colbie Caillat) I always wanted to shoot a music video in Kauai. On the north shore, that’s just where I grew up going. The song “The Little Things” where I shot the video for, I wanted to sum up the summer that I had with my friends when I lived there. I worked at Bubba Burgers, we rented a rent-a-wreck car and had our jobs and we’d go to the Hanalei Pier and we’d jump off every day and go swimming and hang out with cute boys (*smiles*) and have bon fires. That’s what I wanted to show. What I’m like, what I like to do and what that song means.
Old Hanalei School Building
Edward Sugimoto) For the album “Breakthrough” I think you went to Kauai for a few weeks with Kara Dioguardi from American Idol? If things hadn’t worked out, is that something you might’ve considered (going on the show)?
Colbie Caillat) Oh, I would go on American Idol. Yeah, being a judge, it’s…
Edward Sugimoto) Oh actually as a performer. If you hadn’t made it until now.
Colbie Caillat) Oh. I auditioned twice actually. The second time I auditioned, I auditioned “Bubbly” right after I wrote it, but, like I said, I was shy and when I had the audition I was like, (*subdued*) “Been awake for awhile now.” Like I was quiet, I didn’t look at them and they want somebody outgoing and fun so no, I didn’t make it. *laughs*
Edward Sugimoto) They must be regretting it pretty much.
Colbie Caillat) Well, now that I’m friends with Randy (Jackson) and Kara and all them, they laugh about it. They’re like, “I can’t believe that we passed that up.” But I understood why. I wasn’t ready for it at that point.
Edward Sugimoto) Had you made the show and Simon (Cowell) gave you like a negative comment, try and give us your best comeback to him.
Colbie Caillat) I wouldn’t have been mean to him. That’s the thing, I would be like, “OK.” I think criticism is, you need that. Someone can’t always tell you you’re good because you’re not. You need to learn and grow from it. I mean he is harsh, *laughs* but I think the combination of all the judges, giving them their compliments and then giving them their critiques is good.
Edward Sugimoto) Is it true that you and Jason Mraz traded emails to write the lyrics to “Lucky”?
Colbie Caillat) Well, yeah, Jason Mraz, he emailed me and that was the first time we ever contacted each other. He said, “Hi, it’s Jason. I like your music. I want to write a song with you.” And we exchanged numbers and we talked through email and on the phone and he sent me “Lucky.” He had it started, and so we finished writing the song together through email. We still had never met each other, and then I flew to London when he was recording his record (“We Sing, We Dance, We Steal Things”) and we recorded the song.
Edward Sugimoto) Wow, that’s an amazing story.
Colbie Caillat) *laughs*
Edward Sugimoto) A lot of your songs make your listeners feel warm and fuzzy about love. Is this because your real love life is like that? 8)
Colbie Caillat) *blushes* *laughs* Yes, my love life is very warm. I’m very happy. I’m in love with someone right now. Yeah I guess when you can express how you’re feeling and people can relate to that, it’s really good. That’s how love is supposed to be. You’re supposed to feel just giddy and butterflies with that person everyday.
Edward Sugimoto) How about another warm and fuzzy: when you’re on stage and you’re singing to your fans and they’re actually singing back. That must make you feel pretty good?
Colbie Caillat) Well, the thing with my stage fright is when I see my audience singing all the songs back to me, smiling and cheering, it makes me feel sooo warm and comfortable up there and I don’t want to get off the stage anymore, I’m having so much fun. So it’s all because of them. They keep coming to my shows and making me feel good up there that I love what I do now.
Edward Sugimoto) CoCo – peaked at #5 on Billboard’s Top 200… (by the way, this is all from Wikipedia so I hope it’s accurate). *laughs*
Colbie Caillat) Yeah, that’s right.
Edward Sugimoto) … and sold 51,000 copies in the first week, and went to Double Platinum status! Breakthrough – already hit #1 on Billboard’s Top 200, and sold 106,000 copies in the first week, and debuted at #1 on iTunes.
Colbie Caillat) Yes. *big smile*
Edward Sugimoto) You must be pretty stoked, pretty excited!?
Colbie Caillat) It’s yeah, it’s incredible. You always hope for success like that. I never expected it because I don’t like getting my hopes up, and I don’t know, I can’t really explain it. It’s such a great feeling knowing that everyone involved on both of those records, helping me get to where I’m at, and all of our hard work and the love that we put into these songs, knowing that the world notices that, and wanted to support and listen to the songs, I’m just, I’m so honored.
Edward Sugimoto) You’ve been on tour with The Goo Goo Dolls, Lifehouse, John Mayer, and had songs featured on movie soundtracks (“Here Comes the Sun” on “Imagine That”), TV shows (“Battle” on “The Hills”), and even for the Olympics you had a song (“Somethin’ Special”). Your music has been nominated for numerous awards (nominated for the AMA, Teen Choice, Teen Music Awards and won BMI Pop Awards for Songwriter of the Year and Song of the Year). You’ve even been illustrated in a comic book (Archie). And this is pretty much just the beginning! How crazy is that!?
Colbie Caillat) It’s crazy. I mean it’s been two years and getting all of these great things that keep happening. I mean, it’s a lot of hard work. I mean every day it’s not just like “Oh, the life of a rock star.” It’s really difficult. There’s early early mornings, you go ’til late at night, people pulling you in all directions, but the people I surround myself with: my band, my crew, my management, my label… Everyone is so great so I have fun with it. We all work together. Seeing it pay off, it’s like a team effort.
Edward Sugimoto) Anything you’d like to say to your Hawaii fans out there?
Colbie Caillat) Aloha! *big smile* I can’t wait to come back to Hawaii to all the islands to play shows. I appreciate all of your support and for listening to my music and I hope to see you all soon. Aloha! *smiles*
Beyond her movie star looks and to-die-for voice, there is an inner beauty to this 24 year old songbird that is beyond compare.
Side story: You see, wifey and I had the honor of joining her and her bandmates for dinner the night before her Reno concert. She was warm and friendly and never once gave off the air that she was better than us (as other celebrities may). Mellow and laid back, she tried to blend right in with the rest of us, even though she obviously couldn’t. Due to an unfortunate case of food poisoning that night, I wasn’t able to make our scheduled interview the next night, but, instead of being upset, she was genuinely concerned.
The next day, they were going to play at “A Day In the Zone” in Sacramento’s Discovery Park, so she and Justin suggested that we meet up with them there, catch the show (with “all access”) and do the interview afterwards. They even told us not to worry about accommodations! Since we were catching our flight out of Sacramento early the next morning anyway, it was a perfect idea.
Following the show (which was amazing by the way), we headed to their bus and just hung out outside so as not to bother her post-show wind-down. I looked up to see her peeking out the window and as soon as she saw us, she practically ran out to give us a hug and see if we were feeling better. With the sun beating down, she immediately asked if we wanted something to drink and to come on board her tour bus which was cooled by A/C.
Remember, we were total strangers whom she met just two short nights ago. Granted Justin (who is in her band) is our mutual friend and yes, she knew that I was flying in special for the interview… She really didn’t have to go out of her way to be that nice to us. You could tell that it was just in her nature and that minus all the celebrity and bright lights, she was still as genuine and as sweet as they come.
It was refreshing to see such “realness” from someone who has made it so big. Much like her counterpart in the sky, this star’s warmth is breathtaking.
A star in every sense of the word. You know… The kind destined for greatness.
A special Mahalo to Diana Baron and Nicole Dona of D. Baron Media Relations, Inc., Diony Sepulveda, bruddah Justin Young, and especially Ms. Colbie Caillat. Thank you for being so nice and caring to us. All the best to you. You deserve everything coming to you. Enjoy the ride, and we’ll see ya back in Hawaii in the future! 🙂
Shortest to Tallest: Wifey, me, Colbie Caillat and Justin Young (I swear there was a slope! 😛 )