Monday, July 7, 2008

Hot Coco

Colbie Caillat is not your average valley girl. OK, she did work as a receptionist in a tanning salon and she was no stranger to Malibu surf, but Colbie was not going to limit herself to the boundaries of Thousand Oaks, California. She knew the world had more to offer and she wanted to explore it. At 19 years old, Colbie began to write songs and learned to play guitar. She was really good at it.

Her Dad is a renowned recording engineer and record producer and an inspiring coach. As Colbie learned the basics, she got a chance to do some demo work for some of her Dad's clients. She also took voice lessons from Michelle Mindel and auditioned her compositions to her friends. With a little experience and refinement, it all started to make sense. Maybe Colbie really could make a living with her music.

It was time to switch gears. Instead of recording other people's songs, she started to record her own material. In between takes for demos, Colbie would casually sing her own tunes. A couple of times recording engineer Mikal Blue, on the other side of the glass, rolled on Colbie's warm-ups and an informal demo reel of her own was formed. Her Dad heard some of these takes and was taken! She really had a lot of potential!

Word of mouth can be a wonderful thing. Colbie's friends also loved her songs and helped her post them on-line. Her quiet MySpace Music site,, began to attract a lot of attention. First, dozens of people dropped by every day, then hundreds and then thousands. Do you think people like her music? The last time I looked, Colbie was approaching 30 million total hits! Her first CD, entitled 'Coco' will soon reach double platinum in sales. In her words 'it's a diary of my life and all my emotions put to music.' It's also really sweet listening.

Two songs already are memorable radio standards. Colbie's playful 'Bubbly' is a delightful expression of new love. If you realized how 'Realize' was written, you'd have to laugh. Colbie had the basic riff and needed to build up the song. She handed it over to her friend who actually wrote the core of the lyrics. Colbie did not realize until later that the song was addressed to her! I especially enjoy the syncopated groove of 'Feelings Show.' You are bound to find your own favorite. Colbie offers refreshing diversity in her fresh well recorded debut. 'Coco' has been high on the charts since it was first released a year ago. Her fame is deserved. You simply can't miss.

Not only is it a big seller, 'Coco' is also very important from another aspect. Colbie's CD reaffirms that the traditional music industry, ruled by large media corporations, no longer has a monopoly on America's music. Thanks to the open public access of the Internet, Colbie truly is a star created by her peers. We have been waiting for this liberating revolution for decades. Finally, new acts have a chance to emerge based on quality instead of promotion dollars.

Colbie has a busy year or two ahead. She'll be touring America this summer opening for John Mayer and also performing as a solo act. In September, she'll earn more frequent flyer miles visiting many cities in Europe followed by a four gig tour in Japan. In the studio, Taylor Swift is teaming up with Colbie to write and perform a song on Taylor's new album. Colbie is also readying her own second CD for release in the summer of 2009.

Can't wait? Check out Colbie's pure fun cover and video of the Little Mermaid classic 'Kiss the Girl' recently released by Disney. Colbie has also leaked a couple of versions of a fresh song called 'Droplets' to be released as part of her new CD next summer. It's a duet with her songwriting pal Jason Reeves that is so genuine it's bound to be embraced. You'll also hear Colbie on the best-selling Christmas song of 2007 called 'Mistletoe' available digitally on-line. Listen carefully to Jason Mraz' third album 'We Sing, We Laugh, We Steal Things' and you'll hear a familiar voice on track three called 'Lucky.' I'll know what I'll say when 'Coco II' is ready for pre-orders: "Will you count me in?'

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