Originally Published June 19, 2014 – 9:41 AM MST for Examiner.com
After over two years, sixty songs written and two albums completed, at long last, Colbie Caillat has released the first part of her fifth studio album in EP format. Gypsy Heart, Side A is a five song compilation that samples the first tracks on her full length album, Gypsy Heart, slated for release later this year. With that much effort laden at the front end of the EP release, its not surprising that lead single ‘Try’ is brimming with character and a story of its own. It is a reflection of the evolution birthed in new beginnings and a moment of personal revelation.
We had the chance to sit down with Caillat last week before she boarded a Southwest Airlines plane she was scheduled for a live performance on, hosted by Live At 35 (click here for the complete review on axs.com). Undeterred by the busy airport scene, she sincerely focused in on our conversation and opened up about the writing process on both albums.
“My label and I weren’t really in agreement on the first album that I did and they suggested that I go back in and start writing again,” she began. At any point, in any artist’s career, this would be a debilitating challenge to confront. But the quiet determination and sincerity of this ‘Brighter Than The Sun’ singer resolved and accepted the challenge. She admitted, “At first I was really upset about it, because I loved the work that I had just finished with amazing writers and producers.” Pausing, she continued, “But then, I’ll be honest, I am glad I went in and wrote new songs. Because I love what Gypsy Heart is now and it wouldn’t be that way if I wasn’t encouraged to keep going.”
The extra push resulted in the writing of her empowering lead single, ‘Try’. Colbie reveals, “I felt like people were trying to change me in the industry. I was getting so tired of how exhausting it is being a woman, trying to look sexy and wear tons of makeup on TV. And if you don’t people think you look weird or awkward.” She explained that when she went back in the studio with Grammy winning Producer Babyface and her long time co- writers and friends Jason Reeves and Tony, she vetted these frustrations. They responded simply, “You don’t have to try. You need to go against what they are saying.” She conceded, “We wrote ‘Try’ that moment.”
Colbie went on to write four or five songs on Gypsy Heart with Babyface at the helm producing. She said of her time with him, “I love that he is so diverse. He can really produce any genre, write any genre. And he makes you work when you’re in the studio,” adding, “He wants it to be right and he pulls it out of you. I loved working with him!” She also wrote and produced previously released single, ‘Hold On’ with the notorious hitmaker, Ryan Tedder. She credits Tedder for turning the tide on her evolution as an artist saying, “When I wrote ‘Hold On’ with Ryan Tedder that really was what inspired and sparked being able to go a different direction and a new sound in me. That allowed me to branch out and experiment.”
One of the experiments she undertook was releasing an EP first, even though the full studio album is complete and ready to go. I asked her reasoning on this and her eyes lit up as she explained, “I have thought of this idea for awhile!” Continuing, “I had promised my fans music for a long time. I said that it was going to come out in November and then I said January and then I said April. I was just like, I want them to have music now!” So instead of rushing the album, Caillat along with her label and managers, planned a surprise release. “I wanted a five song EP to come out first because I think its just enough to listen to, to get to know the songs. I think that more than 5-6 songs, people don’t have enough time in their days for.” She explained, “Fans can listen to those five songs and get to know them and then help me choose what the next single is going to be,” finishing, “Because they’re the ones that are going to be hearing it on the radio. I want them to help and be involved.”
With the many challenges she has overcome to get to this point she remains optimistic, even giving those obstacles credit for progress. “It’s always hard to stay focused and to stay true to who you are and there’s always a fine line between holding your ground and also accepting change and people’s suggestions.” Concluding, “That’s always been a struggle for me and I think with this record, I’m starting to allow myself to be me more and not alter what I say or how I look. It’s baby steps. I’m not ready to fully do it. But I’m trying.”
Get your copy of Gypsy Heart, Side A on iTunes now! And if you are in the Napa area, be sure to catch the ‘Bubbly’ Ms. Caillat for an exclusive, intimate performance hosted by Robert Mondavi Winery in on July 19, 2014, where she will headline their summer concert series. The complete event information is here.