As the Artist Stories Panel came to a close in USC's Booth 100 and all the Campers from different tracks headed to lunch, the Music Journalists stayed behind to get a little more out of the panelists. With other press from such outlets as CNN and AP waiting patiently in a single-file line to get an interview, each Music Journalist had time for only one question each. GRAMMY® Winner Colbie Caillat was very friendly and answered each of the questions with honesty.
Julian Ring: I was wondering how has the fact that you have a father who is a producer inspired you to get into the music business?
Colbie Caillat: I don’t know if it did at the beginning because I just loved singing. I heard Lauryn Hill when I was 11 years old, and I knew from then on that I wanted to be a singer when I grew up. But, because I wanted to be a singer, my dad told me how important it was to learn how to play an instrument, and become a songwriter and an artist. So, by being in the studio with him, and hearing the work he had done, and hearing him teach me how song structure worked…what a verse, a chorus, and what a bridge was, and how you’re supposed to go there to make the song change, and then go back to the chorus. He taught me a lot about music, and really, because of him, I started writing songs and playing guitar.
Susan Ewing: Are there any artists at all that you want to collaborate with and you feel you could have that comfort level with?
Caillat: I’ve been telling people I want to work with Common. I love hip hop and R&B and I’ve done collaborations with people who are in the same music format like acoustic pop. I love Common and I’ve met with him and I told him I want to work with him and I hope someday I’ll get to do that because I think we could come up with some cool melodies together and he could be very rhythmic with his rapping.
Nick Arnold: As an artist who broke through in the past decade, you’ve witnessed the greatest rate of change in the history of the music industry. What advice would you give to these new singer-songwriters and musicians who are trying to break through?
Caillat: Social networking is a good way if you’re a songwriter. If you’re a musician or songwriter, put all of your songs up on You Tube, MySpace, Twitter, Facebook, any of those. Start asking your fans which songs they like the most, and get their advice on which songs to choose. Start pairing yourself with a business, because there are so many aspects of it that are challenging and difficult, and once you learn them and have them down you can really evolve from there. Practice whatever craft you’re passionate about, and build everything around it.
Jenay Ross: In the panel, you were talking about how you use to be shy. What advice would you give singer-songwriters who are shy and are trying to break through that?
Caillat: Lots of things. First of all, it takes a while, so it’s not going to happen overnight. I’m still a little nervous, but nowhere near what I was in the beginning. So, when you’re on stage, you’re in the process of having to perform in front of someone. Take deep breaths. Remember to smile and remember they’re there to hear you and it’s about music enjoyment and also I’m going to work with a stage coach and someone that can work with me through why I get nervous. So, do whatever it takes to work your way through that mentally and write notes. And someone else told me to stand in front of a mirror and say like ten good things about yourself and try to build up your confidence that way.
Dertrick Winn: You gained a lot of popularity through MySpace and You Tube. Did you plan to gain success off of your online social networks?
Caillat: No, None of it. I was writing songs and recording songs for fun in the studio and I wasn’t ever planning on going to record labels and I wasn’t playing shows and I just didn’t know what I was going to do with it. My friend put songs on my MySpace for me and he told me about it and after six months I had grown a fan base. I didn’t know about social networking at the time. I didn’t know what It was going to turn into. It’s unbelievable to me but it works and it’s helped so many people, musicians and artists get to where they’re at. Everyone.