It’s not as if Colbie Caillat has never had her heart broken, experienced a major letdown, or had a low point in her life.
But instead of wallowing in sorrow through her songs, she prefers to have her music focus on whatever positive lessons can be taken from a setback.
That’s why the singer-songwriter – who broke through with the hit “Bubbly” – tends to have song titles like “Think Good Thoughts,” “What If” and “Dream Life, Life,” all featured on her third and latest CD, “All of You.”
“I think that music is therapy,” says Caillat, 26, the daughter of producer Ken Caillat (Fleetwood Mac).
“So when I write a song, I write from exact moments that I go through, and I know that everyone can relate, because everybody goes through the same situations in life.”
Q: Are you amazed at how far you’ve come since your debut?
A: I performed at the White House a few months ago. I met the first family and I sang the national anthem on the White House balcony. …
I was so emotional that day, I couldn’t believe that I had the opportunity to be there with the president and the first family, and that I’ve won two Grammys, and I’ve written with Common and Jason Mraz and Taylor Swift. When I think of these things, I have to pinch myself, because I would have never have imagined this to happen for my career when I was younger.
Q: “Bubbly” rocketed you to fame. Do you ever try and re-create that moment?
A: I think as an artist, I think you have to know how to stay true to who you are and your music, because your fans fell in love with you for a reason. They like a certain style and a sound that you have.
But you also have to grow as an artist and a musician, so with all of my records, I definitely have learned from the producers around me and the musicians that come in to play, and the writers that I get to work with, and artists that I work with, so I think you have to develop. …
This record is more up-tempo, and I added more electric guitars and programmed beats under the real live instruments, and I did a hip-hop collaboration with Common, and we have the ukulele in it.
Q: You’ve been criticized at times for being too cheery. How do you respond to that?
A: Everyone has a different taste, everyone has a different style and that’s what I’ve learned. You can’t be upset if one person doesn’t like your music or your song, because hundreds or thousands of people do love it. …
I think that you should write from your heart, write from what you’re feeling, write songs that will help people get through life situations, because we all need help, we all need reminders, and we do need that optimism. …
There’s so much stress and clutter and craziness going on, I think people need a clearer vision.
Q: You’ve found love with Justin Young, who is a singer-songwriter, and a guitarist in your band. Is it difficult having a relationship with someone you work with?
A: I feel lucky that I get to work with a person that I’m in love with. He’s my best friend and we get to travel the world together and play music together and write songs together.
It’s so much fun, and when this job stresses me out or I need a break or I need someone to look to that can comfort me, he is right there, and we can do that for each other.
Of course with anyone you are with too much, you can get a little on each other’s nerves. But it lasts for like five minutes, and then you’re over it and you’re happy again that they’re there with you.