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Caillat finds peace with ‘Breakthrough’

Musician Colbie Caillat performs Tuesday at the Knitting Factory.  (Associated Press / The Spokesman-Review)
Musician Colbie Caillat performs Tuesday at the Knitting Factory. (Associated Press / The Spokesman-Review)
Natalie Rotman Associated Press

Colbie Caillat found platinum success with her very first CD – and it paralyzed her when it came to writing her sophomore album.

Caillat, who comes to the Knitting Factory Concert House for a sold-out show Tuesday, had one of the more popular hits of 2007 with the dreamy song “Bubbly,” off her debut album “Coco.”

It had her so in demand she went from opening for acts like John Mayer to headlining shows, and writing with sensations like Taylor Swift.

Life got so hectic for the 24-year-old that she experienced writer’s block. She was so busy touring she felt like she had no time to actually live life and experience real emotions to write about.

So she went away with “American Idol” judge and songwriter Kara DioGuardi to brainstorm for new material, and ended up talking about relationships and heartbreak – just the kind of inspiration Caillat needed for her new CD, “The Breakthrough,” which debuted at the top of the Billboard albums chart earlier this month.

The album’s title not only represents breaking her creative impasse, but accomplishing other goals as well.

Q. So, when I say “Breakthrough,” what comes to mind?

A. I have been struggling for years with stage fright, and finally I woke up a couple of months ago and I knew I had a lot of preparation for this new album coming out. I was going to be going on tour again and I had to find ways for me to love it, and breakthrough my fears and my insecurities and be comfortable with myself as a young woman …

Sometimes I would be having a great show and having fun and the next night I would be terrified and almost cry before I go out on stage. It was just inconsistent. I think it has to do with being comfortable in your own skin and finding out how to do that.

Q. You were young when you had your initial success. Was that hard?

A. Well, what was so hard was my first record, I didn’t have any preparation for it. I put my songs up on MySpace, and all of a sudden got a record deal from that, and went on tour with the Goo Goo Dolls. …

So I felt as though I got thrown into this business, and it took me two years to figure out and learn how to deal with it and to love it and now I do.

Q. With more success comes more expectations. Do you feel pressure from those around you to create or do you block that out?

A. I felt pressure from the beginning when I had to write for this record because after I had been on tour for a year and a half and when I was writing on tour, I was writing these sad songs about missing home, and I was just worried that I was going to have this depressing album. …

Once I decided to let go of that I went to Hawaii in January with my friend Jason Reeves and Kara DioGuardi. We were there for three weeks, and we had this house on the beach and just were writing songs and talking about experiences and love and breakups that we all go through and really having, like, this therapy session of everything that we go through in life, and how we can write about it and how we can have people relate to it.

Q: I know that you are friends with Taylor Swift. Did you two collaborate?

A. I wrote a song with Taylor Swift for her new album. It’s called “Breathe” and I went to Nashville about a year and a half ago, and she wanted to write with me, and I flew there and we worked on the songs one morning, and she had this beautiful song started and it’s about having to let someone go and say goodbye to a really good friend.

And we became friends after that. She is so sweet, so beautiful, so talented and honestly just a really intelligent young woman. She knows what she is doing, and she knows how to handle her career and take charge. I love her.

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