Armed simply with her dusky vocals and acoustic guitar, Colbie Caillat and her homespun music continue to resonate with listeners and win new fans. Little more than a year after the release of her nearly double platinum debut album “CoCo,” Caillat has so quickly made such an enduring impact that USA Today declared the California girl a vital part of “a new wave of troubadours luring fans of all ages into a peaceful, easy feeling.” The national newspaper puts her in the company of other platinum plus artists like Sara Bareilles, Caillat’s musical hero Jack Johnson, and her good friend and duet partner, Jason Mraz.
As Caillat told USA Today, “[my] songs are optimistic and bright. I grew up in southern California and Hawaii. The lifestyle was laid back and I listened to mellow, positive music, like Bob Marley and Jack Johnson. So I think that’s all inside me. I’m happy, and that gets expressed in my music.”
Now, fans of Caillat’s Universal Republic debut have another reason to be happy, too: on October 21, Caillat returns with “CoCo – Deluxe Edition.”
On “CoCo-Deluxe Edition,” fans are treated not only to the 12 tracks originally featured on “CoCo,” but nine additional recordings. Highlights include three new Caillat tunes, “Older,” “Circles” and “Something Special”; alternate takes on her massive breakthrough hit “Bubbly” and “Magic,” and live versions of a pair of songs originally performed by two of Caillat’s favorite artists: Lauryn Hill’s lovely “Tell Him” and Bob Marley’s sultry “Turn Your Lights Down Low.”
Plus, “CoCo –Deluxe Edition” features two very special collaborations: Marley’s legendary backing band, The Wailers, duet with Caillat on a lilting, reggae remake of the Dusty Springfield classic “Brand New Me,” and Colombian superstar Juanes joins Caillat on her remake of his gorgeous “Hoy Me Voy.” For Caillat, a lifelong Marley fan, recording the Dusty Springfield song “Brand New Me” with The Wailers was a dream come true.
For the three new songs, she once again teamed with co-writer/producer Mikal Blue, who helmed “CoCo.” Writing happens organically for Caillat, usually after a small gestation period. “I just let stuff build up inside of me and I’ll write three songs in a weekend. It’s like this release,” she says. “I don’t pick something to write about. When I’m playing guitar, a melody comes out and whatever words come out, I go along with that.”
Fans who already own “CoCo” can download the new material on iTunes.
At the core of Caillat’s appeal are her honesty and lack of pretense. And her intense desire to create a body of work that resonates from the first note to the last. “I hate having to change an album because you don’t like that song or you want to go to the next,” she says. “I want someone to just be able to put the album on and listen all the way through.”
She is one of the brightest new artists to emerge in the last few years and the first true myspace.com discovery.
With no marketing push and only the power of the music behind her, Caillat became a sensation on the social networking site starting in 2006 when, upon the advice of friends, she began uploading her songs to her page.
By then, her talent had been developing for years. Caillat started singing around the house as a small girl, but a pivotal moment came when she was 11 after she heard the Fugees’ Hill sing “Killing Me Softly.” “It made me want to start singing,” Caillat recalls, “so I sang one of her songs at a talent show in sixth grade.”
As she focusing on songwriting in her late teens, Caillat discovered an innate talent for observing and capturing significant moments, such as that first blush of love or passage into adulthood. She also found two great collaborators in producer/songwriter Blue and singer/songwriter Jason Reeves. Together, they crafted the songs on “Coco.”
“CoCo” debuted at No. 5 on Billboard’s Top 200 albums chart and remained in the top 20 of the chart more than half a year after the CD’s release. “Bubbly” spent a staggering 14 weeks at No. 1 on Billboard’s Adult Top 40 chart and four weeks atop the Adult Contemporary chart. “Bubbly” has also been certified platinum; signaling sales of more than 2.6 million downloads. Second single “Realize,” about a friend, who was secretly in love with Caillat, was also a huge hit. And the third is proving to be the charm as “Little Things” is following the path of its predecessors.
Since the album’s debut, Caillat has been a constant fixture on the road in the U.S., Europe, Australia and Asia. She’s alternated between headlining her own sold-out concerts and opening for such artists as John Mayer, one of her major influences.
Fans’ stories of how her music has touched them make her smile. “People tell me ‘Bubbly’ made them realize that they weren’t in love with their boyfriend because their boyfriend doesn’t give them those feelings in the song,” she says. “I was like ‘Oh my gosh! Wow! That wasn’t my intention, but at least that’s helped you.”
While such moments with individual fans mean so much, one collective experience stands out brightly in Caillat’s mind: playing New York’s legendary Madison Square Garden. As she concluded “Bubbly,” “everyone took their cell phones out. It was completely dark and all you could see from the top to the bottom of the place was cell phones. That was a trip.”
When she’s not on stage, she usually can be found with guitar in hand, writing. “That’s what I do for fun. I [get] together with Jason Reeves and Mikal Blue, and we put songs down on tape.”
She already has a number of songs ready for her next full length album and she promises they will reflect the amazing journey she continues to take as a young woman and an increasingly accomplished artist—mistakes and joys included—or as she laughingly put it: “I’m  and I’m still learning.”