Quick Draw DeGraw

22 Sep

American singer/songwriter Gavin DeGraw gives the lowdown on his newfound success and his latest album. HIROMI INOMATA writes.

FIVE years after his debut album Chariot, which spawned hits including the shout-out-loud I Don’t Wanna Be (the theme song for One Tree Hill TV series), 31-year-old American singer/songwriter Gavin DeGraw finally released his eponymous album.

It peaked at No. 7 on the Billboard Hot 200 Album chart, and No. 1 on Digital Sales chart shortly after its release, with the first single In Love With A Girl, a monster hit. The latest single, Cheated on Me is currently riding the airwaves.

Discovered by legendary producer Clive Davis – the man who gave us Whitney Houston and Alicia Keys, while performing at a lounge in Manhattan, DeGraw was in Tokyo to promote the album release recently, where he gave an intimate showcase at a nightclub.

Here is a question-and-answer session with the singer.

Question: How have you been since the release of your last album?

Answer: Well, I spent about 3´ years touring, and came off road in the middle of 2006. I stayed on the road so long because I didn’t have a major success until about the middle of 2005 (with the first album). So when it really caught on, I decided to hit it hard while people were interested. After coming off road, I continued writing, going in and out of the studios, looking for the sound, hanging out with different producers, to try and get it all together. It’s a big industry, and there were couple of booby traps along the way, but that’s pretty much what I’ve been doing.

Q: Do you think the success of your previous album changed you both musically and personally?

A: I don’t know if the success changed my life, but I think the commitment to try to achieve success did. What I mean is that after I made my first record, my life hadn’t quite changed yet. It changed when I took my music gear and suitcase and threw it in the back of my van and decided to do my first tour. From that point on, I completely altered my life-style. I was on a career path to pursue music and to pursue some level of commercial success in music. It wasn’t until I committed to the lifestyle of living on the road to attain that success, did my life changes.

Q: How has it changed?

A: Well, I live from city to city now, and it’s been that way ever since I packed my first suitcase. For the most part I’ve been enjoying it. I didn’t have an opportunity to travel when I was a child because we didn’t have the money. So I didn’t have the opportunity to see the world, so now that I do, I have an appreciation for it. Now I may be overdoing it because it’s like I’m on a vacation everyday! I travel to different city everyday with my camera, taking pictures.

Q: What was the reason you chose In Love With A Girl to be your first single?

A: I just felt it was a good representation of what was my initial success, which was the song I Don’t Want To Be. I felt that if people heard this new song, it would remind the listener of the first song. They’ll go “hey, is this the same guy who did I Don’t Want To Be?” I was hoping to give some sense of familiarity, rather than shock value. I just wanted to give a slight shift. The next song can be totally different, but for the first song, I just wanted to remind people of a similar sound.

Q: Can you define the girl in this song? Have you met her?

A: Have I met her? Probably… I don’t know. The song conceptually is about what a person needs. And what you need, I think, is someone who cares about you enough to love you through all of your faults. Even though they might be trying to change some of the things to suit them better, they are also willing to adapt and help you through your own issues. That’s really the idea of the tune, having someone who loves you enough that they even will put up with the things that aren’t loveable.

Q: How about the song Cheated On Me? How personal is this?

A: I think that a lot of people can identify with that feeling. There can be so many little angles about that sort of feeling, and I don’t know anybody who’s never been jealous. I don’t think it’s possible, do you? I think that the DNA says you are supposed to be competitive about your affections. I don’t think it’s too honest to say that you are jealous, and I think this song is an important piece of the personality puzzle of an artiste. I think that the celebrity world is a tabloid world, and the audiences want to know the personal lives of the people they are paying attention to. So I may as well let them know of my personal life. “I’m jealous!”

Q: You had a cameo on One Tree Hill and What I Like About You. Have you ever thought of branching into acting career?

A: I don’t think my performance was good enough to go get an acting agent! I’ve thought about doing some acting work, I’d love to write a couple of films because I’ve some story-lines that I’ve written, and I think they are killer concepts. But I don’t know if I have the time to do that right now. I’d like to do more of it if it was possible and I don’t know how well that would go. I really want to play the bad guy! I really admire Jack Nicholson (characters) type of stuff. The likable, but negative too, and he’s so good with that. But my favourite actor is Gary Oldman, he’s the best. He plays the pimp in the movie True Romance, he’s got dreads and if you watch it you are not going to believe who he is after you have seen him in some other movie. I also want to do a movie with Mark Wahlberg. He makes great movies. But my favourite movie of all time is called Tombstone because it’s western, and I love cowboy movies. In cowboy movies, the good guys get to be very macho and that’s very cool!

Q: How familiar are you with the Southeast Asian (Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia) culture?

A: Not very, but I think I like your food. I’m going to have to read a book to find out more about your culture.

Q: I guess you are going to have to come visit and find out.

A: I’d love to because I’ve never been there. I’m going to come back here (Tokyo) hopefully for a world tour. So I’d like to stop by at other Asian countries. I just had a discussion with one of my representatives and she said that I should definitely go to that region of the world. – Courtesy of Sony/BMG Music

New Straits Times

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: