Colbie Caillat is ready to get personal with her fans. Her North American tour for her newest album, The Malibu Sessions, is completely acoustic and much more intimate than any of her other shows. The Vanderbilt Hustler spoke with The Malibu native to discuss going back to her old sound, moving to Nashville, and starting her own music label. You can catch Colbie and her raw and relaxed performance at Schermerhorn Symphony Center on Tuesday night at 8 pm.
Vanderbilt Hustler: The Malibu Sessions tour is completely acoustic. How did that idea come about and why did you want to do it this way?
Colbie Caillat: I’ve always loved playing acoustic shows and having the show more stripped down. I feel like with [acoustic] you can hear the songs with more clarity, I can hear myself better. I can interact with the audience because I can hear them well. My fans and I can have more of an interaction on and off stage. So it’s something I’ve always wanted to do, and for this tour we’re playing the whole new album from start to finish and ending the show with some songs that everyone knows. So it’s more of a listening experience and story telling. People can ask questions, and it’s in a small theater so it’s definitely a more intimate setting.
VH: Tell us about the story behind The Malibu Sessions. It was much more acoustic/raw than I expected. Was there a tone you were trying to set with the album?
CC: Well I recorded it 3.5 years ago, before I put out my last album Gypsy Heart. I was on a label that didn’t think the sound was commercial enough, so they wanted me to write a new record. So I did that. But I left that label a year ago, and I wanted to start my own label and put this album out. It was a piece of work that we worked on for two months. We went to this beach house of my favorite writer and producer out in Malibu. The sound was inspired by Paul Simon and classic rock and 70s music, with very bright and fun guitar.
VH: So wait, was the whole album recorded in that beach house?
CC: Yeah. We turned the whole downstairs into a full blown studio. We had to custom make curtains to put up on all of the wall because the ocean waves were coming through and you could hear the sound. My producer brought his entire studio, all of his equipment from Hollywood to the hose in a semi. We all moved into our own bedrooms and just recorded for two months. We went to the beach, made good food. It was really cool to record an album that way.
VH: From your perspective, how has your sound progressed since the beginning?
CC: What’s interesting is that I first started writing when I was 19. So when I put my album Coco out, those were the first songs I had ever written. I had only been writing for a year and a half, so all of those songs made it on the album. That was the sound that I was coming up with at the time and that was the style that I always wanted to do. Every album after that, I got to go out and experiment with different people and learn as a writer. Every album afterwards had a different feel to it because I was still learning. Then I realized the songs I loved performing the most were the songs from the first album. So I wanted to write this album, The Malibu Sessions with more that vibe to it, acoustic and stripped down.
VH: The decision to go on and represent yourself and creating your own label, PlummyLou Records; was that something you always considered doing or was that sort of impromptu?
CC: It was something that I had thought about for a couple of years. I had reached the point with the label where it wasn’t the right fit anymore. I think that we had that long relationship where it we still wanted to work together, but after Gypsy Heart I felt like we weren’t on the same page with how we worked. So that’s why I was like ‘this is the time to just go for it.’
VH: You’re moving to Nashville! Are you excited?
CC: Kind of like leaving my old label, this was something my fiancé and I thought about for a while now…I don’t know, after living in California, I couldn’t imagine living anywhere else where it got cold. I’d always say “yeah, as much as I love it here, I’d never leave.” But we crave going back to Nashville. [It’s] just got such cute houses with character. We’ve been wanting to try somewhere different so we finally moved out here about two weeks ago. We were only there for a few days before we left for the tour. But we love it. I don’t know how we will feel this winter but… we’re gonna try it.
VH: What’s one of your favorite hobbies?
CC: We’re very outdoorsy, so hiking is great. Standup paddle boarding, going to lakes or the beach, and of course dog walks. We go to Hawaii a lot. I think just being with friends and family and being in a relationship with all of its ups and downs, there’s always a lot of content going around. But just experiencing life. I mostly just like to be at home. My home life is very important to me, surrounded by friends, family, and our dogs.
VH: What more should we expect at these intimate shows?
CC: Just that I’m playing the new album from start to finish and I hope people have heard it before so they can sing along to it. And I will be playing some old songs that they know so they don’t have to worry about that. Have questions ready because it’s going to be open and interactive. It’ll be chill.