EXCLUSIVE Interview: Gavin Degraw Talks His New Album, His Fans & More!
Happy Monday Buzznet!
I got the pleasure of doing a phone interview with the talented Gavin Degraw recently! I have been a fan of his music from day 1 and have always been so impressed with how powerful his lyrics were, his songs would be on repeat daily. He has managed to uphold that reputation and his fans are still supporting him over 10 years later! Whether you are a new fan or someone who has been singing along to his music for years, I hope you enjoy this interview and be sure to check out his newest album on iTunes HERE!
You just released a new album, can you tell us a little about that?
I released an album yesterday, my latest. It’s called ‘Finest Hour: The Best Of Gavin Degraw’. It’s essentially a greatest hits type of album but it’s my selection of songs that I want people to hear who haven’t herd my music before to give them a good overview of my music so far. I’ve put out five studio albums and this is me hand picking songs from those albums and going “here check it out, see what you think”. It was a really good time to put out the song fire which I just wrote with a couple of guys I know and we were so excited about this song we were like we gotta get this thing out there immediately so I thought how I could get this out there immediately and I spoke to people I knew and they were like well you know you could put out a best of album because there’s enough material here and we can use your new song “Fire” as part of the way to promote it this way you get to get this song out there to the world.
You have some new songs on the album, whats the process in creating a new song for you?
Well it’s pretty much all over the place you know you have an idea for a melody or lyrics and they start leading the way for each other but ultimately it all has to fit into the frame work of what you think that melody is. The melody is the important thing first and then of course coming up with that lyric. The melody is the design to make you think oh that’s catchy or that’s pretty or that’s fun but the lyric is really where you get the opportunity to allow people to know you and allow the audience to feel like they know you and so the power of a lyric is very special some people can just write a lyric so great that everyone feels like they know them for thirty seconds. The song writing process is always an interesting one and is always fun because you can make something really good or you can really ruin something and you know when you’re done which way you’ve gone. That’s one of the fun things about it, it’s an imperfect system.
The crazy part is as a listener you can take so much from that and create a completely different scenario in your head…
100% exactly, you know music is a way to either escape or be part of something so it’s always interesting to see all the different ways it can be used. For something invisible it’s really quite special you could be in a restaurant listening to one artist but if they put on a different artist it feels like your in a completely different place.
Aside from song writing and all the different challenges that comes from that, what has been one of the biggest obstacles for you as an artist over the years?
Obstacle wise I think has been a couple of years ago I finally decided co-writing and my biggest obstacle was me. I’d get in the way of certain things; I’d be married to a particular idea and it has to be this way so I should just always write alone and these are the things that in my opinion stunted my growth for a while and when I finally decided to try it improvements happened immediately and things changed exponentially for me and improved for me. The biggest thing was getting past some of the restrictions I created for myself because of whatever reason. I had to get past certin ideas.
Do you write for other people as well?
I do but it doesn’t mean they’ll cover the song sometimes I’ll write things and end up doing the song. For me when were in the studio and I was thinking to myself awe man I want Tom Jones to do this song but he’s never even herd the song I wrote it myself . I was thinking about Tom Jones when I wrote “Leading Man” and when I wrote “Follow Through” I was thinking about Paul McCartney and so sometimes you write a song for someone but not necessarily because their gonna sing it, you write it and think about what someone like that would do or like to do without them even hearing it
You have some amazing fans that have stuck with you over the years since the beginning; whats the best thing a fan has ever done for you that stands out in your head?
Fans have done some really great things. If your lucky enough to have a fan base they’ll really change your life. Years ago when I was out on tour living in a van and things were rough a fan came up to me and she gave me a Starbucks gift card and getting free coffee and a snack here and there was very helpful to me, it was a big deal. Fans making scrapbooks and putting together photos of you over the course of your summer tour or your album cycle or if they’ve been coming to your shows for years and they have a book made of them and another fan that they became friends with by listening to your music or online, its very special to see how you can become part of a community and it’s very flattering and sometimes when your writing music you don’t think about that stuff or the residual affects that are really quite inspiring . Things like that are just so cool. When we first started touring wed do a show and wouldn’t have any money to stay at a hotel and people are like hey man you can shower at my house and just stuff like that. The early part of your career it’s a really special thing because people are trying to help you and a lot of those people stay with you your entire career if your lucky. And they defend you and promote you and tell their friends about you and its really a special thing.
Fans don’t even realize they are half of the magic, you could sit there and play all your amazing songs to yourself but the whole point is you want other people to be inspired by them so it’s great…
Exactly, and everyone wants to feel special. Everyone wants to feel at the end of the day that they are appreciated and music is one of those lucky jobs were you get done with your work day and people clap for you. There’s not too many jobs where at the end of the day people start clapping.
Because you are someone who has clearly followed their dreams do you have any advice for anyone that’s struggling trying to follow their dreams right now?
I guess a couple things, you have to be completely dedicated to it, if your pursuing your dream you still have to go to work concerning that thing. If it’s your dream you have to put the hours in. If your doing that thing that’s your dream but it only feels like work then that’s not your dream, it shouldn’t feel like work. You’re going to work but it shouldn’t feel like work, if it does that’s not the dream it, can’t be, it has to be fun. Music is always fun for me.
It’s one of those things that once it sparks you, you should always be inspired and excited to continue it…
Exactly, you know my brother just lost a very close friend who was a master carpenter and artist and he said to him “I never worked a day in my life.” …and he was a man who went to work everyday.
It’s so true and its one of the most challenging things…
Yea but you know some people they have different dreams, they don’t necessarily dream of doing what they love they just dream of being famous or rich or have the person who teased me in high school work for me. There’s totally different dreams and different versions of what people consider to be a dream so its hard to give advice. I just say if it is your dream it should be something you love and it’s possible for anybody. If I can be here doing this for a living anybody can.
Since you did use to travel in a van, if you could design your dream tour bus and have some of your essentials that you’ve just dreamt up in your head, what would your dream tour bus look like?
My dream tour bus would be a jet with a hotel in it, hahaha. That would be my dream tour bus. It’s actually a plane that is a hotel.
If you could no longer do what you were doing right now what impact would that have on you?
My life would be nothing similar to what it is now because it’s my favorite thing to do. I don’t know, that’s hard for me It would defeat me, I cant think of anything that would make me feel more defeated than not being able to do what I love.
Any last words for your fans?
I wanna tell them thank you and you’ve changed my life and I love you for that and I hope to see them soon.
What do YOU guys think of Gavin Degraw? Do you have a favorite song?