Interview With: Gavin DeGraw

With a busy work schedule and an eventful summer ahead, Bestfan was thrilled to be able to chat with Gavin DeGraw about his upcoming album Sweeter as well as his latest single “Not Over You”. Gavin is vastly popular for his song “I Don’t Want To Be” as the opening theme for the television series One Tree Hill, as well as for his debut album Chariot several years ago. Since then, he has recorded two other albums, released an acoustic version of Chariot and is now about to release his next album titled Sweeter on August 9th. Before he tours the U.S this summer as a supporting/opening act for Maroon 5 and Train, we got a chance to speak with him about his current successes as well as his future plans.

(Bestfan): First off, congratulations on the new album. You must be so excited!

Gavin DeGraw: Thank you, I am incredibly excited about it. On this particular album I feel like I’ve hit a nice stride artistically and I’ve never been happier with where I’m at creatively. Career wise, everything just feels so good right now. I feel like as an artist, along with the producers I worked with and the guys I wrote a few songs with, we put something together that is really fresh, but very honest. It’s masculine and fun and sexy enough to really satisfy me right now creatively and I’m happy with the cast of people that I’ve been able to be surrounded by. It’s just all been so good.

(Bestfan): On this album, you wrote with co-writers for the first time. How was it working with guys like Ryan Tedder?

Gavin DeGraw: It was great! I wrote two songs with Ryan Tedder and two songs with Andrew Frampton who works a lot with the band The Script, which I love by the way. There are going to be three or four songs on this album that I co-wrote. Ryan and I met backstage a few years ago, and it was a really cool encounter where you see an artist that you respect who happens to respect you back and has a great attitude about the music business. We talked about getting together to write something and finally a few years later it was time for me to make another record. I had written a bunch of songs already and I was feeling like I should get into a room with somebody I respect because it would re-inspire me. He and I got together for the first time in Nashville and wrote a song that was really funky and sexy and I said man, we should do another one of these.

(Bestfan): And “another one of these” turned out to be your latest single, “Not Over You”?

Gavin DeGraw: Yeah! He called me up and asked me to come record with him in Denver and it took about three days before we had finished recording the whole song and at that point we felt really good about it. The music is fun and it has good tension to it but lyrically it’s pretty serious and it has something to it that’s a little deeper. What stands out to me about the song is that it’s about the idea that you could be missing somebody and unable to get past them emotionally but if you were to see them you essentially wouldn’t want to let them know that. I think a lot of people can relate to that, unfortunately and fortunately, and lyrically I just think that a lot of people have lived that emotion.

(Bestfan): When it comes to songwriting, are you the type that writes at any given time or do you set aside a time when you know you’re about to start a new project?

Gavin DeGraw: I write all the time. It’s definitely an ongoing thing for me because writing is my life. Music is my life and creating is my lifestyle. It’s not just something I do on stage or have to be in the studio to do – it’s something that happens accidentally and I get inspired anywhere at anytime. I can wake up in the middle of the night with an idea and record it but then there are other ideas that happen while I’m busy cleaning up my apartment.

(Bestfan): What was the inspiration behind the title of your upcoming album Sweeter?

Gavin DeGraw: I just like the word. One of the reasons that I like it is because it’s very positive and it’s also a word that you can interpret in a lot of different ways.  That’s the good thing about the title being Sweeter verses some other word is that it can be specific to whoever wants to interpret it. Much like a cloud – some people see a tyrannosaurus rex, others see a pizza ya’know. I also like the title because that song, being the title-track, is kind of edgy and sexy and I think it’s a cool sound to be stepping back out with on a new album.

(Bestfan): How did you enjoy filming the video for “Not Over You” in New York City?

Gavin DeGraw: It was great! It was the day before the shoot that I met with the director, the very talented Diane Martel, and she was just so cool and easy to relate to. She reminded me of the vibe that I was looking for when I moved to New York City – fun, relaxed, and nothing was too serious. When we ended up at the location to shoot in Chinatown, that great vibe came from her from the top down and everybody reflected that energy. The video itself brought a nice edge to the song and I think that the way it was shot and edited along with the pace of the video really brought something to song.

(Bestfan): Did you have a lot of input while making the video?

Gavin DeGraw: Yeah a few things, but I really only made one artistic change to the video and it was just the selection of the microphone that I used. I like those old school chrome-looking microphones like in the early Elvin Presley recordings. I just think that the shapes of those microphones are cool to look at, cool to hold and that’s the type I wanted in front of me. When you think about it, it’s like jewellery almost and if the microphone looks lame, it looks like you have lame jewellery in front of your face and I didn’t want that (laughs).

(Bestfan): Where do you see yourself 5 years from now?

Gavin DeGraw: Prison. (Laughs) I’m just kidding. Boy, that’s a really hard question – I’m not certain. Playing music definitely and hopefully on stage somewhere with some bands I like. Maybe at a festival, but at a festival with really clean showers. That’s important.

– End of Interview –

Gavin Degraw released his latest single “Not Over You” just a few weeks ago, and is receiving amazing response thus far. As such a talented artist, he shows a great passion for his music and we cannot wait for his album to be released in August. Until then, check out his video for “Not Over You” below!

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