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Interviews: Gavin DeGraw

Gavin DeGraw: Interview
December 2003
By: Blair Bryant

In recent music news, there has been a lot of buzz about a particular twenty-six year-old singer-songwriter. This recording artist has a very impressive debut album which has won over critics and fans alike. He has been well known in the New York club scene for some time. This talented individual is none other than Gavin DeGraw.

DeGraw has been the focus of a lot of attention as of late. He is an artist who carefully crafts and nurtures his music and has an edge over many of his industry counterparts. Exuding emotion and charisma from his raspy yet powerful voice, DeGraw is sure to draw one's attention and keep it almost effortlessly, but it is his hard work over the years that has gotten him to the point where he is now.

Recently completing a tour supporting Maroon 5, DeGraw has been showing audiences nationwide what he's made of and immediately gaining fans in the process. He has been surprised by the reaction of the crowds--- many of which have been singing along. DeGraw says, "I was actually surprised that the people know the words to the album. When they show up at the gigs, you know, it's not really my name that's on the marquee.'

Getting audiences' attention is nothing new for DeGraw. He came into the New York music scene in 1998 where he frequented clubs and became a crowd favorite. Captivating audiences with his guitar and piano skills which compliment his melodic voice, DeGraw became a hit and later, caught the attention of music mogul Clive Davis. His very much-anticipated album Chariot gives listeners all over the country an idea as to why he's adored in New York City by concert-goers. DeGraw holds his early experiences in New York City close to his heart. He reveals in a recent interview, "It was perfect for me. My favorite thing is to play small clubs and play for neighborhood people, you know, and I kind of felt pretty comfortable." He recalls, "There's a very, very unusually, unusually great experience, unusually great scene playing for people in New York and they would come out every week and they became good friends. I don't know if that can ever happen again."

Already having notoriety in the New York club scene, DeGraw seemed destined to get where he is now. Growing up in the Catskill region of New York in a musical family, he began playing the piano and singing at the age of eight and started songwriting around age fifteen. A few years later, DeGraw attended Ithaca College where he had received a music scholarship, only to leave after one semester. Berklee College of Music was his next stop, but he ultimately left in pursuit of spreading his wings musically. Thus, he headed to New York City some time later and became very popular amongst the crowds.

If his successful past in New York City wasn't enough, DeGraw's song I Don't Want To Be became the theme song for the new WB series One Tree Hill. Still on the heels of the first single from Chariot, Follow Through, a little twist of fate landed I Don't Want To Be as the theme song for the series. "It was a bit of a surprise. I got a call from the people who produce that show. They said they were interested in using it." DeGraw recalls when receiving the news, "How did you hear about it? 'Well someone has the record at the office.' Oh cool!" The heartfelt I Don't Want To Be is a song about life in general for DeGraw--- one that would have enthusiastic crowds singing along, while receiving a bit of a look inside of who DeGraw is. Not to mention this song in particular is one which definitively showcases DeGraw's talents.

As the year is coming to a close and a new one begins, great things have been happening for DeGraw. Releasing a critically acclaimed major label debut, touring with Maroon 5 and gaining a fan base which is rapidly growing, DeGraw will also make an appearance at Irving Plaza on New Years Eve. This particular venue is one in which he is looking forward to playing. "It's gonna be a lot of fun. It's a cool place," DeGraw says of the venue, in which he is quite fond of. "It's a really cool place. It has a cool sound system and it's like a big bar."

With an amazing year bestowed upon him, DeGraw is sure to only go up from here on out. Kicking off the new year with a show at Irving Plaza, the upcoming release of I Don't Want To Be as the next single, and his first headlining tour beginning in January 2004, there are many exciting things in store for DeGraw. He's one to keep an eye on for you undoubtedly will see more of him now and in the future.