It’s easy to fall for Callaghan, especially when you see her in action on her “Best Year” video. She’s one of those performers whose genuine sweetness is transparent in her voice and it shines through her writing. If you’re feeling low and you need a lift, watch and listen. You’ll feel like you’ve got a new pal. Life In Full Colour is joyful listening.
Ruth Gerson: What was the writing process for Life in Full Colour? Are these songs throughout a specific time period of your life? Were there any writing collaborations?
Callaghan: Because Life in Full Colour was my first full-length album I had a lot of songs to choose from. We ended up with a short list of about 40 songs that then got reduced down to the final 12. The tracks range from very new to songs I wrote several years ago, on my own or as co-writes. It was a really fun process getting to choose the songs for the album — I wanted the finished record to cover a range of different emotions and tempos so it would take the listener on a journey, similar to the ups and downs everyone experiences in life.
RG: Were there any challenges in recording songs from different times in your life and finding a way for them to all come together on one record?
C: Some of the songs were easier to record than others, and sometimes the most challenging thing is knowing what to leave out. It’s tempting in the studio to keep adding more and more instruments into the mix but sometimes less is definitely more! I learnt a lot about the recording process through working with Shawn Mullins on the album. He is such a talented producer and really helped bring my songs to life.
RG: How has it been leaving your home and making new roots in the U.S.? What do you miss most and what do you like the most about the change?
C: Sometimes it feels like yesterday since moving to the U.S. I can’t believe how quickly almost two years have flown by, probably because I have been so busy! It has been an amazing experience getting to do music full time and record my album and tour the country. I have met such fantastic people along the way and have really been overwhelmed with the response I have had. I have been to about 30 states so far, and I’m enjoying the adventure of discovering new places. There’s a really supportive and welcoming atmosphere here, and a real appetite for live music.
Being apart from friends and family in the UK certainly never gets any easier and that’s the one thing I really miss from home. Luckily I don’t really miss British food because I discovered you can get quite a few British items in the “ethnic food” aisle of supermarkets, which I think is hilarious!
RG: Was your family musical or did you come to it on your own? Was it something you always wanted to do?
C: I have two older sisters and my parents always encouraged all of us when it came to music and learning new instruments. There was always music going on somewhere in the house. I have been singing for as long as I can remember, I wrote my first song when I was 14 and have never stopped since that point. I can’t imagine spending my life doing anything other than music, and I’m really grateful that I’m able to make my living from something I love.
RG: What were some of your favorite and most influential records growing up? Do you feel they are reflected in your sound?
C: One of the first records I remember listening to a lot was Shawn Mullins’ album Soul’s Core, which I still listen to a lot now.
I also remember my parents’ records of Elton John, James Taylor and Johnny Cash. I was really drawn to lyrics and stories and would always read the words on the back of the record as I was listening to the songs. As I got older I became more interested in pop music and the Brit-Pop bands that were around at the time like Pulp, Oasis and Beautiful South. I’ve always been open to a lot of different musical genres and take influences from any song that moves me — regardless of what genre it is in. I think that’s reflected in my sound which is a cross-over blend of several genres.
RG: Knowing what you know now — if you could pop in on yourself three years ago, or five years ago, what advice would you give?
C: I would definitely tell myself to be a bit more patient! I’ve realized that building a career sustainably takes time and that even the stories of overnight successes often have been working at it for years. I would also remember to trust my own judgement on things. In this industry there are always a lot of people willing to tell you what you should be doing but I think one of the best pieces of advice I could have been given is to go with your gut instinct on what feels right.