Gavin Degraw could have been just another pop artist, delivering catchy melodies and catchy choruses, delivering songs that are calibrated for radio and MTV. The hit that propelled him to the top of the charts, I Don't Want to Be, almost fits that description. Almost, because years later, it doesn't seem to have aged a bit. And for good reason, the artist has never had an affinity for music that is consumed and then forgotten. What he wants to do is create timeless, universal tracks that you never tire of listening to again and again. And clearly, this is a challenge he has met with flying colours.
Certainly, his choruses are catchy and his music invites you to dance with a smile on your face. But if you listen a little more closely to the songs of this piano prodigy, who studied at the Berklee College of Music, you quickly realise that underneath the shiny varnish are some real nuggets. Texts that speak of reality, positive or sad, with finesse and without fuss. Because this son of a prison guard and a nurse who grew up in the Catskills of New York State knows what he is talking about. Life, the real thing, the one that is as rough as it is cheerful, as unexpected as it is fiery, is something he has been around since he was a child.
Perhaps that's why his songs speak to everyone, why they connect people from so many different worlds around a pop that is underlined by a touch of soul, folk or country. "I want them to enjoy the therapy of music. I want them to feel good," is how the artist talks about his audience. And even if his lyrics sometimes describe serious subjects, his melodies are comforting. A positive energy that can be felt 1000 times over when he takes to the stage. Behind his piano or on the guitar, you don't need to be a mentalist to understand that he is happy to be there to give his audience raw emotions and an unstoppable joie de vivre.
While working on his first album, the young singer and musician, who started playing the piano at the age of eight, says "I was concerned about developing a sound that wasn't disposable. I didn't want to have too much glitter on me". But for better, glitter would soon come into his life. The single from her debut album I Don't Want to Be was chosen as the theme song for the series One Tree Hill and the artist exploded in the charts. With over a million albums sold and a platinum certification, Gavin Degraw's success never waned. Album after album, he establishes himself as an essential artist.
Between 2011 and 2015, Gavin Degraw shared the stage with some of the biggest names. From Billy Joel and The Allman Brothers to Maroon 5 and Shania Twain, he instills a joie de vivre and positive vibe wherever he performs. In 2013, he released his fourth album, Make a Move, as well as a single written with Colbie Caillat called We Both Know. The latter was chosen as the soundtrack for the film Safe Heaven. The film industry is still very much a part of the singer's life, but always for the better, as the song was nominated for a Grammy Award in the category of best song written for the audiovisual industry.
This is perhaps his most accomplished album. In 2022, Gavin Degraw released Face the River, a little gem where he tells and recounts his story, from the love story between his parents to the tragic loss of his mother and father. Life's trials and tribulations speak to everyone on melodies that are never nostalgic but invite us to raise our chins and smile at what we have, even in the most tragic moments. A glimmer of hope that the artist carries on stage, instilling his good vibes even in difficult times.
One of the best concerts ever! Gavin Degraw is a very down to earth person, with an incredible voice and a great band. After five minutes the whole audience was letting loose to his music in a positive atmosphere, which was really nice to see. An authentic and sincere show, completely in the image of this exceptional artist.
If there's one artist you need to see live, it's Gavin Degraw. His appearances in France are far too rare to be missed and his way of warming up the atmosphere with a verse is unique and, above all, feels great. With him, there are no taboos, universal subjects are tackled on a music that lifts the hearts. We want more and more.
At the end of May, multi-platinum artist Gavin DeGraw released his seventh and most personal studio album, Face The River, via RCA Records. On the album, the Grammy-nominated singer recounts the most meaningful memories and valuable lessons of his late parents as he assembles his own timeless tale, accompanied by a signature fusion of pop, soul, country, folk and funk.