We’re thrilled to get two powerful, successful female songwriters together speaking openly on joy, pain, vulnerability and love.
Colbie, a multi-Grammy winner, is one of the top selling artists of the last decade. Tristan has broken our hearts for years and is one of the most talented songwriters we know.
We’re excited about both their new albums now out.
MP: At the heart of it, what is it really that inspires you and drives your art?
Colbie Caillat: I get inspired by what I go through. Experiencing all these different things we all go through like heartache, falling in love, watching a family member or a friend going through [something], and trying to write about it from a different perspective.
What’s really cool is to be able to write music and have people around the world [who are] able to relate to it. They tell you that [your] song helped them get through a divorce or they got married to that song. It makes me want to keep doing that for [myself] and for people.
Tristan Prettyman: Colbie, I love how you can write songs that aren’t depressing all the time. [laughs] I always feel like I’m writing when I’m going through some crappy situation and then I love that I can put on your CD. I just love that you can write about all these different elements and not just when things are down. You can write songs that people want to get married to.
CC: You do it, too. Of course I get sad. All the songs usually start out sad. I just try to turn it around. See the positive. I have to reach for that. What inspires you, Tris?
TP: Going through life and whatever it throws [my] way. For this next record, I wasn’t going for a break up record or something. I didn’t think I was going to make this serious record. But when I was going through issues with my vocal cords and thinking about surgery, when I was engaged and then not engaged, I [talked] to friends and family until I was blue in the face. Until I put it into song, get it down on paper, and sing my heart out over and over, I won’t feel any sense of closure. And to be able to share it with people and hear all of their stories, and know that it’s so easy for us to feel like we’re in it alone—when you have fans telling you their stories it makes you feel like you’re not alone. The situation splits and then they’re giving you comfort at the same time you’re giving them comfort.
Colbie, you’re super connected with the fans. Always twittering with them. It makes such a difference. You can really get a grasp of what’s going on with people in the world.
MP: What makes you deeply vulnerable as women, as artists?
TP: God, I feel like I’m just in the thick of vulnerability right now. [laughs] I’ve always been someone who likes to share and talk. When something happens to me I [don’t] run away from it. I want to dive right into and explore it. Try to figure out why it’s happening and try to figure out something good that’s going to come out of it.
My cousin wrote me the other day: “I’m super depressed right now and I can’t get out of bed.” Her boyfriend just broke up with her. Sometimes it’s good to be in that space of being vulnerable, being down, being the opposite of everything we’re told that we’re supposed to be. We’re always supposed to be happy and positive. There’s something about letting yourself slip into that vulnerable space because you can really feel things there. It helps you grow as a person. I tend to enjoy being in a vulnerable space, in a weird way. [laughs]
CC: I don’t like being vulnerable. I feel uncomfortable in it. But like you said, you’re supposed to learn from it and grow. After you’re stuck in that place, you can’t get over that feeling of [being] embarrassed or awkward or uncomfortable. Then you’re finally out of that place and you learn how you handled it. Like, “Oh my God. I handled that in a very poor way.” Or “Wow. I really have grown and I handled that situation in such a mature way. The next time I’m in that position, I’m going to be so much better and stronger and know how to really talk to this person, or deal with it.”
TP: It’s also that you know that you’ve lived because you let yourself get to that place. That’s truly vulnerable.
MP: How do you process pain?
CC: I can’t sit in it that long. I try to keep myself busy. I always hang out with my family and friends and my dogs. Go to the beach. Go swimming. Go get exercise. Go on a hike.