Listening to All of You, the third and most intriguing release from Colbie Caillat, is like turning a page of a book you’ve savored for two chapters only to be surprised and delighted by what awaits in Chapter 3. This is, first of all, definitely and unmistakably a Caillat gem. Those qualities that burst from the first notes of her 2007 debut Coco like bouquets of sonic joy, and flowered in 2009’s Breakthrough, emanate from every track on All of You. But now they bloom with a richness of emotion and insight that comes only when a gifted artist can channel lessons learned into her music.
Think about it: Coco debuted at No. 5 and raced its way past the multi-Platinum barrier. Her first single, “Bubbly,” caught a generation’s imagination and has become one of the best-selling digital tracks of all time. Billboard took note by naming Caillat its Breakthrough Artist of the Year. Fittingly, Breakthrough broke at No. 1 and was honored with two Grammy nominations; that same year, Colbie won two Grammys for her collaborations with Jason Mraz and Taylor Swift. She has sung the national anthem on the kickoff to the 2011 NFL season and performed at the Nobel Peace Concert in Oslo. She and her original music have been featured in commercials for cotton and in ABC Family Channel’s “25 Days of Christmas,” whose theme song she wrote and arranged. Her embrace has stretched to include work for honorable causes including the Surfrider Foundation, Save the Music and the Humane Society, for which she has recently become a spokesperson. Yet all of this was achieved by an artist just beginning to stretch her wings. Even as her music and disarming personality warmed listeners like a sunrise over the Western horizon, she continued to enjoy life’s adventures. All of these, especially a new love, have invested All of You with a depth that signifies an important forward step. “All of You is a more advanced version of me,” Colbie explains. “I like to keep my music acoustic, sunny and optimistic. These songs still have the bright feeling and California vibe I love. But they’re also songs that I write from my experiences.”
The most significant of those experiences involves her relationship with Justin Young. The two had worked together for years, with Justin singing backup at her shows. Then, as she sings in “Brighter Than the Sun,” “this is how it starts – lightning strikes the heart.” “He was in my band for two years before we noticed that we like each other,” she says, laughing. “I wrote most of this album about us, our ups and downs. All the songs are about life experiences, so I guess this record is more grown up, with a somewhat wiser perspective.” Working with five producers and a cross-section of creative musicians, Colbie turns All of You into a self-portrait in multiple dimensions. But unlike many artists, seasoned as well as young, she demonstrates here that she has balance as well as a taste for pushing toward new territories. In a way she has never revealed before, she opens herself while also pointing toward where she is going in these 14 original songs. “They say when you write your first songs, you don’t have expectations,” she reflects. “I just wrote the songs on Coco for fun with my friend Jason Reeves at home. With Breakthrough, there was a fine line of wanting to open your mind up to people’s suggestions while also staying true to who I am and what I want. Honestly, I don’t take the business as seriously as that on All of You. This is just more me than anything I’ve done."