Colbie Caillat says her upcoming holiday album is for the folks who don’t celebrate a traditional kind of Christmas. “I was like, ‘Not everyone lives in the snow or cold places for Christmas, so why don’t we write some songs for them to be able to relate to what their Christmas is like,” Caillat, who releases “Christmas in the Sand” on Oct. 23, tells Billboard exclusively.
The set includes five originals and 10 holiday standards, as well as guest appearances by Brad Paisley on a rocking “Merry Christmas Baby” and Gavin DeGraw, who ad libs his way through what Caillat calls a “hilarious” version of “Baby It’s Cold Outside.” The album was produced by Caillat’s Grammy Award-winning father, Ken Caillat.
Fittingly, Caillat recorded “Christmas in the Sand” “in my bathing suit in the sunshine in southern California in the summertime…between takes of going swimming with my mom and our dogs.” The album, she says had been broached by her label in the past, but with six months off at the beginning of this year she felt like it was “a perfect time to put my focus and attention on it and decide how many songs I wanted, which songs and to write songs for it.”
“A lot of the songs I wrote for it are about how not every (winter) holiday I spent has been only in the snow,” Caillat explains. “It’s also been in the sun and at the beach and a different kind of lifestyle (that) not everyone has. I wanted to tap into that. It’s fun to write a Christmas song from that perspective.” She taps into that particularly on the title track and first single, which she says is “about sitting on the beach drinking your cocoa — and that could be hot cocoa or coconut water — and Santa Clause is on a surfboard and walks up the beach and hands you a present, and his reindeer are playing with you in the sand. It’s just, like, the tongue-in-cheek side of it.”
She wrote the love song “Everyday is Christmas” with Jason Reeves and Kara DioGuardi, while “Mistletoe,” composed with Stacy Blue and Mikal Blue, dates back a couple of years. And “Happy Christmas,” a co-write with Toby Gad, recalls traditional, snowy Christmases at Caillat’s grandparents’ home in Lake Tahoe. “I’ve experienced that typical kind of Christmas as well, so I wanted to write a little bit of both sides,” Caillat says.
To promote “Christmas in the Sand” Caillat is planning a number of TV appearances as well as a week’s worth of special, “stripped down” holiday shows at the end of November and beginning of December. Meanwhile, she’s also starting to work on her fourth album, the follow-up to 2011’s Top 10 “All of You,” which launched the Adult Contemporary hits “I Do” and “Brighter Than the Sun.”
“I’m already starting to write for the next record,” says Caillat, who’s also formed a production company with Reeves and Mikal Blue called CocoBlueJay to discover and develop new artists. “Like I do for every record I’ll write a bunch of songs and then it comes to narrowing it down and deciding which songs are gonnna have to stay off the record. I don’t know when it’s going to come out, so it’s not a rush thing. I’m just going to take my time on it.”