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Colbie Caillat: Q & A

The singer songwriter on being nominated for four Grammys and why she loves flowers

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The singer-songwriter is about to release a new single (breakup ballad ”I Never Told You”), and four of her tracks have been nominated for Grammys (watch the show on CBS on Sunday, Jan. 31, 8 p.m. ET/PT). Below, Caillat shares her thoughts on the nominations, what she’s listening to (Bone Thugs?!), and why she’s got a thing for flowers.

So describe what it was like when you heard about your four Grammy nods.
I was at the [nomination-announcement event on Dec. 2], and they told me I had one, and then, ”Actually, you have two. Oh, wait, it looks like you have three.” And later in the night I found out it was four. I thought, ”Oh my gosh, it keeps getting better! I can’t believe this.”

Did you have to freak out a little more quietly when you got the news than you would have if you’d been at home?
I’m very subtle about everything. I get excited internally. I don’t jump up or scream. I was there with my parents, my sister, my manager, and my boyfriend. They were all excited. My dad got teary-eyed.

Your duets with Jason Mraz [”Lucky”] and Taylor Swift [”Breathe”] are both nominated. Who else is on your dream duet list?
I love hip-hop and R&B. I really want to work with Common or Pharrell or Akon. I first started out singing techno songs, and then I started working with hip-hop groups. I was the Fergie. I would sing the hook. But once I learned how to play guitar, I went in another direction.

What are you listening to now?
I love the Alicia Keys and Jay-Z song [”Empire State of Mind”]. I like Beyoncé. I listen to Damian Marley’s ”Welcome to Jam Rock,” Notorious B.I.G., Bone Thugs.

With stylish musicians out there like Lady Gaga and Katy Perry, have you felt pressure to have a certain look?
No. When people have told me to kick up my style a few notches, I’ll go up a notch or two because it’s nice to expand your style. But I’m not going to get superskinny. It’s not my main lifestyle. It’s good to be you and comfortable. People can take it or leave it.

You often wear flowers in your music videos and even on the red carpet — and you actually wore a dress made out of real flowers to the 2008 American Music Awards. Where does all the flower love come from?
I’m a flower girl. I’ve been going to Hawaii my whole life. [That AMAs dress] was fine to walk in, but I couldn’t sit down. In the limo on the way, I was in the most weird, awkward position because the flowers were falling off. Very impossible.