Sun and blue sky greeted Colbie Caillat on a late February morning in Hawaii.
More than 4,800 miles away, people in York were realizing the groundhog that predicted an early spring was wrong.
But don't think Caillat, who lives in California and loves to visit The Aloha State, takes the warm rays for granted.
"It's a huge inspiration," she said of Hawaii during a phone interview. "If my parents hadn't taken my sister and I here as kids, I would be a different person. It's shaped who I am today."
Caillat embarks on a short swing through places that are still thawing out this week. On Wednesday, she'll perform at Lancaster's American Music Theatre. Years of touring have helped her perfect her packing list, she added. Must-bring items include bedding, kitchen appliances and supplies as well as workout gear.
She's familiar with the music industry drill. Her father Ken, who is a producer, raised her on classic rock, she said. As a girl, she heard the Fugees' "Killing Me Softly" and decided to sing her own rendition at a school talent show.
Through the years, Caillat's become a student of reggae, R&B and soul styles. She said that California and Hawaii influenced her acoustic sound and optimist outlook.
Her 2007 debut "Coco" spawned the pop hit "Bubbly" and sold more than 2 million copies. Her next album "Breakthrough" earned a Grammy nomination for Best Pop Vocal Album. She also won a Grammy that year for her background vocals and writing on Taylor Swift's "Fearless" album and a best pop vocal collaboration Grammy for the song "Lucky," which she recorded with Jason Mraz.
In between, she's headlined tours and opened for John Mayer, one of her influences.
Another artist Caillat cites as an inspiration is Jack Johnson, a native son of Hawaii. She said that beyond his music, he's shown her that talent and hard work can happen outside of the music industry norm.
Last fall, she released her first holiday album, "Christmas in the Sand."
One doesn't often associate seashells and flip flops with snowmen and elves. But Caillat said that was the point.
"Half of me loves the winter and being in the snow," she said, adding that she's spent holidays snuggled by the fire listening to Nat King Cole at her grandparents' home in Lake Tahoe.
But other years, she's spent Thanksgiving in Hawaii and Dec. 25 in Southern California.
"Not everyone has a white Christmas," she said. "People decorate their palm trees."
So, for her holiday album, she re-imagined festive tunes with a beach-y twist. Brad Paisley and Gavin DeGraw lent their vocals to a few tracks.
Caillat and DeGraw shared the stage during a summer 2012 tour and wrote songs together on the road. They also collaborated on the track "We Both Know" which is part of the Nicolas Sparks film "Safe Haven," released last month.
"I thought it was beautiful," Caillat said of the movie, adding that Sparks' "The Notebook" is one of her favorite books and films. "I thought ("Safe Haven") was intense. The actors did a good job."
With DeGraw, Caillat said the songwriting process came naturally.
"You create songs together that neither of you would've written on your own," she said. "You just keep building on top of (the other's) ideas."
The same has been true for her new album, which she's in the process of creating. As of last month, she had about 35 songs written. For other albums, she's had around 40 tracks to choose from.
"It just keeps happening," Caillat said with a laugh about the constant stream of songs. And even though upcoming tour dates will take her away from the sand and surf, they will give her an opportunity to test new tunes with her band on audiences.
"I never liked performing before," she admitted. "Touring was always a drag to me. Now, I look forward to it."
She knows that when life in the music industry gets overscheduled and overwhelming, Hawaii will be there.
"It brings you back to health," she said.
- ERIN McCRACKEN,
If you go
Hear Colbie Caillat in concert 8 p.m. Wednesday at American Music Theatre, 2425 Lincoln Highway East, Lancaster. Tickets are $54. For details and tickets, call 717-397-7700 or visit www.amtshows.com.
Colbie Caillat: colbiecaillat.com
Read more celebrity interviews, including Q&As with Gavin DeGraw and Jack Johnson: www.yorkblog.com/flipside/celebrity-interviews
"Coco" (2007) - More than 2 million copies sold in U.S.; "Bubbly" spent 14 weeks at No. 1 on Billboard's Adult Top 40 chart
"Breakthrough" (2009) - Nominated for Best Pop Vocal Album at the 52nd Grammy Awards
"All of You" (2011) - "Favorite Song," voted by fans to be the album's third single, features a collaboration with rapper/actor Common
"Christmas in the Sand" (2012) - Caillat performed "Merry Christmas Baby" during the "CMA Country Christmas" special on ABC