Gavin DeGraw released his newest album Face The River in May of this year. He stopped by The Bobby Bones Show this morning (June 13) to talk about the inspiration behind the project and perform some of his biggest hits.
Face The River is a very personal album for DeGraw. He lost his mom, then 2 weeks later lost his grandmother, then 6 months later lost his grandfather, and then his dad got diagnosed with an illness and passed away. DeGraw felt this album was going to be different because of all the loss he went through. But not only that, the world was different and he became different. He wasn’t worried about how the album did, he just wanted to finish it for his father. Adding that being 45-years-old and going through everything he went through, he didn’t feel that going out and doing his “happy dance” with new music would feel right. So all of the songs are written by him and personal to his experience. He made sure to change things up for the tour as well, making sure that the new music was delivered to his fans more personally. He went and played the venues and rooms that he used to play at the beginning of his career with the songs from Face The River. This album-making process was very therapeutic for him from writing to recording to playing it every night. Though he admitted there are nights that are harder than others, but he feels like these songs have messages that need to get out.
DeGraw has had several massive hits in his career. “Follow Through” came out first, then “I Don’t Want To Be,” a re-release of “Follow Through,” and “Chariot.” Though DeGraw admitted he was reluctant at first of all the events surrounding his song “I Don’t Want To Be.” He got a phone call from a guy named Joe Davola who wanted to use the song for his TV show. DeGraw first said absolutely not because he hated TV and didn’t ever watch it, so he didn’t want to be associated with it. Davola convinced him by getting DeGraw to admit he needed the money. He was 27-years-old at the time, and realized it was going to be part of a teen show so it wouldn’t really matter at the end of the day. “I Don’t Want To Be” was used for One Tree Hill and the song took off. It turned into DeGraw’s next radio single, which opened doors for him that were otherwise wielded shut. DeGraw was part of the record label that Alicia Keys and Maroon 5 were on, so this song and it blowing up gave him a “window to crawl through.” Despite his initial reluctancy, DeGraw loves playing the song for his fans every night. And he doesn’t mind if someone brings up the connection to One Tree Hill, because it brought them to him and that means they’re still fans.
Admittedly, DeGraw was afraid to acknowledge any of the success he was shaving during the beginning of his career. He thought if he recognized it, it would all disappear. He felt fear of failure, and fear of making the wrong decisions. Often he feels like he’s one bad decision way from playing the lobby of a hotel somewhere. DeGraw has seen so much success that he’s worked with other massive talents like Ryan Tedder of OneRepublic on his song “Not Over You.” He’s also gotten advice from Ed Sheeran, who DeGraw says is a pro at interacting with fans, and taking photos quickly.
There’s a new 6-part Docu-Series on Facebook about the making of DeGraw’s new project Face The River. Watch his performances of his hit songs “Chariot,” “I Don’t Want To Be,” “Not Over You,” and his new song “Ford” below.