By Alan Ho
Where: Atlanta, GA
For fans of: Jewel, Sarah McLachlan, Paula Cole, Shawn Mullins, James Taylor
Not many overseas musicians would be willing to drop everything, pack their bags and fly to the other side of the pond—the Atlantic Ocean that is and take the enviable risk of launching their music career in the United States and settling there. For British-born and Atlanta resident Callaghan, she did exactly that. The folksy pop/rock singer-songwriter, armed with a load of musical material, already had been in the US briefly in 2009 to record a trio of songs with acclaimed artist and producer Shawn Mullins. But that encounter, arranged via Myspace 3 years ago became something so much more. “When I got on that plane from London to come over to Atlanta, I didn’t know what to expect, how long the album would take or what kind of reception my music would get,” she reflects in her press bio. “There have been all kinds of challenges, but the whole experience has been beyond anything I could have ever imagined. I could not have asked for more; 2011 was such a fantastic year. I’m just going to keep singing that song every single year, because next year’s going to be even better.”
The newcomer’s debut album Life In Full Colour is the satisfying end result of having taken the risk to pack her bags and leave England for Atlanta for good. Whittled down to twelve tracks from the heap of musical material she carried when she made the move in 2010, Life In Full Colour showcases what Callaghan has to offer. Similar to Sarah McLachlan and to a certain extent, Jewel, the album is a nicely arranged mix of pop/rock, country, folk, Americana with just the right touch of emotion and vocals that do indeed evoke images of McLachlan at the height of her career. Tracks like the opener “Best Year”, “Sweet Surrender” and “Smile” underscores her talent to take real life, raw emotion and experiences and bottling it up in a three to four minute song. “Life In Full Colour is about the highs and lows of life; those common experiences that everybody can relate to,” she says. “I like writing about things that touch all of our lives every day, whether it’s falling into or out of love with someone, losing them, being alone, or being overjoyed,” says Callaghan.
In the end, Life In Full Colour is only the beginning for this singer-songwriter from Atlanta by way of the UK. The album does an excellent job in arranging the emotion, the experiences felt in each song and the lyrics behind them without going into overly dramatic territory, as some singer-songwriters have done in the past. The entire package is tied with a very nice vocal knot from Callaghan; the delivery is rich, but understated and with just the right amount of emotion to bring these 12 tracks to complete life.
“I’ve just touched the tip of the iceberg with touring, especially with this country being so vast. I’ve played in close to 30 states since I got here, but there are still so many places I haven’t been to,” she says in her press bio. “I’ll be on the road a lot this year, and getting the music out to people and just trying to spread the word and grow it organically. I can’t wait to see where this year leads and I have a good feeling about it. I think 2012 is going to be the best year yet.”
You haven’t seen the best of Callaghan yet, it’s still being written.