Colbie Caillat: Songs For A Holiday In The Sun

Dec 12, 2012
Originally published on December 14, 2012 4:33 am

Not everyone dreams of a white Christmas — especially those who rarely if ever see snow at all. That's the message singer-songwriter Colbie Caillat wants to send with her new album, Christmas in the Sand.

"I wanted to show people that Christmas isn't always about being cold," Caillat tells NPR's Renee Montagne. "Other people live in warm, tropical places and decorate [with] twinkle lights on their palm trees."

Caillat does make a few cold-weather concessions on the album, with versions of "Baby, It's Cold Outside" and "Winter Wonderland." But she says that this Christmas, she'll be home in Southern California.

"My cousins and aunts and uncles, everyone's going to come over and cook family dinners and sit by the fire," Caillat says. "If it's sunny, we'll maybe go lay out in our bathing suits by the pool. Who knows?"

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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

This week and next, we'll be listening to Christmas music, from Cajun to gospel, some new holiday songs and some new takes on classics. Today, we start with pop music and a singer, songwriter whose career was launched a few years ago thanks to the website MySpace. After that, came a record deal and Colbie Caillat's debut single "Bubbly" was an instant hit.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "BUBBLY")

COLBIE CAILLAT: (Singing) It starts in my toes, and I crinkle nose. Wherever it goes, I always know that you make me smile. Please stay for a while now. Just take your time wherever you go.

MONTAGNE: Colbie Caillat is a California native, which explains the title of her latest album, "Christmas in the Sand." Perfect for those of us in the Sun Belt, where there's not much of a chance of a white Christmas. The title track conjures up a memorable image - Santa in his bathing suit trying to catch a wave.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "CHRISTMAS IN THE SAND")

MONTAGNE: One of the standards that you chose to sing actually has everything to do with the ice and the snow, which is "Baby, It's Cold Outside."

CAILLAT: Yeah.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "BABY, IT'S COLD OUTSIDE")

MONTAGNE: That one is such a classic from such an earlier era. Did you worry at all about singing it?

CAILLAT: No, I love singing that song. You know, you hear the different versions all the time, and they put them in movies. And I love every rendition. I wanted to do one of my own.

MONTAGNE: The classic, I mean, the real standard Christmas song, "White Christmas," is not on this album. Did you even consider it?

CAILLAT: I did consider it. You know, once it came to recording, you know, I had to choose the ones that reminded me the most of my childhood and that I thought I could really add something special to.

MONTAGNE: Well, did "Baby, It's Cold Outside" remind you of your childhood?

CAILLAT: Of course. And, you know, I love the version in the movie "Elf." I love it when Zooey Deschanel's singing it in the shower and Will Ferrell comes in and is just so excited and doesn't realize how wrong it is that he's in there with her.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "ELF")

MONTAGNE: That is actually really funny, because it reminds you of your childhood but your childhood is actually "Elf."

CAILLAT: Well, yeah, I mean, that was like 10 years ago, right.

(LAUGHTER)

MONTAGNE: Yeah. You know, the songs have a way of going over the generations and changing for each - there's other generations that would remember that song obviously from 1955.

CAILLAT: Exactly. Yeah.

MONTAGNE: What about this year? How are you going to celebrate Christmas?

CAILLAT: Well, we're spending Christmas at home in southern California this year. And my cousins and aunts and uncles, everyone's going to come over and cook family dinners and sit by the fire. And, you know, if it's sunny, then we'll maybe go lay out in our bathing suits by the pool. Who knows?

MONTAGNE: Colbie Caillat, thank you very much for talking with us.

CAILLAT: You're welcome.

MONTAGNE: Merry Christmas.

CAILLAT: Merry Christmas to you.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "CHRISTMAS IN THE SAND") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.