Colbie Caillat is sure 'Bubbly'

The song is like a virus, easily the most infectious single of the summer. It starts with a simple acoustic chord, falls into a friendly shufflebeat, then perambulates into the laid-back folksy vocals of its composer, Colbie Caillat.

The whimsical new-romance chorus: “It starts in my toes and I crinkle my nose/Wherever it goes I always know/That you make me smile, please stay for a while now.” It’s impossible to escape the opiate buzz of “Bubbly,” the disarming cut that went from MySpace phenomenon to chart-topping radio and iTunes smash.

Caillat has a few more tricks up her sleeve, as anyone attending her Fillmore show tonight will discover. Her Universal Republic debut disc “Coco” (her childhood nickname) just debuted at No. 5 on Billboard. It’s frothy, with equally effervescent originals, co-penned with her songwriting partner Jason Reeves, including “Oxygen,” “Midnight Bottle” and “One Fine Wire.”

Only 22, this SoCal kid is already on the fast track to superstardom. Thanks, she admits, to crucial advice she received a few years ago from her dad, Ken Caillat, an ex-label-exec/producer who once co-helmed Fleetwood Macclassics such as “Rumours” and “Tusk.”

“My father said ‘OK, if you want to be a singer, you have to learn two things,’” Caillat recalls. “‘How to play an instrument and how to write songs. Otherwise, I don’t think you should have a career in music, because you won’t be respected and you won’t have a long career.’ He was trying to guide me, if I was going to go in this direction. And I’m really grateful he told me that, because it is true.”

Naturally, the suntanned blonde — who sports exotic orchids in her hair — watches “American Idol” with wry amusement. Kids whose only claim to 15-minute fame is a modest tune-carrying ability? She says, “… I auditioned for ‘American Idol’ a couple of times but didn’t make it. And I feel bad for everyone on that show, because I think it’s just a game for the judges, and they don’t treat the singers very well. They make ’em do all these silly little things and embarrass ’em onstage in front of everyone.”

Caillat chose a more organic route to fame. Only last December, she was still working her day job at an L.A. tanning salon, wondering what to make of her newfound popularity on the Web.

A friend helped her post three tracks on MySpace. Within one month, plays of “Bubbly” skyrocketed from 100 to 25,000, and by January she’d churned up a major-label feeding frenzy. “And my life is completely different now,” she adds.

It’s all thanks to the giddy “Bubbly,” which wasn’t penned about any particular paramour. “That’s the funny thing,” Caillat says. “I wrote it because I missed having a crush on someone. You know that feeling you get when somebody just gives you the butterflies and they make you smile all the time, no matter what they do? You just adore them, and I missed having that kind of crush. I realized ‘Hey — I don’t like anyone right now!’ So those feelings just came out, and I just wrote ’em down.”


Colbie Caillat

Where: The Fillmore, 1805 Geary Blvd., San Francisco

When: 8 p.m. Sept. 15

Tickets: $20

Contact: (415) 421-8497 or

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