I Don't Want to Be
Starting out in Manhattan clubs, American musician, singer and songwriter Gavin DeGraw rose to fame with his single “I Don't Want to Be” (2004), which was picked out as the opening theme for the television series “One Tree Hill.” The song peaked at No. 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 and went double platinum, making it DeGraw's biggest hit to date. It is also marked the artist's only single to break the UK Top 40. DeGraw's other notable singles include “Chariot” (2005), “Follow Through” (2005), “We Belong Together” (2006), “In Love with a Girl” (2008) and “Not Over You” (2011). DeGraw has toured with various artists such as Jason Mraz, Maroon 5, Sister Hazel, Howie Day, Michael Tolcher, Barenaked Ladies, Butterfly Boucher, Marc Broussard, Saving Jane, and The Allman Brothers Band, and has appeared in a number television shows.
In December 2007, with his brother Joey, DeGraw opened a bar in New York City called The National Underground.
Childhood and Family:
Gavin Shane DeGraw was born on February 4, 1977, in South Fallsburg, New York, to a prison guard and a detox specialist. He grew up in the Catskills, along with his older siblings, Joey (born August 1973) and Neeka. Gavin started singing and playing piano when he was 8 years old, and later played tenor saxophone in high school. He also played the lead in several school plays. Gavin briefly attended Ithaca College in upstate New York and the prestigious Berklee School of Music in Boston, Massachusetts.
Gavin DeGraw played in several cover bands with his older brother Joey in upstate New York before deciding to take his original songs to New York City. He arrived in the late 1990s and surely grew his fans through a string of buzzworthy shows. He recorded one of his shows and independently released the record under the title “Gavin Live” in 2001. He eventually scored a recording contract with Clive Davis and his J Records imprint.
DeGraw's debut album, “Chariot,” was launched on July 22, 2003. Produced by Mark Endert, the album reached No. 103 on the Billboard 200, and brought a then 26 year old singer a small but passionate following. The album enjoyed higher charting position outside the US, such as reaching No. 1 in Denmark, No. 6 in the Netherlands and the Top 50 in both Italy and Switzerland. In July 2004, DeGraw released an acoustic version of “Chariot” called “Chariot (Stripped),” with the addition of Sam Cooke's cover, “Change is Gonna Come.” “Chariot (Stripped)” peaked at No. 56 on the Billboard 200, No. 1 on the Billboard Top Heatseekers, No. 2 in Norway and No. 21 in Sweden. “Chariot” was later certified platinum in the United States.
DeGraw experienced his big break when the lead off single “I Don't Want to Be” was used as the theme song of the American teen series “One Tree Hill,” which premiered on September 23, 2003 on The WB Television Network. The song, which featured Shiri Appleby the 2004 music video, opposite Scott Mechlowicz, made the Top 10 on the US Billboard Hot 100 in early 2005 and No. 3 on the US Billboard Pop 100, and was eventually certified double platinum by the RIAA. Putside the US, “I Don't Want to Be” was released as a single in Australia in 2004 and in the UK in 2005, where it peaked at No. 19 and No. 38, respectively. The song also charted in other countries such as Norway (#6), the Netherlands (#9), Sweden (#15), Ireland (#25) and New Zealand (#30). The song received a 2005 Billboard Music nomination for Top Soundtrack Single of the Year and a 2005 Radio Music nomination for Song of the Year/Mainstream Top 40 Radio. “I Don't Want to Be” has been performed by many “American Idol” contestants during different seasons, and appears in the game, “Karaoke Revolution Party.”
Produced and written by DeGraw himself, the title track “Chariot” was released as a single on March 1, 2005. The song reached No. 30 on the Billboard Hot 100, No. 27 on the Billboard Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks and No. 10 on the Billboard Pop 100. It went platinum in the US. The song was featured conspicuously in an episode of “Dead Like Me.” The music video for the song was directed by Zach Braff and starred model and actress Jaime King. “Follow Through” followed on November 17, 2005. The single peaked at No. 13 in the Netherlands, No. 12 in Norway, No. 38 in Portugal, No. 52 on the U.S. Billboard Pop 100, No. 22 on the Billboard Adult Top 40 and No. 111 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song has been featured on several television shows, including “One Tree Hill” and “Scrubs” and played in the UK and Italian advertisements for “Carte D'or” from 2008 to 2010. “Just Friends,” the last single from his album, was released in 2006. It peaked at No. 26 in the Netherlands. The same year, DeGraw's song, “We Belong Together,” was featured in the soundtrack of the 2006 film “Tristan and Isolde,” starring James Franco, Sophia Myles and Rufus Sewell. The song peaked at No. 26 on the Billboard Hot 100 and later appeared in his eponymous album.
DeGraw's profile has increased significantly since 2004. He made his first television appearance in “Last Call with Carson Daly” in April 2003 and has returned as guest several times. He has appeared in other television shows, including “Ellen: The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” “Jimmy Kimmel Live!,” “The Sharon Osbourne Show,” “Late Night with Conan O'Brien,” “Late Show with David Letterman,” “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” “Live with Regis and Kelly and “The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson.” He also has been as cameos on “Dead Like Me” (1 episode, 2004), “American Dreams” (1 episode, 2004) and “What I Like About You” (2 episodes, 2004-2005).
DeGraw resurfaced with a self titled sophomore effort, “Gavin DeGraw,” on May 6, 2008. Produced by Howard Benson, the album debuted and peaked at No. 7 on the Billboard 200, and received positive reviews from music critics. The album also made the Top 40 in several countries like Canada (#21), Denmark (#3), the Netherlands (#8), Sweden (#13) and Switzerland (#23). The lead single “In Love with a Girl” (2008) reached No.24 on the Billboard Hot 100, No. 20 on the Billboard Pop 100 and No. 5 on the Billboard Adult Top 40. It also charted at No. 22 in the Netherlands and No. 41 in the Italy. The second single “She Holds a Key” charted at No. 29 in the Netherlands, while the follow up “Cheated on Me” (2008) peaked at No. 30 on the Billboard Adult Top 40 and No. 77 on the Billboard Pop 100. The last single “I Have You to Thank” (2009) failed to chart.
DeGraw released his third studio album “Free” on March 31, 2009, which he produced with Camus Celli. The album peaked at No. 19 on the Billboard 200, No. 76 on the Netherlands Albums Chart, No. 96 on the Swiss Albums Chart and No. 29 on the Danish Albums Chart. The first single “Stay” was released through his website on March 11, 2009, and was followed by “Dancing Shoes.” Both songs failed to chart.
DeGraw's fourth album, “Sweeter,” was released on September 20, 2011. It features tracks co-written with other artists for the very first time, including Andrew Frampton, and Ryan Tedder, the lead singer and songwriter of One Republic. The album reached No. 7 on the Netherlands Albums chart. Released on May 17, 2011, the first single “Not Over You” reached No. 63 on the Billboard Hot 100 and No. 16 on the Billboard Adult Top 40. DeGraw perfomed the song on the “Today Show” on September 15, 2011.
From July to August 2001, DeGraw toured the US as an opening act for Maroon 5.He is set to tour with Missouri musician/songwriter David Cook in the fall of 2011.