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Gavin Shane DeGraw (born February 4, 1977) is an American musician, singer and songwriter. He rose to fame with the single "I Don't Want to Be" from his debut album Chariot which became the theme song for the television drama series One Tree Hill. Other singles from the album included notably "Chariot" and "Follow Through". His second self-titled album was released in 2008 and included the top-twenty single "In Love with a Girl".
DeGraw in 2009
|Birth name||Gavin Shane DeGraw|
February 4, 1977 |
South Fallsburg, New York, U.S.
In 2009, DeGraw released his third album Free. His fourth album Sweeter (2011) spawned hit single "Not Over You", as well as "Soldier" and "Sweeter". His fifth album Make a Move was released in 2013. DeGraw has sold more than a million records in the US. Gavin released his sixth album Something Worth Saving on September 9, 2016. His first single from the album, "She Sets the City on Fire" was released on July 15, 2016. His duet with Colbie Caillat on "We Both Know" for the film Safe Haven received a Grammy Award nomination.
Early life and schoolingEdit
DeGraw grew up in South Fallsburg, New York. His mother, Lynne (née Krieger), was a detox specialist, and his father, Wayne DeGraw, was a prison guard; he referenced his father's and mother's occupations in the song "I Don't Want to Be".
His father is of Irish descent and his mother is of Russian Jewish ancestry. He began singing and playing piano at the age of eight. He has two older siblings, a sister Neeka and a brother, Joey, also a musician. Growing up in a musical family, he was raised to regard music as part of the fabric of everyday life rather than a remote show-business ideal. As a teenager, Gavin experienced a personal epiphany when he discovered Ray Charles and Sam Cooke, whose combination of personal charm and emotional commitment struck a chord in the budding musician. As a teenager he also played in a local Catskills group called The People's Band with fellow local musicians: Steven Levine on vocals, as well as his brother, Joey. The band played many of the local hotels and clubs around the Monticello area. It was at his brother's advice that he began writing his own songs. Gavin attended Ithaca College on a music scholarship, but found himself spending more time in his dorm room writing songs than attending classes, and dropped out after one semester. He then moved to Boston, where he attended the prestigious Berklee College of Music for two semesters, while singing in a rock band and playing solo gigs on the side.
After leaving Berklee and relocating to Manhattan in March 1998, Gavin almost immediately began making substantial career inroads, gradually and organically laying the groundwork for a musical career. "I kept having small successes," he recalls, "just things like applause from small audiences, or people saying they'd heard about me. Those tiny bits of recognition were fuel for me to continue, and made me feel like I was on the right track." Within a few months of his arrival, Gavin made his way into the Ron Grant and Friends open-mic night at Wilson's, the noted upper west side restaurant inside the Lucerne hotel. After wowing the audience, the next day the night manager and talent coordinator Shar Thompson introduced Degraw to the club's owner, Debbie Wilson. Wilson signed on as his manager and almost immediately, word of the talented newcomer began to spread through New York's music community, and the quality of his performances lived up to the buzz. "When I first heard Gavin perform, I turned to Debbie (his manager) and said I need to sign this guy right now, says Randy Sabiston, Senior Director of A&R at Warner Chappell. "Gavin is a truly special songwriter and as a publisher I didn't need to mull it over in my head; it was instant, a no brainer." Early on, Gavin was offered a deal by a major label. Rather than succumb to the obvious temptation, he chose to decline the offer and continue his development as a songwriter and performer, while paying the rent by working as a waiter and newsstand clerk. He eventually signed a record deal with Clive Davis and his J Records imprint (home of Santana as well as R&B singers Alicia Keys and Angie Stone).
In the spring of 2002, following a sold-out showcase at New York's Joe's Pub, Gavin began work on his debut album Chariot. The album's depth and focus attest to Gavin's clear vision of his identity as an artist. "I wanted to create something that was timeless rather than fashionable," he explains. "I was really concerned with developing a sound that wasn't disposable. I didn't want to have too much glitter on me." The adjustment from the immediacy of the live stage to the discipline of the recording studio was an educational process that gave DeGraw new insight into his own work. "It definitely made me think about making records differently," he says. "At first I felt out of my element, because you have to learn the language and the science of making a record. It's a real process to get to the point where it doesn't sound like it's a process. We really worked at making it breathe." 
DeGraw rose to fame in 2003, when "I Don't Want to Be" was chosen as the theme song for teen drama One Tree Hill. He released his debut album, Chariot, on July 22, 2003, under J Records. Chariot was recorded at Los Angeles' music studios, Sunset Sound and produced by Mark Endert. Chariot sold over a million copies and earned platinum certification. The album featured three of DeGraw's singles: "I Don’t Want To Be", "Follow Through" and "Chariot".
He went on to release an acoustic version of the album called Chariot Stripped in 2004. Chariot Stripped contains a cover version of Sam Cooke's "A Change Is Gonna Come". "I Don't Want to Be" has also been performed on American Idol and Idol Sweden by various contestants during different seasons.
DeGraw's second album, the self-titled Gavin DeGraw was released on May 6, 2008. Ahead of this, its single "In Love with a Girl" was released on February 12, 2008. The second U.S. single "Cheated On Me" was released in the US on September 30, 2008. This was followed by the Live From Soho album, released on November 7, 2008, featuring mostly tracks from Gavin DeGraw. Gavin DeGraw debuted at No. 1 on the digital sales chart and ranked at No. 7 on Billboard’s Top 200 album chart.
DeGraw's third album, Free, was released March 31, 2009. DeGraw made Free in less than two weeks at the Brooklyn studio of his producer, Camus Celli. DeGraw included some songs on the album that he wrote very early in his career and that have evolved over time, songs such as "Dancing Shoes" and "Glass". The debut single from the album, "Stay", was released on March 11, 2009. Free has been described as "recorded versions of his live favourites".
DeGraw's fourth album, Sweeter, was set to release on August 9, 2011, but was pushed back to September 20, 2011. The album features many tracks co-written with other artists. The first single "Not Over You" was released on iTunes in June. The track was co-written and produced by Ryan Tedder and was said to be inspired by Kyle Craig. "Not Over You" is his first song to reach the top spot on the Adult Pop Songs. Sweeter contains collaborations from producers including Butch Walker, Eric Rosse, and Ron Aniello; alongside another co-written title track, "Sweeter" with Andrew Frampton. The album was recorded in many locations including Blackbird Studios in Nashville, Walker’s Space in Venice and the Henson Recording Studios. Sweeter is DeGraw's first album released under RCA Records, all three of his previous albums were released under J Records. DeGraw went on to release an acoustic album based mostly on songs from Sweeter. The iTunes Session album features seven tracks and a 30-minute interview.
On June 18, 2013, DeGraw released the first single from his fifth studio album, "Best I Ever Had". Degraw's fifth, and most recent studio album, Make a Move, was released October 15, 2013. During that year, he supported Train across their series of US shows; The Script also appeared in several of those shows.
DeGraw released his first greatest hits album Finest Hour: The Best of Gavin DeGraw on October 21, 2014. The album includes the new songs "You Got Me" (featured in the film Dolphin Tale 2) and "Fire" (released on August 12, 2014). On September 9, 2016 DeGraw is set to release his sixth studio album, Something Worth Saving. It was preceded by the release of the singles "She Sets the City on Fire" on July 15, 2016, and "Making Love with the Radio On" on August 12, 2016.
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DeGraw's songs have been played on 13 titles in films and on television. "Follow Through" was part of the soundtrack for 2004 film Laws of Attraction, and an episode of Scrubs called My Self-Examination, aired on April 27, 2004. The song was featured on One Tree Hill and on British and Italian TV advertisements for Carte D'or.
"Chariot" features as an uncredited part of the soundtrack for the American-Canadian TV series Dead Like Me. The song features in a 2004 episode called Always and is portrayed by DeGraw. DeGraw plays a non-recurring small role as street singer, Pete Anderson. The song also features on the TV series Boston Legal in a 2006 episode named Helping Hands, it is played during Denise and Daniel's dinner. The song can also be heard during a 2007 episode of Cold Case ("Knuckle Up"). During the wedding episode of the TV show What I Like About You, he performed his songs "Follow Through" and "More Than Anyone" off his album Chariot.
DeGraw has performed a cover of Smokey Robinson's love ballad, "The Tracks of My Tears", which is played during Chaos Theory, an episode of The Cleaner aired on August 5, 2008. During a Christmas special of TV series House called "Joy to the World", a cover of "The Christmas Song" performed by DeGraw was played.
TV dance competition and reality show So You Think You Can Dance utilized three of DeGraw's tracks across four shows and features a cover performed by DeGraw. "Belief", "More Than Anyone" and "We Belong Together" are used as background tracks across the 2006, 2008 and 2009 series respectively. During the first part of the 2007 finale, a cover of "We Are the Champions", performed by DeGraw, is used. His songs are contained in the soundtracks of 11 episodes of One Tree Hill. Tracks such as "Belief", "More Than Anyone", "Chariot", "We Belong Together" and "Jealous Guy" all feature in the show.
During the second season of the show, an unreleased live version of "Chariot" is played during the episode "Something I Can Never Have". He played "Chariot" in a season 1 episode set at Karen's cafe. The scene featured Nathan and Haley. During a special of The Bachelor called "The Bachelor: Jason & Molly's Wedding", DeGraw's song "Follow Through" is played.
DeGraw has released a number of music videos as well, including "I Don't Want to Be", "Follow Through" and "Chariot". The latter was directed by Zach Braff, who also directed music videos for Joshua Radin. "More Than Anyone" was selected by fans of One Tree Hill through a Cingular Wireless contest as the first wedding dance song for Nathan & Haley in the 3rd-season finale "The Show Must Go On."
He and his brother opened The National Underground in December 2007, a New York City music venue that is a roots rock Americana music bar located in Manhattan's Lower East Side, at 159 East Houston Street between Allen Street and Eldridge Street. The venue offers music, food, and drink. The idea for the venue came about because the brothers wanted a place where they could hang out on a regular basis, and where other musicians could come in and listen and learn. "We were picky about the quality of musicians that played there", Gavin DeGraw says. "We wanted a place where the players were so good, other musicians were like, 'Wow! I really respect what they're doing.'"
Gavin DeGraw appeared in an on-screen role in four One Tree Hill episodes. His first appearance was in 2004, during ("You Gotta Go There to Come Back"); he was seen singing "I Don't Want to Be" at Karen's Cafe. His second appearance was in season 2 where he sang, "Chariot" in episode 17 and his third was in the season 5 finale, ("What Comes After the Blues") where he was seen singing "I Don't Want to Be" with Jamie Scott (Jackson Brundage), and then performed one last time during the series' final episode, in which he sang "Belief", "Soldier" and "I Don't Want to Be" at TRIC's 10th Anniversary party.
DeGraw has acted on TV, where his first appearance was on Real Magic TV. He went on to appear on such programs as The Sharon Osbourne Show, Late Night with Conan O'Brien, American Dreams, TRL and Rove Live. During Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in 2004, DeGraw is credited as a performer. After this, he was seen on What I Like About You alongside Dutch TV show Barend & Van Dorp and the Danish TV show Clement Behrendt Kjersgaard.
DeGraw performed "I Don't Want to Be" during the 2005 Radio Music Awards. He was a musical guest on Jensen! and Entertainment Tonight. He appeared on multiple episodes of The Ellen DeGeneres Show, the Late Show with David Letterman, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Live! with Kelly and Michael, Jimmy Kimmel Live! and Last Call with Carson Daly, performing tracks from whichever album he was promoting. DeGraw is credited as a presenter for the 2011 American Music Awards and can mostly be seen presenting footage from backstage.
DeGraw was a contestant on season 14 of ABC's Dancing with the Stars which premiered on Monday March 19, 2012. DeGraw and his partner Karina Smirnoff were eliminated from the competition during week 5, following a Dance Duel with castmate Jaleel White and his partner Kym Johnson. They landed in 9th place.
On February 7, 2013, Carlos Pena, member of the boy band Big Time Rush, announced on his Twitter that Gavin will be guest starring on their same-titled Nickelodeon-show. On February 13, 2014, he made an appearance on Live From Daryl's House with his musical director Billy Norris. On January 1, 2015, he performed between the first and second periods of the NHL Winter Classic game in Washington, D.C.. On January 25, 2015, he performed at the Miss Universe Competition.
On August 8, 2011, DeGraw was hospitalized after being assaulted by several people in Manhattan's East Village, near The National Underground. Police reported that a group of men attacked DeGraw early Sunday morning at East 6th Street and First Avenue. He suffered a broken nose, a concussion, two black eyes and lacerations to his face. Only minutes after the attack, DeGraw was then struck by a taxi. He was admitted to Manhattan's Bellevue Hospital Center for treatment. He had to cancel his scheduled August 9 performance at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center in Saratoga Springs.
- Current members
- Gavin DeGraw – lead vocals, piano, keyboards, rhythm guitar, acoustic guitar (2003–present)
- Billy Norris – lead guitar, backing vocals, musical director (2009–present)
- James Cruz – bass guitar (summer 2012–present; previously as well)
- David Maemone – keyboards (spring 2014–present)
- Mike Baker – drums, percussion, backing vocals (summer 2014–present)
- Former members
|Title||Album details||Peak chart positions||Certifications
|Make a Move||
|Something Worth Saving||
|Title||Album details||Peak chart positions|
|iTunes: Live from Soho||
- 2001: Gavin Live
|US||US Adult||US Pop||AUS
|2004||"I Don't Want to Be"||10||9||1||19||—||25||—||21||6||30||15||27||
|2008||"In Love with a Girl"||24||5||10||—||32||—||—||40||—||—||—||—||Gavin DeGraw|
|"She Holds a Key"||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||29||—||—||—|
|"Cheated on Me"||—||30||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|2009||"I Have You to Thank"||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|2011||"Not Over You"||18||1||9||37||23||—||—||16||12||8||—||—||
|2013||"Best I Ever Had"||75||14||—||—||48||—||—||—||44||—||—||80||
|"Make a Move"||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|2014||"You Got Me"||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||
|2016||"She Sets the City on Fire"||—||14||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||
|"Making Love with the Radio On"||—||32||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
Awards and nominationsEdit
|2004||College Music Awards||Best Male Rock Artist||Himself||Nominated|
|Mikie Awards||Male Artist of the Year||Nominated|
|Song of the Year||"I Don't Want To Be"||Nominated|
|2005||Billboard Music Award||Top Soundtrack Single of the Year||Nominated|
|Radio Music Award||Song of the Year/Mainstream Top 40 Radio||Nominated|
|Teen Choice Award||Choice Music: Rock Track||Nominated|
|Groovevolt Music and Fashion Awards||Best Song Performance - Male||Nominated|
|Best Album - Male||Chariot (Stripped)||Nominated|
|World Music Awards||World's Best Selling Pop/Rock Artist||Himself||Nominated|
|2006||BMI Pop Awards||Award-Winning Song||"Chariot"||Won|
|"I Don't Want to Be"||Won|
|2014||Grammy Awards||Best Song Written for Visual Media||"We Both Know"||Nominated|
- "Follow Through" did not chart on the Billboard Hot 100 but did peak at number 11 on the Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles chart, which is an extension of the Hot 100.
- "Sweeter" did not chart on the Billboard Hot 100 but did peak at number 16 on Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles chart, which is an extension of the Hot 100.
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