Last night I saw Gavin De Graw at the House of Blues in West Hollywood. It was the first time I have ever witnessed a rocket of fame from it’s ignition to it’s first official orbit. I was first introduced to Gavin in July of 2001 during one of my favorite trips to New York. My friend Lori Jean kept raving to Erica and I about her friend Gavin who played the piano and sang at a local bar on the upper west side. Friends recommending their friends talents is always a crap shoot… we were in New York to see Madonna, I didn’t really feel like seeing some guy play the piano. Fortunately, I had my first cocktail at 11:45am and never stopped… so by the time she was recommending him again, I was so in the bag, I would have followed her to a strip club to watch the ladies… Gavin was just starting out at Wilson’s… playing there every Monday night… outside of the crowd he was attracting every Monday night, no one knew who he was. When he sat at the piano, he just seemed like a scruffy little guy. Then his fingers hit the piano and he opened his mouth… Within in minutes I knew I was in the presence of the second coming of Billy Joel and Sam Cooke. When he closed the night with Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah”, you could hear a pin drop as the crowd sat mesmerized in silence. He was the real deal. I kept in touch with him and told him if he ever played LA, I would be there in the front row. When he did finally get a gig at The Mint, Erica and I found ourselves begging people to go… everyone was busy and most people said they would catch him the next time he was in town. I think to say there were 30 people in the room was a generous number. At least 20 of them were there to see the act after him. I was so frustrated as everyone in the back of the room talked through the first half of the set. And then, just like in New York, he had taken control of the room and by the time he sang “Hallelujah”, the only sound in the room aside from Gavin and his piano was the clink of ice against someone’s glass as it slowly melted. Shortly after, Clive Davis signed him to J-Records and announced him as the next big thing. As Gavin recorded his debut album, he played a few more shows at the Mint, each time it got harder and harder for me to get a reservation as word of mouth got out on him. His song “I Don’t Want To Be” became the theme song of “One Tree Hill”… a show I tuned into only to hear Gavin in my living room each week, but quickly learned to love on it’s own merit. He toured last year with Maroon 5 and I missed the shows. So you can imagine my reaction last night as we arrived at the House of Blues and the sign read “Gavin De Graw: Sold Out”. I felt a surge of pride and excitement seeing him on stage a bona fide rock star, fans dripping from the balcony and Gavin shaking hands with the front rows as he sang. I felt a surge of envy and greed knowing that I was now sharing him with the world and that we would never be in the intimate settings of Wilson’s or The Mint again. I felt a sense of hope inside as the whole experience reminds me that with enough talent and dedication, the world is your oyster and that anything is possible. It is a gift, a privilege and an inspiration to see someone like Gavin succeed. And that is a story I felt needed sharing… one that I am hoping to read the next time I am questioning what possibilities lie in my own future.
For more info on Gavin, you can visit his website… www.gavindegraw.com I promise it is a CD worth buying!
You can click here to read about the original “New York Trip” that started it all…
Also, there is a really great fan site at www.gavindegraw.us