“Best Year,” a buoyant track brimming with optimism, opens Callaghan’s debut disc, “Life in Full Color.”
“I’ve just been totally overwhelmed by people’s reactions and how warm they’ve been. It was a scary time, but it definitely was worth it.”
She left London in 2010 after contacting Shawn Mullins via his MySpace page. He’s best known for his 1998 hit “Lullaby.”
“I was a big fan of his and I basically asked him, ‘Do you ever produce for other artists? I’m an independent singer-songwriter living in London, and I love what you do and I think your production would be perfect on my songs.’ And it’s one of those things you send out thinking: This isn’t going to work, but what the hell, let’s give it a go,” Callaghan recalled during a phone interview from her Nashville, Tenn., home.
“So I was absolutely just blown away when he replied and said that he’d listened to the songs and really wanted to work together.”
The 2012 debut showcases her songwriting; a mix of jangly guitar and piano pop, folk, country and rock wrap around catchy melodies and memorable lyrics.
“‘Life in Full Color’ is just about experiencing everything in life — the highs, the lows, the heartache and falling madly in love — and all of those kinds of things that every human being hopefully experiences in life,” the guitarist and keyboardist said. “That’s what I try to write about, something that hopefully everyone can relate to in some way.”
Callaghan just took another risk: a cross-country house tour.
“I had emails from people in some states like Colorado, people on the West Coast, asking when I was coming out to play shows there. Being an independent musician, it can get really expensive touring all over the country. But it was difficult telling these people, well, no, I’m not coming to your area,” she said.
“So [my husband and manager Steve Massey and I] decided what if we just did a trip that went all the way across America; we could go to all these places that I knew I had fans but had never done a show before. And then I had really been getting into the house concert idea the past couple of years of living here. So I thought maybe we can incorporate that and make it a house concert tour.
“It started on May 3 in Boston; we finished in San Francisco on June 2. There were 26 shows all the way across at people’s houses, and they ranged from I guess the smallest was about 20, the biggest was about 100.”
Callaghan will bring that intimate feel to The Ark in Ann Arbor at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 11. Tickets are $15 and the doors open at 7 p.m.
“If any of your readers want to get a free song, they can get ‘Best Year’ from my website, callaghansongs.com,” she added.