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Callaghan’s 2012 debut Life in Full Colour is a pop/folk/country album full of songs about love and life.
UK singer/songwriter Callaghan was born in Boston, Lincolnshire. She started classical training on the flute at 6-years-old, and then started singing and playing piano. She began writing songs at 14 and began going to London to record music with a variety of producers. At 18-years-old, she moved to London and lived on the floor of her sister’s tiny apartment. The place was so small, Callaghan slept beneath the kitchen table.
She recorded a couple EP’s and played at various venues around London while living with her sister. Callaghan then contacted singer/producer Shawn Mullins on MySpace in 2009 and he agreed to do collaboration.
She left London in 2010 to work with Mullins in Atlanta on Life in Full Colour. Callaghan wrote or co-wrote all of the songs on the album. Mullins sang background vocals and played acoustic guitar on many of the songs.
Callaghan wanted to show the range of the human experience in her album: love, pain, joy, sadness, etc. The majority of the 12 tracks on the album deal with love.
The first song on the album “Best Year,” is an upbeat, fun song about taking chances and having a good life. The song expresses her excitement and joy in coming to the U.S. to work with Mullins on her record. It’s catchy, has a good message, and is one of the best tracks on the album.
The next two songs, “To Be Loved By You” and “Nothing You Can Say,” both focus on loving someone and being loved in return. “To Be Loved By You” is upbeat and has a country influence. “Nothing You Can Say” is a quieter song and the melody fits beautifully with the lyrics.
“It Was Meant To Be” is another sweet, quiet love song that speaks about how a couple’s relationship was fated. The next song, “Close My Eyes,” is about a person who wants a lover back and thinks/dreams about them coming back, singing, “If I close my eyes/I can bring you here with me tonight.”
Track six is “Sweet Surrender,” one of the songs Callaghan wrote with Mullins. The most powerful part of the song is “And I told myself so many times you would change but somehow I knew/That I’d find a way of going back, watch you break my heart in two.” It’s definitely one of the best songs on the record.
“Look Around” has a lovely instrumentals and strong vocals. The song touches on the importance of having someone to be there in troubled times. The next track, “The Only Thing Real” is another Callaghan/Mullins writing collaboration. The combination of Mullins and Callaghan’s voice on this song is wonderful, and it makes the song stand out from others on the album.
“Get Me Through Tonight” is about a person who just needs to find a way to survive the night after their significant other has left. Callaghan’s voice on this track is emotive and exceptionally clear.
“Smile” is another quiet song, but it focuses on the happiness a person can gain from another. It’s not the strongest of the album, but it’s easy to sing-along to and it’s sweet. “The Edge of Love” is a sad song about heartbreak. “If Only For Tonight” is the last song on the album. The following lyrics describe the entirety of the song: “Keep dreaming and the world will leave us behind/Keep falling for this moment right here you’re mine/If only for tonight.”
Overall, Callaghan’s debut album Life in Full Colour is a good first effort. The vocals are strong on all tracks and her voice fits with Mullins as a background singer. The lyrics on the tracks are simple, but easy to sing-along to and easy to relate to most people. Callaghan wanted to sing about the human experience and she accomplished that goal, though it would be nice to see fewer songs focusing on love on her next album.
The mixture of genres is obviously not for everyone, but each song has different influences from pop, country, and folk. The album is worth a listen if one is interested in any of said genres, or in Shawn Mullins, who obviously believes in Callaghan’s writing and vocal ability.