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Gavin DeGraw

Gavin DeGraw

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Also Known As: Gavin Shane Degraw Died:
Born: February 4, 1977 Cause of Death:
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Like his contemporary and former Berklee College of Music classmate John Mayer, Gavin DeGraw was a popular singer-songwriter who scored highly in the late 2000s with a string of earnest pop-rock hits, including his signature tune, "I Donâ¿¿t Wanna," which became the theme song for the long-running teen drama "One Tree Hill" (The WB, 2003- ). Blessed with a knack for introspective lyrics and a voice that dripped with blue-eyed soul, DeGraw broke into the Top 20 with his 2003 debut, Chariot, but struggled to match its double-platinum success with subsequent releases. A shift from his longstanding home with J Records to RCA in 2011 generated his fourth album, Sweeter and first Top 10 record since his debut. DeGraw shrewdly promoted his return to the charts with a variety of appearances, including a turn on the popular "Dancing with the Stars" (ABC, 2005- ), which did much to extend his relevancy in the ever-shifting music business and underscore his versatility as a pop performer.Born Gavin Shane DeGraw on Feb. 4, 1977 in the Catskills town of South Fallsburg, NY, he was raised in a musical family and began singing and playing piano at the age of eight. As a teenager, he discovered the music of Ray...

Like his contemporary and former Berklee College of Music classmate John Mayer, Gavin DeGraw was a popular singer-songwriter who scored highly in the late 2000s with a string of earnest pop-rock hits, including his signature tune, "I Donâ¿¿t Wanna," which became the theme song for the long-running teen drama "One Tree Hill" (The WB, 2003- ). Blessed with a knack for introspective lyrics and a voice that dripped with blue-eyed soul, DeGraw broke into the Top 20 with his 2003 debut, Chariot, but struggled to match its double-platinum success with subsequent releases. A shift from his longstanding home with J Records to RCA in 2011 generated his fourth album, Sweeter and first Top 10 record since his debut. DeGraw shrewdly promoted his return to the charts with a variety of appearances, including a turn on the popular "Dancing with the Stars" (ABC, 2005- ), which did much to extend his relevancy in the ever-shifting music business and underscore his versatility as a pop performer.

Born Gavin Shane DeGraw on Feb. 4, 1977 in the Catskills town of South Fallsburg, NY, he was raised in a musical family and began singing and playing piano at the age of eight. As a teenager, he discovered the music of Ray Charles and Sam Cooke, whose soulful voices had a tremendous impact on his own singing. DeGraw soon began playing in cover bands with his older brother, Joey, who encouraged him to write his own material. After high school, DeGraw attended Ithaca College on a music scholarship, but devoted more time to songwriting than classes, and left after a single semester. He moved on to the prestigious Berklee College of Music, where he was classmates with future Grammy-winner, John Mayer, and divided his time between studies and playing the local club circuit. In 1998, he relocated to Manhattan, where he began to foment a following through numerous appearances at open-mic nights. He soon became a regular performer on the Upper West Side, working his way up to major venues and recording a six-song CD, Gavin Live.

By 2002, he had inked a contract with Clive Davisâ¿¿ J Records, which resulted in his 2003 debut album, Chariot. The albumâ¿¿s lead single, "I Donâ¿¿t Wanna," broke the Top Ten on the Billboard charts on the strength of its placement as the theme song for the WB series "One Tree Hill," and eventually generated double platinum sales for the album. The following year, Chariot was re-issued in an expanded acoustic edition titled Chariot Stripped. DeGraw would spend much of the next four years promoting the album through live appearances, as well as guest turns as himself on "One Tree Hill" and "Dead Like Me" (Showtime, 2003-04). His songs turned up in a wide variety of screen projects, from the features "Laws of Attraction" (2004) and "Tristan and Isolde" (2006) to the television series "House" (Fox, 2004-2012) and "Scrubs" (NBC, 2001-2010). In 2007, DeGraw and his brother opened the New York music club The National Underground.

DeGrawâ¿¿s eponymous self-titled release finally saw the light of day in 2008. Though it surpassed Chariot in album sales, its singles, including "In Love with a Girl," rose no higher than No. 24 on the Billboard chart. A follow-up, Free (2009), was released only a few months later, and landed at the bottom of the album Top 20. DeGraw waited two more years to release a fourth LP, Sweeter, which saw stronger sales and his first Top 20 single since 2004 in "Not Over You." The album marked his first collaboration with RCA Records after nearly a decade with J Records. However, the yearâ¿¿s success was overshadowed by a brutal attack by several unidentified men outside the National Underground. Following the assault, DeGraw was struck by a taxi, and was forced to cancel a live appearance with Maroon 5 and Train. Following his recovery, DeGraw was announced as a contestant on the 14th season of the popular competition series "Dancing with the Stars" (ABC, 2005- ).

By Paul Gaita

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