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Colbie Caillat, opening for John Mayer at Usana Amphitheatre July 21, has had a year deserving of an exclamation point. Multiple exclamation points, actually!

A little over a year ago, Caillat, 23, was just another singer-songwriter posting her songs on her MySpace site, hoping a few people would like them and download her amiable, mellow songs. But more than a few people liked them, and before she knew it, her breezy songs were played more than 40 million times and she became one of the first Internet music superstars.

Caillat's first single, "Bubbly," was a runaway hit, breaking into the top 5 on the Billboard singles charts, and the follow-up single, "Realize," is inescapable on top-40 radio. Her debut album, "Coco," also broke into the Top 5 on the Billboard album charts.

Caillat (rhymes with "ballet") answered e-mail questions about her success and tour and, as you will see, liked to use exclamation points to describe her life.

Is being on a high-profile summer tour different from what you expected it to be? What is the most surprising thing about experiencing it?

I was on tour with the Goo Goo Dolls and Lifehouse last summer, so it's very similar. We are playing most of the same amphitheaters around the U.S. What's great is that I have the second slot so there are more people in the audience to fill up those 10,000 seats!

You grew up in Ventura County, Calif., a beautiful county on the coast in between Los Angeles and Santa Barbara counties. Did spending time there affect who you are today, musically and personally?

I have become who I am because of the places I have lived and the lifestyle I grew up in. I love Thousand Oaks. It's a beautiful suburb town not too far from the beach, surrounded by mountains, and it's a very safe area! As beautiful as it is, I got pretty bored, and that led me into playing music. I was always a singer, but my boredom got me to play the guitar and become a songwriter. My lifestyle made the songs that came out of me very mellow.

When "Realize" turned out to be a major hit, did you feel relief that people responded to you for more than just "Bubbly"?

I was very relieved! The thing is, though, I knew my fans loved the song because of my MySpace page and my live shows! It was my label and the media that worried me about how important it was for the second single to do well!

You set up a phone number (805-804-5361) on your Web site where people can leave messages for you. What messages have meant the most to you?

Oh, they are so cute! The messages are usually from young girls between 10-17 and their voices are so nervous! One girl said, "Hi, Colbie, this is Katie, ummm, I really like your 'Bubbly' song and I was hoping you could call me back, so will you call me back please? OK, cool, bye!!!" She called and left five messages in a row, I think, so adorable! It's so nice hearing messages from real listeners! They remind me why I'm doing what I do everyday and encourage me to keep doing it with a smile on my face!

When your next album is released, will you emulate the Internet marketing skills you used for your first record?

I would love to, but it's a really difficult situation now and it's not really possible since I'm signed to a label. If we put the songs up early on MySpace, people will record them and put them on free music sites. But all I want to do is put my songs up as I record them like I did with "Coco" for my fans to hear so I can get their opinion on them and so they can start falling in love with them early! I'm still trying to figure out a way to get around it!

Are you working on a new album, and if so, do you have a release date?

We are in the process of recording my next album! I have been writing all year and have plenty of song options for the second album! We record the real thing in January and I believe it should be coming out in the summer of '09.

What? No exclamation point at the end of that sentence?

David Burger can be reached at dburger@sltrib.com" Target="_BLANK">dburger@sltrib.com or 801-257-8620. Send comments about this story to livingeditor@sltrib.com" Target="_BLANK">livingeditor@sltrib.com.

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