Singer Gavin DeGraw got his break when his hit, I Don’t Want to Be was chosen as the theme song for One Tree Hill. Now, I Don’t Want to Be is probably best known as “the song everyone sings on American Idol.”
In the midst of DeGraw’s brutal assault and hospitalization on Sunday, we’re wishing him a quick recovery. In the meantime, here are some things you might now know about the singer:
His dad really was a prison guard: Nope, those weren’t just cool lyrics from Gavin’s hit. His dad was a prison guard in South Fallsburg, New York. His mom was a detox specialist. As a kid, he didn’t get away with sh-t.
He’s been compared to Billy Joel: I don’t get it, either. But DeGraw says of the comparison: “They are flattering. Billy Joel, you know, he’s the other Beatle.” DeGraw also lists Joel as an artist he’d like to collaborate with, along with Van Morrison, Stevie Wonder and Willie Nelson.
He got an early start: At the age of eight, DeGraw was singing, writing his own songs, and playing piano. And you thought keyboard cat was impressive.
He’s lent his talents to TV and film: DeGraw’s song, We Belong Together was featured in the 2006 movie Tristan and Isolde. DeGraw himself has made cameos on One Tree Hill, Dead Like Me, and What I Like About You.
He was a math nerd: DeGraw says he was “a pretty good student”, and lists his favorite subject as math. “Until I didn’t do well in math for a while and all of the sudden I didn’t like math anymore. I couldn’t stand English.” Ironic, for someone who became a songwriter.
He’s got his own music venue: DeGraw and his brother opened The National Underground in 2007. It’s a NYC music venue located in Manhattan’s Lower East Side. It’s mostly rock-focused, and DeGraw says: “We were picky about the quality of musicians that played there. We wanted a place where the players were so good, other musicians were like, ‘Wow! I really respect what they’re doing’.”
He’s on tour with Maroon 5: And Train. If you remember Train. They were that group that sang that one song back in 1998. You probably have it on a mix CD somewhere in a box at your mom’s house. But DeGraw has also toured with Sister Hazel, Saving Jane, and Jason Mraz.
He hated his odd jobs: “I have worked as a lifeguard, walked dogs, worked lumber, as a bellhop, at a magazine stand; all different sorts of things,” DeGraw says. “I think I disliked the jobs so much that I felt like I had to pursue what I loved.”
He’s worked with Zach Braff: DeGraw’s Chariot music video was directed by Scrubs star Zach Braff. Surprisingly, the video doesn’t star Zach Braff.
He’s got an album coming out: DeGraw’s next album, Sweeter is out on September 20. It will be the singer’s fourth album.