Colbie Caillat Talks Breakthrough, Wants To Work With Hip-Hop Artist

'She's one of the best songwriters I've ever known,' Caillat says of collaborator, 'American Idol' judge Kara DioGuardi.

[artist id="2575099"]Colbie Caillat[/artist] seems like a poster-child for Southern California. She's tan with sun-kissed blonde hair, her style is laid-back and casual — and her 2007 album, Coco, proved that her music was no different. There's that same aura of sunshine and sweetness to her songs, which was exemplified by the hit, "Bubbly."

Fast-forward two years later to the 24-year-old singer/songwriter's second album, Breakthrough, which was released Tuesday (August 25). Although her first single from the record, "Fallin' for You," has the same happy-go-lucky vibe as her first hit, Caillat says she tried new writing techniques and instruments, like violin and cello, for a more mature version of her signature sweet sound.

"[Breakthrough] is similar to Coco in the way that it's still my style of music," Caillat said. "It makes you feel like you're in Southern California or Hawaii, but the songs are more diverse and complex. I worked with a bunch of different songwriters and producers, and I just opened my mind to different techniques of writing."

One of the songwriters who worked with Caillat was none other than hitmaker/ "American Idol" judge Kara DioGuardi. The pair rented a house with friends on a beach in Hawaii and had their own "writing camp." They spent their days Boogie-boarding, barbequing and writing songs. The "Idol" judge inspired the young singer/songwriter in the process.

"Honestly, she's one of the best songwriters I've ever known," Caillat said. "She's just fearless and really taught me a lot about opening up and just saying what you need to say and just singing what you're feeling and people will dig it."

Surprisingly, for her next collaboration, Caillat said she really wants to change gears.

"The next collaboration I want to do is with a hip-hop artist like Common or Pharrell Williams," she said. "I love [Bone Thugs-N-Harmony] and Notorious B.I.G., so something like that where I can do the pretty melody — kind of like the Fugees and Black Eyed Peas."

Caillat is still unsure which song to release as her second single — it's a toss-up between "Begin Again" and "You Got Me" — so she's just riding the wave of "Breakthrough" to see where it takes her. So far, she's set to go on tour with Howie Day in the fall, and she hopes to continue collaborating with new artists.

"Writing is one of my favorite things to do, and helping other people write songs for their records is my next project," she said.