When Callaghan moved from London to Atlanta during the summer of 2010, she was still a relatively unknown name in the States. A singer/songwriter whose music blurred the edges between pop, adult contemporary and Americana, she had been drawn to Atlanta by one of her biggest influences - Shawn Mullins - after he had agreed to produce her first album. It was a classic story of taking risks, of willingly throwing your life into upheaval in order to chase your dreams.
Just a few years later, Callaghan’s writing a second chapter of that success story. On her second album, A History of Now, she draws upon four years of touring, recording and growing appreciation in the U.S. She's transformed herself from a burgeoning indie songwriter — playing to 20 people at her first US show — to a full-fledged headliner who's toured across 46 states, played the Cayamo Cruise, performed at packed venues around the country and logged more than 50,000 highway miles per year. Along the way, she's developed a close connection with her fans, even booking a series of cross-country tours consisting of nothing but shows in people’s homes.
It was her very first house show tour — which stretched from coast-to-coast in 2013, a year after the release of her widely-acclaimed debut album, Life in Full Colour — that earned Callaghan a four-page spread in Billboard Magazine.
The magazine credited her with "helping reshape the business of touring, if not music consumption entirely," and praised Callaghan for her strong vocals and do-it-yourself work ethic. The Huffington Post agreed, adding, "She's one of those performers whose genuine sweetness is transparent in her voice, and it shines through her writing."
Playing her fans' living rooms has allowed Callaghan to put herself in direct contact with her audience, erasing the boundaries that often exist between musicians and their fans — and allowing her to compete on the same level as bands backed by major labels. In 2014, while raising money to record A History of Now she turned to her own fans for help. They responded with overwhelming support, sending in more than 300 donations via a wildly successful PledgeMusic campaign.
That connection is more evident than ever in A History of Now, whose songs reflect moments and experiences from Callaghan's own life, as well as stories that people have shared with her. Rather than make the album strictly biographical, Callaghan's songs are written in a more universal way, allowing her audience to connect the songs to their own lives. On "Who Would I Be," one of the album's many highlights, she pays tribute to those supporters, thanking them for allowing her music to enter their lives and for enabling her to do what she loves. Meanwhile, "Crazy Beautiful Life" — the album's lead single — celebrates the joys found in the sheer unpredictability and exuberance of life, and "Best Year" — a re-recording of a bouncy, breezy song that also appeared on Life in Full Colour — is a seize-the-day anthem aimed at anyone who's longed to "tear up the rulebook, leave it all behind... and find some bluer skies."
In the spirit of working together, A History of Now is a team effort, recorded in Nashville with producer Dennis Matkosky (a songwriting legend whose credits include Keith Urban's "You'll Think of Me" and the Flashdance soundtrack's "Maniac," as well as several co-writes on the Callaghan album) and instrumental contributions from some of Nashville's best session players. Casey Brown, a member of Owl City, made loops for several songs, adding a modern edge to the album's analog vibe. Still, on a record filled with musical all-stars, Callaghan is easily the most impressive player, singing all 12 songs in a sweet, soaring voice that booms and breaks at all the right moments. If Life in Full Colour was an album about chasing dreams, then A History of Now is an album about achieving them.
"We are all, right now, writing a story which will one day fascinate someone," Callaghan says. "The way we live, the decisions we make, and the moments of hope, grief and happiness which punctuate all our lives will one day make someone stop, think and wonder. All of us are writing our own 'history of now."