Gavin Shane DeGraw is an American musician, singer and songwriter. He rose to fame with the single “I Don’t Want to Be” from his debut album Chariot, which became the theme song for the television drama series One Tree Hill. Other singles from the album included notably “Chariot” and “Follow Through.” Take a look below for 28 more fun and interesting facts about Gavin DeGraw.
1. DeGraw grew up in South Fallsburg, New York.
2. His mother, Lynne (1951-2017), was a detox specialist, and his father, Wayne DeGraw, was a prison guard; he referenced his father’s and mother’s respective occupations in the song “I Don’t Want to Be”.
4. DeGraw began singing and playing piano at the age of eight. He has two older siblings, a sister Neeka and a brother, Joey, also a musician.
5. Growing up in a musical family, he was raised to regard music as part of the fabric of everyday life rather than a remote show-business ideal.
6. As a teenager, DeGraw experienced a personal epiphany when he discovered Ray Charles and Sam Cooke, whose combination of personal charm and emotional commitment struck a chord in the budding musician.
7. DeGraw played in a local Catskills group called The People’s Band with fellow local musicians: Steven Levine on vocals, as well as his brother, Joey.
8. The band played many of the local hotels and clubs around the Monticello area. On his brother’s advice, DeGraw began writing his own songs.
9. He attended Ithaca College on a music scholarship, but found himself spending more time in his dorm room writing songs than attending classes, and dropped out after one semester.
10. DeGraw then moved to Boston, where he attended the prestigious Berklee College of Music for two semesters while singing in a rock band and playing solo gigs on the side.
11. After leaving Berklee and relocating to Manhattan in March 1998, DeGraw almost immediately began making substantial career inroads, gradually and organically laying the groundwork for a musical career. “I kept having small successes,” he recalls, “just things like applause from small audiences or people saying they’d heard about me. Those tiny bits of recognition were fuel for me to continue, and made me feel like I was on the right track.”
12. Within a few months of his arrival, DeGraw made his way into the Ron Grant and Friends open-mic night at Wilson’s, the noted Upper West Side restaurant inside the Lucerne hotel.
13. In the spring of 2002, following a sold-out showcase at New York’s Joe’s Pub, DeGraw began work on his debut album Chariot.
14. DeGraw rose to fame in 2003, when “I Don’t Want to Be” was chosen as the theme song for teen drama One Tree Hill.
15. He released his debut album, Chariot, on July 22, 2003, under J Records.
16. DeGraw’s second album, the self-titled Gavin DeGraw was released on May 6, 2008.
17. DeGraw’s third album, Free, was released March 31, 2009. DeGraw made Free in less than two weeks at the Brooklyn studio of his producer, Camus Celli.
18. DeGraw’s fourth album, Sweeter, was set to release on August 9, 2011, but was pushed back to September 20, 2011.
19. On June 18, 2013, DeGraw released the first single from his fifth studio album, “Best I Ever Had”.
20. Degraw’s fifth, and most recent studio album, Make a Move, was released October 15, 2013.
21. DeGraw has released several music videos as well, including “I Don’t Want to Be”, “Follow Through” and “Chariot”. The latter was directed by Zach Braff, who also directed music videos for Joshua Radin.
22. He and his brother opened The National Underground in December 2007, a New York City music venue that is a roots rock Americana music bar located in Manhattan’s Lower East Side, at 159 East Houston Street between Allen Street and Eldridge Street.
23. DeGraw was a contestant on season 14 of ABC’s Dancing with the Stars which premiered on Monday March 19, 2012.
24. DeGraw and his partner Karina Smirnoff were eliminated from the competition during week 5, following a Dance Duel with castmate Jaleel White and his partner Kym Johnson. They landed in 9th place.
25. DeGraw appeared in an on-screen role in four One Tree Hill episodes. His first appearance was in 2004, during (“You Gotta Go There to Come Back”); he was seen singing “I Don’t Want to Be” at Karen’s Cafe.
26. On August 8, 2011, DeGraw was hospitalized after being assaulted by several people in Manhattan’s East Village after leaving The National Underground. Police reported that a group of men attacked DeGraw early Sunday morning at East 6th Street and First Avenue.
27. He suffered a broken nose, a concussion, two black eyes and lacerations to his face. Only minutes after the attack, DeGraw was struck by a taxi at 19th Street and First Avenue. DeGraw was taken to Manhattan’s Bellevue Hospital Center by ambulance, and he had to cancel a scheduled August 9 performance at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center in Saratoga Springs.
28. In September 2017, DeGraw’s mother, Lynne DeGraw, died of pancreatic cancer.