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Gavin DeGraw's still focused on music, even though he's "Dancing With the Stars"

for Journal Register Newspapers

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Though some of his fans might be worried, Gavin DeGraw promises that his casting on the upcoming season of ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars” won’t deter him from his music career.

“Oh, I’m always writing stuff and trying to figure out what the next batch of stuff should be like,” says DeGraw, 35, whose “I Don’t Want to Be” was the theme song for TV’s “One Tree Hill” and who released his fourth album, “Sweeter,” in September. The New Yorker begins his “Dancing...” run on March 19.

The music, meanwhile, is being determined by “what is effective on (‘Sweeter’), what the public latches onto. You base next year’s fashion base on the success of this year’s fashion line. We’ll see which pair of pants they like and then decide what next year’s pair of pants should look like.”

DeGraw, meanwhile, is happy with how his current musical designs are playing in the marketplace. “Sweeter” debuted at No. 8 on the Billboard 200, while his latest single, “Not Over You,” topped the Adult Contemporary chart and crossed over to the Top 20 while selling more than a million copies. That, he says, means the stylistic adjustments he made for the album -- including more intensive songwriting collaborations -- have been successful.

“I’m holding onto some of the pieces from my earlier albums, but I think this is a step in the direction of something a little more modern, a little sexier and at the same time a little more masculine than my other records were,” explains DeGraw, who plans to release “Sweeter’s” title track as his next single.

“I think this is a really well-balanced record for that reason. You’re leaving that sort of pop artist realm and you’re trying to establish yourself as more of a career artist. That’s the goal here, to get to a point where people are getting an album from you and going, ‘OK, cool, these are actually well-written songs. They’re not just pop songs. They’re a little more significant.’ “

Gavin DeGraw, David Nail and Gabe Dixon perform Friday, March 9, at the Royal Oak Music Theatre, 318 W. Fourth St. Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets are $24. Call 248-399-2980 or visit www.royaloakmusictheatre.com.

Web Site: www.royaloakmusictheatre.com.

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