“I Don’t Want To Be” that old: Gavin DeGraw’s ‘Chariot’ turns 20

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Twenty years ago this weekend, a new piano-playing pop star made his debut: Gavin DeGraw‘s first album, Chariot, arrived July 22, 2003. He thinks the album still holds up, even though there are definitely things he’d change about it.

“You know, it lives in a certain place for me,” Gavin tells ABC Audio. “I have to forgive myself listening back to it for certain things, because you can’t help but look at it with the lens you have now, right? You can’t help yourself.”

He notes, “The same way I look back on an old picture from 20 years ago and say, ‘What was I wearing?’ I do the same thing with vocal tone and thinking to yourself, ‘Well, why did I write that? I coulda done better than that.'”

Overall, though, Gavin thinks Chariot still sounds pretty good because it doesn’t sound dated.

“That particular album aged pretty well because there’s not too much, like, electronic stuff happening,” he explains. “I could certainly go back and change things for everything I’ve ever done. But every painter has to walk away from the canvas at some point — and that’s all there is to it.”

Chariot, now RIAA-certified Platinum, features the RIAA-certified Gold “Follow Through“; the Platinum-certified title track; and Gavin’s signature song “I Don’t Want To Be,” which is certified for sales of 2 million copies. 

The success of “I Don’t Want To Be” gave the album a huge boost: in September 2003, the WB series One Tree Hill premiered with that song as its theme. It was released as a single in early 2004 and soon became a top 10 hit. Gavin went on to make four appearances on the show before it wrapped in 2012.

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