After the platinum-selling success of her last album of all-new material, 1997's A Few Small Repairs, and its Grammy-winning "Sunny Came Home," singer-songwriter Shawn Colvin figured she had this whole music biz knocked. "If there was a downside at all to that last record, it was the expectation it might be easy from here on out," Colvin says. "What a joke that was."
In fact, Colvin encountered a prolonged period of writer's block and creative malaise prior to making her latest effort, Whole New You. Chalk that up to her home life; she married for a second time and, during July of 1998, gave birth to her first child, Caledonia, which spawned the recording of Holiday Songs and Lullabies as well as a guest appearance on the Sesame Street TV special Elmopalooza. But Colvin also found that domestic bliss did not necessarily translate into blissful creativity.
"It wasn't exactly perfect timing to want to start a family in the wake of a successful record like that," acknowledges Colvin, who wrote Whole New You's 11 songs with co-producer and guitarist Jon Leventhal, with guest appearances by James Taylor and Marc Cohn. "Ideally I would've turned right around and put my head down and made another record as quickly as possible. The most difficult thing was that, ordinarily, what I'm used to is feeling whatever it is I feel and having the space and the time to reflect on it. And I didn't have any space or time anymore. Every writer thinks they'll never write again. I just eventually had enough distance and enough comfort with my new roles to start assimilating things and become creative. I just chipped away at it, bit by bit. But it never got easy on this one."
During the time between albums Colvin, 45, also became a triathelete, competing in her first event last June and another in February. "Once you've got the mental and physical aptitude, it's OK," she explains. "A lot of it is training and getting your body in shape, just teaching your body to go that long and do those difference exercises and those different skills is half the battle."