Leah Greenblatt
December 14, 2007 AT 05:00 AM EST

”Bubbly,” the sweet — and inescapable — folk-pop ditty currently playing on a radio station (and in a shopping mall, airport, doctor’s waiting room…) near you, is undeniably one of 2007’s biggest sleeper hits. And nobody is more surprised than Colbie Caillat, the unassuming 22-year-old who wrote it. Why? Because her song’s tender, love-struck sentiments are, technically, fictional. ”I was sitting at home,” she recalls, brushing back her long wheat-colored hair, ”and I didn’t have a crush on anyone. I was thinking about that — all sad, bored, and lonely — and I wrote the song.”

A Malibu native and the daughter of famed Fleetwood Mac producer Ken Caillat (Rumours), she began singing in Hollywood bars and coffeehouses just last year. Fairly quickly, the MySpace numbers for ”Bubbly” climbed to an impressive 50,000 plays a day — catnip to the major labels, who soon came calling. To date, her debut album, Coco (out on Universal Republic), has sold nearly 800,000 copies, and the video for ”Bubbly,” a Top 40 smash, has even gained regular airplay on CMT. Come January, Caillat will test her staying power with the release of a second single, ”Realize.” She’ll also bring her breezy California sound to more exotic climes this spring, traveling on a promotional tour to Europe and Asia. First, however, the shy singer has had to surmount an even greater obstacle: shooting more videos. ”I was terrified. I’m not an actress!” she says. ”Songwriting and singing… [That’s] where my heart is.”

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