LEWISTON -The release of his 2003 album, “Chariot,” a mix of rhythm and blues with more modern techniques, thrust Gavin DeGraw into the music spotlight.

The album was certified platinum recently. His single, “I Don’t Want to Be,” was chosen by the WB network as the theme song for its popular show “One Tree Hill.”

DeGraw will perform March 30 at Bates College in Lewiston with special guests Jem and Michael Tolcher.

DeGraw is an artist who “writes lyrics that muse on life and love with hard won insight that belies his age,” according to his Web site (http://www.gavindegraw.com),

Tolcher, whose Southern accent hints at his upbringing in the small town of Lovejoy, Ga., is touring in support of his new album “I am” – a fusion of pop, soul and R&B with an underlying theme of social consciousness.

His music is “as much of an expression of myself as I can give,” Tolcher said, adding that his goal with music is to “expand its limits to match the emotion.”

The former college track star, who had dreams of running in the Olympics until an injury shattered that dream, said he was influenced by Dr. Mutulu Shakur, the late rapper Tupac’s father. Tolcher met Shakur when the latter was serving time at the Atlanta Federal Penitentary in Georgia. Tolcher’s father was the resident chaplain at the prison, where Tolcher played music weekly.

“I try to approach life like there is no ownership,” Tolcher said, describing his values as the only thing he considers to be solely his.

Thinking of himself as a pretty simple person, Tolcher recalled a trip he made to Maine not long ago, which lasted about three weeks. It was just him and his van; and one day, he said, “this dude just invited me to go fishing.”

Tolcher and DeGraw have played about 100 shows together.

Jem, a native of Wales, has written and recorded music since she was 13. Born Jemma Griffiths, she lived and worked in the United States until 1999, when she returned to Wales. She began recording with some big name producers such as Bjork and Mos Def. She released “It All Starts Here” on Dave Matthews’ ATO record label in 2003, and followed that up with the full-length album, “Finally Woken,” in 2004.

Her songs have been used in Mike Nichols’ film “Closer”” and in the TV hit series “Desperate Housewives.”



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