DETROIT - A Farmington Hills teenager spends her days and nights writing songs.
Callaghan Smerek, 16, will even write on her own skin to get the lyrics down.
The singer/songwriter may be in high school, but she is spending this summer writing for a Grammy award-winning pop star.
"I played at a lot of coffee houses when I was in middle school, and I did that kind of thing, and that just kind of snowballed and then I got into bigger things," said Smerek.
Smerek said she has been writing lyrics for as far back as she can remember.
"Now I find songs from when I was like eight-years-old and they make no sense. I'm like, 'What the heck?', why was I writing songs when I was eight?," said Smerek. "I remember when I was 10, I kind of like realized it wasn't the normal fifth grade thing to be writing two songs every night, and that was when I kind of decided I wanted to write a song for like everyone, for every situation because I can't imagine not writing songs about everything."
Smerek described her style of music as upbeat and positive; pop music with a young, organic feel.
The teenage songwriter is experiencing a dream opportunity that she got because she wasn't afraid to reach out and take a risk. A simple message she sent on Facebook has changed her life. She contacted Ken Caillat, the father of pop star Colbie Caillat.
"I was on Facebook, and I realized I was friends with Ken Caillat, and I was like, wow that's, that's awesome because he's this huge record producer," said Smerek. "He did the Fleetwood Mac records, Michael Jackson, Paul McCartney, all sorts of people."
When she sent the message with a link to her music, she didn't expect to hear back.
"I remember I was holding my guitar and I was turning on a speaker and I almost knocked the speaker over, dropped my guitar I was just like what? he responded?," said Smerek.
She said Ken Caillat invited her out to California to his studio. It was a meeting that would lead her to an amazing opportunity. Smerek is currently writing music for Colbie Caillat's upcoming Christmas album.
"It's so exciting. They just announced it like last week and I'm really excited about that. I'm writing some songs for her, and um, so that's cool," said Smerek. "I couldn't' tell anyone, because it was like a big secret."
Smerek remains very focused on her own singing career. In the fall she starred in her second music video for a song titled 'Hey you.' It was produced in New York.
"I actually wrote it in eighth grade, so it's just kind of that 'I love you, why won't you look at me?' kind of song. You know, It's just like trying to get someone's attention, and it's just a fun song," said Smerek.
Smerek still attends school and admits trying to balance her education with her singing can be a challenge.
"It's kind of overwhelming to balance with like school. It's not as glamorous as it looks on Hannah Montana. It's just, you kind of just take it day by day because It's always really unexpected," said Smerek.
The work and the balancing act are completely worth it to her.
"I always hoped and like dreamed that something would happen but I never imagined it actually would," said Smerek.
Smerek said she wants to go on tour and that she would love to be someone's opening act.
Smerek is performing this Sunday at the Axis Music Academy Student Showcase Fundraiser Concert. It runs from 2 p.m. until 4 p.m. at the Uptown Grille, 3100 E. West Maple in Commerce Twp. For more information on the event, click here.
To learn more about Smerek and hear some of her other music, click here.
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