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Gavin DeGraw feeling "Sweeter" after attack

Gavin DeGraw arrives for an Esquire and VH1 Save The Music Foundation benefit in New York
Gavin DeGraw arrives for an Esquire and VH1 Save The Music Foundation benefit in New York

By Alicia Powell and Christine Kearney

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Getting beaten up is never a good thing, unless maybe you're Gavin DeGraw. In which case, it could even make life "Sweeter."

The U.S. singer-songwriter isn't bitter about being thrashed by a group of men in New York and hospitalized for days in August, a month before his new album was released, telling Reuters it was, in the end, the "best case scenario."

The pop and rock singer spoke about the late-night attack, which made worldwide headlines only weeks before his fourth studio album, "Sweeter" featuring the single "Not Over You," was released on Tuesday.

Before the attack, DeGraw was best known for the 2004 single "I Don't Want To Be" which broke onto top 40 charts in Britain, Australia and The Netherlands, peaked at No. 10 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and was widely covered by contestants in TV shows such as "American Idol."

But in early August, while on tour as a supporting act for rock bands Maroon 5 and Train, he reported being attacked by three men and then hit by a taxi cab, causing a concussion, a broken nose, canceled concerts -- and wider media attention than ever before.

"It's funny enough, right?" DeGraw told Reuters on Tuesday about his twist of fate while pointing out some scars. "I guess the best case scenario would be that it (the attack) can be diverted to the positive ... Fortunately I was able to escape with a minimal amount of injuries."

He downplayed his pain and suffering as minimal, compared to what some professional athletes go through.

"I just wish I had on a helmet at the time," he said, adding "it's really not so so terrible. If you can find a way to divert the energy to the positive, then it's the best case scenario."

BEST REVENGE IS MUSIC

Police have been investigating an assault by several males but no arrests have been made. Nevertheless, DeGraw, 34, saw it as just a "bump in the road" before releasing his current album and embarking on a new U.S. tour.

"My revenge will be the success of being able to play music for the rest of my life," he said.

He calls "Sweeter" his "best work" yet. The first single "Not Over You" already is receiving wide radio airplay in the United States, and he said other songs such as "Radiation" displayed a sound that was more raw than his work on previous albums, such as his 2003 debut "Chariot" and his self-titled album follow up.

"This album has another element that I didn't have before, which I think is a lot, a lot more sexy and at the same time very masculine," he said,

As he embarks on a tour with past "American Idol" winner David Cook, DeGraw said whatever happens with his music and in his personal life -- even traumatic events such as being attacked -- will make him a better person. It's part of his life's philosophy.

"Everything you go through becomes a part of your character ultimately and makes you a richer person. And honestly I don't think that it was the worst thing in the world, it was a bad moment. But having that dark cloud for a moment allowed me to see the silver lining," he said.

(Reporting by Alicia Powell, writing by Christine Kearney, editing by Bob Tourtellotte)

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