In March of 2015, Cam burst onto the scene with a song called “Burning House” and women everywhere were immediately drawn in. We’d heard Cam’s music before, but it was hidden behind other artist’s voices like Miley Cyrus and Maggie Rose. Now a well-known singer and songwriter, Cam will be at Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace on Thursday, December 7, with all tickets going for just $20.
I caught up with Cam recently to discuss what it was like to perform at Stagecoach, how her psychology professor helped lead her to where she is now, and of course, her upcoming show in the High Desert.
Cactus Hugs: Let’s get the obvious question out of the way – Do you and Kimberly Schlapman from Little Big Town trade hairstyling secrets and products? Because you two have some of the best hair in country music!
Cam: Haha! No, we don’t. We just admire each other. I remember one time I opened for them and I watched her – she was like blowing out her hair and it took forever. She is a master at it. I’ve never seen a hair out of place. She nails it – she’s my hair goals.
CH: I think you nail it too, tbh! So now that we have that out of the way, how does a woman who studied Psychology Research end up as one of the hottest voices and most sought-after writers in country music? Was that the plan?
Cam: Um, well. I think the plan was to get a real job and try and do the smart thing and get a rnot do music. Then, I kind of felt like I needed to do it. It kept pulling at me and I asked my professor, “What do you think?” and she said, “Picture yourself at 80 and what do you think you’d regret. Would you regret missing out on psychology or missing out on music?”. And I was like, you know, definitely music. It was a plan that would hopefully work out, but you never know. It was hard work and luck I guess that it did work out.
CH: You have a new song out called ‘Diane’ and you said it’s a response song to Dolly Parton’s ‘Jolene’, and as I’m listening to it – for a song that’s written from the viewpoint of the Other Woman – it’s pretty upbeat.
Cam: I know, right! Isn’t it great? Basically, I wrote it because I have friends who have gone through this and in real life they didn’t get the truth, they didn’t get an apology, and I really wanted to do that for them. So I built this world and did all this, but it’s a heavy thing to dish out to people so I think having it be over that fun, upbeat melody is like a really wonderful way to deliver the medicine with some sugar, you know what I mean? So, I think it’s going over well and I’ve been getting a really good response to it.
CH: It’s a fantastic song, and I know you’re in the middle of working on your next album, so what can we expect from your album and when can we expect it?
Cam: Yeah, probably next year. So it’ll be 2018 and it’s a great evolution from the last one obviously the last one on Sony is what kickstarted it all. It’s got a 70s, throwback-y vibe, with a lot of great lyrics and so the vocals get to be the centerpiece on it, which is amazing. It’s a great fit between throwback and modern. I’m really proud of it and how I’ve grown over the past couple of years. And working so much on the road and with great writers, I feel like it got so much better. You know the first time around, you’re like a nobody, so it’s cool when you grow with the band and your group of collaborators – it gets you closer to the idea in your head of what you want to make.
CH: Speaking of collaborations, you had mentioned that with ‘Burning House’ that you kind of collaborated with a dream you had, right?
Cam: Yeah, I did. I was going to see my ex at a party and I wanted to apologize because I hadn’t yet. And I kind of when to bed planning out my apologize and I guess it bled into my dream because I dreamt there was this house on fire and emergency crews were all around saying, ‘Don’t go in there! The house is about to come down’ and that he was in there but I couldn’t get him out. And so in my dream, I run into this house and find him but I can’t get him out, so I just held him and laid with him so he wouldn’t die alone.
CH: It was such a relatable song when it came out and I think a lot of people, including myself, related to it and I think that was part of its success, you know? That unless you’ve married your high school sweetheart, we’ve all been in that situation.
Cam: Yeah, and people would even say that it’s the same story for them – just something in your life that you can’t fix and you have to accept that. It’s a wonderful thing to be able to share with people too because it’s such a heavy thing to deal with in life and so I would see people after shows and just hug it out.
CH: Did any dreams help influence the upcoming album?
Cam: No, no dreams – just conversations and ideas. Like my husband helped inspire one song, which, we got married over in Pioneertown, like up the road from Pappy and Harriett’s – like two doors down. We’re newlyweds and that was like a year ago and we were sitting across the table one night and I was like, ‘What made you pick me? How did you know I was the one?’ and he said, ‘Because it was like a movie’. And so I wrote a song with the girls who did ‘Girl Crush’ and we wrote a song called ‘Like a Movie’.
— Cam (@camcountry) November 17, 2017
CH: So you got married in Pioneertown? Wow! So this December 7th show isn’t just any show at Pappy and Harriett’s – you’re coming back to a special place!
Cam: Yes, we love Pappy & Harriett’s! Yup! We got married up the road and we did our rehearsal dinner a couple doors down. So we’re going to go back there, like, on purpose.
CH: How awesome is that! So, tickets are still on sale for that and people should definitely get them while they can. A lot of people out here got to see you at Stagecoach when you played in April.
Cam: Yessss, I loved Stagecoach!
CH: Had you attended before you played it?
Cam: I had never had the chance to go and I always wanted to. This year, I kinda had a mini experience. We didn’t just play – we stayed there all weekend and set up this vintage trailer camp and we hung out with other couples and there was an authentic teepee. It was so cool and though it wasn’t quite the same as camping and hanging out and doing the whole RV thing, it was the closest I got to the same experience. And they are SO great at Stagecoach, like I play festivals all over the country, and I’m so proud that the California one is so well put together and it’s just such a fun experience for everybody. So, yeah, I love Stagecoach.
CH: And people can see you on your appropriately named “Best Coast Tour”. How can people find out where you’ll be?
Cam: Yes, I’ll be in Vancouver, Seattle, Portland, down to Joshua Tree, Bakersfield, San Diego – and if people go to CamCountry.com they can buy tickets there and check out the dates.
CH: Alright Cam, final question – Who’s on your playlist? What are some of your musical guilty pleasures that you’re jamming out to when you’re not listening to your own music?
Cam: Oooo, well I’m obsessed with the Sam Smith album. I did write a song with him for that album so it’s kind of me, but I’m mostly obsessed with him and his whole album. I’ve been listening to it nonstop. And I love the new St. Vincent album – I think it’s so dope.
CH: Nice! Yes, Sam Smith is amazing and I’ll have to check out the rest. Cam, we can’t wait to see you back out here in Southern California, especially in Pioneertown at Pappy & Harriett’s because it’s such an intimate venue. Thank you so much for taking time to sit down with us today! And we can’t wait to see you!
Cam: Yeah, for sure! Thanks for chatting! See you all at the show on December 7th!