On the brink of releasing her Second album, Cam discusses her versatility as a Songwriter!
These days, within every genre there are blurred lines, it’s hard to put an artist into a particular box - they are Country, they are Rock. More often than not artists and writers are finding ways of crossing over into the Pop side of their chosen genre. However there is no one who likes to bend genres and experiment quite as much as Cam! Her brand new album The Otherside comes out this Friday (30th October) and is a testament to her flexibility as a songwriter. Talking to me about this just a couple of weeks ago she remarked “All the different influences growing up influenced my writing, my Mum loved Joni Mitchell and Cat Stevens, she also loved Tom Jones and my Dad was more sixties and seventies Rock and The Beatles. My Grandparents were into old Country records, I was also in choirs when I was younger and we sang in 14 different languages so I have a bizarre jumble going on of what I think music means.”
Within the first three tracks we see 3 different dimensions to Cam. Opening with Redwood Tree, holding a lot of the elements of her previous Country releases, Redwood Tree is Cam’s go to song to get little Lucy, her gorgeous daughter who was born almost a year ago now, to sleep. Then Cam transports us to a whole new genre with the title track The Otherside which Cam co-wrote with Hillary Lindsey - a household name within the Country community, Tyler Johnson and the late great Tim Bergling more commonly known as Avicii. In a recent Press Showcase carried out via Zoom, Cam spoke of how important this song was to her, how important it was to honour Avicii’s memory and do his family and fans proud. Well I certainly think she’s achieved this, it sounds like an instant crossover hit if it was to be released as a single and her vocals also demonstrate a versatility that few can achieve. “When I make an album I try to cover all the different colours.”
On the third track we leave the dance groove of The Otherside and come a little closer to Pop with the single Classic which would not feel out of place on one of Taylor Swift’s latest records. This might be explained by Cam’s collaborator, Jack Antonoff who has worked with Taylor for a number of years now. Cam took off to Jack’s studio in New York to write this and it’s a fun, feel good number that again shows off Cam’s unique vocal style and techniques. “I thought the record was done, and then because of life and things, I was given the unfortunate gift a couple of times of more time! Getting in the room with him made me realise why so many people want to work with him, he makes you feel so comfortable which is a big deal when you’re trying to get something out of an artist! It’s a bouncy number, reminds me of Simon and Garfunkel’s Cecilia.” The music video reflects the positive vibes of the song but Cam says it wasn’t easy filming it in the height of a pandemic! “It was insane, the safety precautions you have to take are changing every day so it was tricky!”
The fourth track, Forgetting You has garnered lots of positive reviews over the past year or so from fans of the 35 year old songstress. Here in the UK she performed it at Country 2 Country when she was last over. I remember it well, the melody of that chorus must be one of the best ever written, after hearing it once I was humming it for weeks afterwards! Co-written by Cam, Lori McKenna, Tyler Johnson and Mitchell Rowland, the song in 6/8 time is a stand out on the album and takes us back to the Country sound that propelled Cam to fame as an artist. Lyrically it’s cleverly written and the alliteration in the chorus coupled with that melody makes it an instant ear worm. We stick to the acoustic, country sound with Like a Movie, another Lori McKenna co-write with credits for her fellow love junkies too, Hillary Lindsey and Liz Rose. Lyrically it’s a dominant song on the album and I love the addition of the Orchestra.
Speaking to the press Cam, who has written songs for the likes of Sam Smith and Miley Cyrus, said she very rarely releases songs that she hasn’t had a hand in writing. If she does, she has to make a real connection to the song and be able to trust it’s writers. On this record there are two songs which Cam hasn’t been involved in writing, the first is Changes, written by Harry Styles, Lori McKenna, Tom Hull and Tyler Johnson and you can hear Harry’s whistling in the latter stages of the song. I think this album also showcases the versatility of some songwriters I deemed to be incredible in just one genre. The likes of Lori McKenna who is potentially the most respected songwriter within Country has shown how she can apply herself to a range of genres too! Till There’s Nothing Left was one of the first songs I heard off this album as it was released as a single a few months back now. Back then it was a surprise, a departure from what I had gotten used to with Cam, now it fits in perfectly with this album and what I have come to love about Cam.
What Goodbye Means has some gorgeous pedal steel in the production taking us back to the Country genre. Then we go on to the foot stomping anthem which is Diane, another that has been around for a while, a favourite amongst uK Country fans and a song I play a lot on my radio shows. Written as a response song to Dolly Parton’s Jolene, Diane shines a light on everything great about the Country genre whilst also putting a spotlight on Cam’s powerful vocals. The second track Cam wasn’t involved in writing was Happier For You written by Sam Smith, Mitchell Rowland and Tyler Johnson and it again takes the album to a different place, the production and arrangement of this song is really interesting from the Organ to the Backing Vocals, it’s constructed very well. The album concludes with Girl Like Me, a stripped back piano ballad written by Cam and Natalie Hemby. It’s a thought provoking number that speaks more within these trying times. It’s a lovely way to finish this eclectic collection of songs.
Speaking of this album’s eclectic nature and her influences Cam remarked “Its very rare that I like a whole album, and even rarer that I’ll like multiple albums from an artist” well Cam we like every song on this record, songs we would usually shy away from that take us out of our Country comfort zone are opening our eyes and ears to whole new Worlds and in this troubled World, that’s exactly what we need. It’s a bold album, five years in the making but boy was it worth the wait! “I think of this album as kind of like the medicine in Mary Poppins where you pour it out and it’s different for each one of the kids, hopefully there’s something different for everyone and they can take something away from it.” You can watch our full interview with Cam below and make sure to pre-order or pre-save the record which comes out this Friday the 30th October! Click on the song names above to view the full credits.