North Carolina native Kameron Marlowe is setting himself up for a breakout year in 2021 thanks to the success of his singles ‘Giving You Up’ and ‘Burn ‘Em All’.
With the release of his self-titled EP today, his first for new label home Sony Music Nashville, Marlowe is looking set to see his popularity soar. A varied collection (read our review), the EP shows what he’s capable of as a vocalist and a lyricist.
I caught up with Kameron earlier this week to talk about the EP, discuss his time on ‘The Voice’ and to find out about his journey so far…
Your self-titled EP is released this week. Tell me a little bit about how you brought it all together…
This is my journey moving from Kannapolis, North Carolina, to Nashville, Tennessee. All these songs are songs that I’ve written or heard before I moved to town or as I was moving into town and before I got my record deal. It’s just my journey, EP, I guess. That’s why it’s self titled. It’s basically just, ‘here I am’ (laughs).
There’s a lot of variety on the EP. The two singles – ‘Giving You Up’ and ‘Burn ‘Em All’ – are the more commercial leaning of the tracks and they’ve amassed millions of streams. How do you feel about the reaction they’ve received?
Oh, I’m blessed to say the least man. I couldn’t be more thankful for everybody that’s listening to them. I never would have thought it was possible. I was selling car parts in Kannapolis, North Carolina (laughs) so I didn’t have any hope of being a musician. I put ‘Giving You Up Out’ and I didn’t really know what it was going to do. I just wanted to have a song out really, it was just a goal of mine. When it came out and people started really listening to it, and it got on the Spotify, Apple and Amazon playlists, and all these other platforms, it’s just been a whirlwind man. I’m blessed to say the least.
It blows my mind to hear someone like you with a voice like that say you thought music might not be for you. You have such a rich, traditional Country voice. How could you not have expectations?
Man I don’t know. There’s a lot of great people out here man. It’s very humbling being in Nashville. I just never thought it was for me. I didn’t think it was really possible. I’ve never heard of anybody from Kannapolis, North Carolina doing anything like this (laughs) so I I guess I just let it fly under the radar for me. Then I did ‘The Voice’ and that’s when it switched for me, and that’s when I knew that music is exactly what I wanted to do.
We have ‘The Voice’ here in the UK but it’s nothing like the juggernaut it is in the US. What was that experience like and how did it help to shape your artistry?
I don’t think it really helped my artistry. It was more for just my vocals. When I moved into Nashville, that’s when I started to really find who I was as an artist. I was writing more, I was learning a whole lot and it’s shaped me to be who I am, or exemplify where I’ve come from. I’ve been learning the Nashville way and learning myself along the way as well.
This EP is a mixture of songs you’ve either written or co-written along with a couple of outside cuts. You clearly have a gift for songwriting so what made you choose to include outside cuts?
For me, an outside song has to really touch me and it has to really resemble who I am in my thoughts. When I first heard ‘Goin’ There Today’ and ‘Sober As A Drunk’, both of those are outside cuts, they both grabbed me. ‘Goin’ There Today’ especially, when I heard that song it was exactly how I was feeling at the time. That was right after ‘Giving You Up’ and I had just went through a breakup. I was like, ‘that is a song I think people need to hear’, because I’ve been there. I really think the best song always wins in this town, or should. There’s so many great artists and there’s so many great writers in this town that their music doesn’t get heard, just because it sits in a publishing catalog. When I heard those songs, I gravitated towards them and I knew that those were the songs for me.
After listening to this EP on repeat before this interview, I really do feel that the closing track ‘Leavin’ To Me’ is your secret weapon…
I think that song could be huge for you. It’s just so different to the other five songs on here and you really get a sense of what you can do vocally. Tell me a little bit about writing that track…
That was one of the very first songs I wrote coming into Nashville. I wrote that with a guy named Kyle James. I didn’t know him. We met (when) I was playing a gig at a bar called ‘Ole Red’ down here in town and he was like, ‘hey man, we should write sometime’ and I was like, ‘yeah’. I was looking for anybody and everybody to write with, I just wanted to learn. We sat down and he came over to the house. We had some coffee and sat out back and talked about what we what we wanted to write that day. He brought that idea of ‘Leavin’ To Me’ and I had no idea what he meant. He was like, ‘don’t leave the leavin’ to me’. I was like, ‘oh, so it’s like a breakup but you want her to leave instead of you having to pull the plug’ and he was like, ‘yeah, exactly’. I was like, ‘well, what does that mean?’ and he was like, ‘well, I think that she cheated on him’. We had to create this whole story and this whole moment out of the song, and we wanted to make it as real as possible. I’m pretty sure we used one of his friend’s situations to base it off of (laughs). We sat and wrote that song in probably two hours, and it’s probably one of my favorites on the record.
That song grabbed me instantly and it’s one of those songs that only comes around once in a while. It’s really special. You must be excited fro your fans to hear that track and to get the whole EP out there?
Oh, man (laughs) it’s a dream come true to say the least. Like I said, I never thought that music was going to be possible and I never thought that I would be doing this so to be able to have my first EP released under Sony Nashville… it’s mind blowing man. It really is. I’m just blessed.
Everything seems to be falling into place for you. How has the pandemic affected the release of the EP?
For me, COVID has been a damper but I’ve used COVID to really hone in on my writing. Right now, I’d probably be out on the road a whole lot more than I’ve been able to do this year so this year, I’ve been focusing in on writing and writing as much as I possibly can. I’ve written over 100 songs this year. It was really just a way for me to build up my songs and build up the ones that I love. I was able to do that and I was able to focus on the new music that I’ve been taking to the studio, and really start honing in on what I want those tracks to sound like with my producer. It’s been a blessing in disguise, but it’s also a damper as well.
That’s great to hear because it’s been such a tough time for everyone. Are you hoping to hit the road as soon as you can next year?
I hope so, man. I’m very, very optimistic of what’s going to happen next year. I hope that everything opens back up here in America and I’m just ready for touring to start back. Being on stage is what I live for. We’re gonna see.
I hope you can get to the UK because I know you’ll go down an absolute storm here. You’re definitely in the sweet spot of what we love over here…
I love that man. I would love to go to the UK. That’s actually a dream of mine. Hopefully we can make that happen.
I can hear lots of different influences in your music. Who were the artists that shaped you growing up?
My influences are all over the place. I grew up listening to 90s country with my pops and my grandpa was very 70s and 60s country, so that traditional Merle Haggard and Waylon Jennings and all those guys. When I grew up I was listening to Ray Charles and Stevie Ray Vaughan and BB King, because I love the Blues. I’m a little all over the place. I love rock music as well. It’s just kind of a mixture of everything that I’ve listened to over my lifetime coming together.
Christmas is just around the corner. What your plans this year?
I’m actually going back to North Carolina. I’m gonna spend some time with my family. I haven’t seen them in months. I’ve just been up here in Tennessee grinding so being able to go home back to North Carolina and have a home cooked meal from my grandma, that’s gonna be good man. I’m looking forward to it.
Kameron Marlowe’s self-titled EP is available to download and stream now. Watch the music video for ‘Burn ‘Em All’ below: