Since she burst onto the scene back in 2015 with the stunning ‘Burning House’, Cam has been a darling of the UK country scene, with audiences falling in love with her gorgeous tone and heartfelt lyrics.
As well as releasing two major label albums – most recently 2020’s ‘The Otherside’ – she’s toured extensively here, performing at venues including Shepherd’s Bush Empire and Islington Assembly Hall, and has worked with artists including Train, Diplo, Sam Smith, Wrabel and Harry Styles.
Ahead of her recent set at BST Hyde Park, I sat down with Cam to talk about her love for UK audiences, working on new music and her plans for 2022 – which might include a return visit here…
Welcome back to the UK!
How have you been finding it? As I know you’ve been over here for a little while…
Yeah, it’s been great. We got to do the festival in Kent [Black Deer] and I had some time by myself which I never do, without a baby. So I walked around a lot. London’s great for walking. I got to explore it and had a little moment. I love being here so it’s kind of nice. It’s very grounding.
How do you find playing at festivals compared to other shows?
I mean, it’s a mixed group of people, so you kind of never know what flavour you’re gonna get. Whereas if it’s my show I know we have a relationship, me and my fans, we kind of know what we’re doing together. And this is always like, “OK, well, we’ll find out how it goes!” [laughs] It’s fun though. It’s always exciting. People who come to festivals, it’s a commitment in a fun way, so they’re ready to have a good time. We actually went in the audience and saw Elton John’s set [the other night], so it was fun to be on the other end of it.
You’ve also got a tour coming up in the US this summer after these UK shows. How are you finding being back on the road after so long away?
Yeah, you know, it’s harder to find a rhythm. And I can’t tell if that’s motherhood or post-pandemic, it’s a little bit wild. But I think we’re trying to just… I’m keeping a mantra of ‘stay flexible’. Things are gonna come at you and shift and nothing’s quite as straightforward as it used to be. So I think if you’re just ready to roll with it [laughs] then you can kind of go as you go.
How did you find the experience of making music and performing online in the pandemic? And is there anything from that you’ll apply to these shows?
Yeah. I mean, performing online is pretty rough, I’m not gonna lie. The sound stuff is not as good. But I think that for me, I got to do a lot of writing during this time, and after about five mental breakdowns then I got into some writing. And I felt really free about it. And I think also having a kid, you can’t spend all your mental energy just worrying about random stuff – either the kid or something really important. So it sort of cleared my mind a little bit, and so I think the writing that’s coming out of this now for the next album is really great.
And preparing for shows, and preparing for the tour I just take it so much more… not that I didn’t take it seriously before but everything feels more precious. Like the way you’re making the decisions and what kind of show you wanna put on, because – it’s so cheesy but we’re not really guaranteed tomorrow, so what kind of moment do you wanna create with everyone? So that feels like it resonates a little bit more right now.
It’s been 18 months since ‘The Otherside’ came out…
Yeah, something like that, yeah.
And I know you had some songs on there with various versions that were around for a while before that. So how do you feel your writing’s evolved over that time?
I would say I was lucky enough to do some writing – I think the really big key to unlock is that I started writing for a couple of other people. I do that sometimes, I just happened to be in the room and it works out. So it took a lot of pressure off whatever was coming next for me. It was just like, “oh, whatever comes out”. And then I started to feel like, “I could make music like this too” [laughs]. I’ve always had an introspective streak, and talking about things and processing them and questions. I’d say it’s really sitting in that space right now for what’s coming up next.
I also saw the clip of you with Jay Leno talking about ‘Make Tomorrow Come Today’ – can you tell us about that?
Yeah, again I try not to agree to things unless I’m really excited about them, and it was a really special thing that they were doing on PBS where this show highlights people that are doing amazing things that maybe you don’t know about. And I think that’s something that I’ve learned over the last few years – everybody’s got a hot take on what’s going on and how it’s a problem and there’s a lot of emotions coming out, but you don’t actually find that many people that take that next step and connect it with something and do it.
And meeting Meredith, who was the woman who this whole episode was about, my faith in humanity was restored. Because headlines are bleak, the world… I mean, there’s a lot of great things and a lot of bad things. And how do you keep moving forward at times like that? And then you meet someone like Meredith who’s like, “I’m just putting one foot in front of the other and I’m making tomorrow. I know there’s a better future ahead and I’m making it happen now”. Because we don’t just arrive at a better future. Someone has to be cooking it up. And she’s the one who’s like, “I’m in the kitchen, I’m doing the work.” Meeting people like that is so inspiring and so necessary to keep hope alive.
I also wanted to ask you about the song you did with Wrabel recently. How did that come about and what was that experience like?
Yeah. I just put two and two together, that was ‘London’! [laughs] That’s so funny. He just reached out. And I’ve always loved the music and it was very flattering. He’s such a great writer and such a beautiful voice. And it’s kind of fun to be asked, because I mostly write everything that I do, so it’s kind of fun to just sing on something. And our voices sounded so calming together.
He is a hoot. If you ever see him live, he is so funny. Like his songs can be so sad and then he sits there and has a comedy hour. It’s hilarious. So he’s a good egg. It was fun to do that with him. Yeah, I kind of just do whatever sounds nice, you know?
You’ve got to work with so many people over your career – is there anyone left on the list that you’d still love to work with at some point?
I mean, honestly, there’s been a lot of people. Like Smokey Robinson was wild, and Eric Church. But I’ve always been obsessed with Alison Krauss and I’ve never met her, and I’m really hoping I get to meet her today. And the Eagles is just gonna blow my mind. Like I can’t. And honestly, seeing Elton John sing ‘Candle In The Wind’ – get out of here. There’s always people I’d like to meet.
What I love about country music is no-one takes it too serious. It’s wonderful to meet someone but there doesn’t have to be this wild ‘you’re not a human being any more’. It’s just ‘oh, good on ya, you’ve done some amazing things that have shaped all of us’. So I kind of like staying in that culture and that vibe.
Are there any songs you’re really enjoying playing live at the moment?
Yeah, I mean I always enjoy playing ‘Diane’ and ‘Burning House’. And then I really love playing ‘What Goodbye Means’. No, it’s so fun to play all the new music still, like ‘Til There’s Nothing Left’. We’re also doing some covers – I do a Patti Smith song, ‘Because The Night’. I f***ing love that song. So that’s gonna be epic. So it’s been fun, feeling things out and having this acoustic-driven [thing]. I have this trio today, a Swedish trio, which is great.
What does the rest of this year look like for you?
I mean, do any of us know? [laughs] I don’t know. Yeah, I’ve got the tour and I’m hoping that I’m getting to a spot where we can start teasing new music and getting into that space. But probably the first thing is this tour, trying to wrap up this new music, and then trying to get back to do a European tour and probably Australia is like, 100 per cent the thing. And I’m wondering if I can get new music – that’s the dream, banging down the label door. Get that out and then come with new music. It’s the dream, but I still wanna come as fast as possible, so we’ll see.
I was going to ask if you were planning to come back to the UK but I think that’s answered my question…
Oh yeah. Absolutely. The fans here, we just have a special kind of relationship. I don’t know what it is. We’re cut from the same cloth or something. We all seem to just get each other. So it’s one of the most special things to perform here.
You’ve mentioned the new music – can you give us any hints about what it’s going to be like?
Oh, I can’t. It’s too early. I’m sure my manager will be like, “don’t talk about it!”. But it’s very me. I feel like I’m getting more and more concentrated, whatever it is I am. It’s just so me. I can’t wait. I hope you’re gonna really like it.
I’m sure we will!
Cam’s latest album ‘The Otherside’ is out now on RCA/Triple Tigers.