This week on the Pitch List Podcast, country singer/songwriter Cam joins host Chris Lindsey for a special International Women’s Day episode. The two chat about women’s places in the industry, Cam’s newest album The Otherside and her thoughts on country music today.
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As the best-selling female solo act in the past five years, for her hit “Burning House,” Cam knows a thing or two about writing music and writing it well. She shares that for that song in particular, the theme of it actually came to her in a dream about an ex and grew from there.
“I dreamt that he was stuck in this house,” Cam shares. “It was on fire, and I couldn’t get him out. And instead of leaving and saving myself, I lay down next to him and hold him so he doesn’t have to die alone.”
Despite having a heavy theme, Cam has never been one to shy away from vulnerable songwriting. Nevertheless, there was a learning curve for her. She explains that at the beginning of her career she had to learn how to stand her ground and know her worth in order to grow as an artist.
“When you’re worth nothing, people don’t want to pay you anything,” she continues. “And I was like, ‘No, I know what I’m worth.’ The hardest thing in my career was that first ‘no.’ It is amazing once you have the balls to say ‘no,’ oh my God, the world that opens up to you is unreal.”
For her, this world has encompassed a lot of success, despite being a female in a male dominated industry. A lot of her success can be attributed to her personal philosophy about great music, which is that the best talent should always rise to the top no matter who they are.
“People say, ‘So you want fifty-fifty of everything?’ And personally, no, I just want to make sure that you listened as a publisher,” Cam says. “When the songs came in, you got to listen to songs by all the people so we know we really got the best.”
In the same way, Cam explains, that to organically achieve that 50/50 there is a certain level of discomfort the industry will have to endure in questioning their own motives and mindsets.
“Hopefully we all start taking on the responsibility. Everybody. So that we can make this better, because we’re going to need so many solutions at so many different levels that everyone just needs to start ingesting it,” she says. Not only would this better society on a macro level but the country music industry as well, both being the ultimate goal.
“All of us care about this. We want country music to be a thriving industry, and an art form that people respect and care about. And that doesn’t just happen, because everyone keeps going with the flow,” she continues. “That happens, because we all say, ‘We want this to be good.’ And that deserves and requires uncomfortable conversations all the time.”
In her own writing, Cam embraced these uncomfortable conversations a long time ago in order to turn them into relatable and approachable music about the human experience. For her record The Otherside, which sheds light on the complicated experiences women endure, Cam explains that she was very “intentional and slow” about the whole process and praises country music for it’s freeing format.
“There’s a song craft that you don’t see other places. It’s just not the same, you know? People aren’t writing these kinds of stories and the kinds of emotion to me,” Cam says. “Obviously, I’m in this genre, so I love it, but I don’t see these kinds of stories and this kind of vulnerability and this turn of phrase that can happen in other genres. People want that.”
For the rest of the conversation and an exclusive performance of her song “Forgetting You” off of her new album, check out the Pitch List Podcast YouTube page.