I still crave Nashville. Since the high of meeting country music artists and seeing their excitement for me to tell their story, I realized this is what I am called to do. Just as the artists are called to write, sing and perform, they all have a story on how they made their calling a reality. Life can seem like a dream come true, but it often takes hard work and courage to make your dream happen. When I got back from Nashville last January, I had a phone interview with Camille Rae. I hung onto her every word while she took the time to tell me how she finally got the courage to go after her life dream and move to Music City. It wasn’t easy for her to hear people in her life saying she was crazy, or to move back from another country after pursuing other careers and leaving a relationship. Camille Rae is a bold and courageous woman making country music for the female powerhouse in us all. Read on to hear more on her musical inspiration, songwriting process and big changes for 2018…
Q. Take me back to the beginning of your career, tell me how you found your love and talent for music and decided to make it a career aspiration?
A. “I started singing when I was three and since then I’ve wanted to do this for a living. I started singing in church with my Aunt. I did talent shows and joined choir growing up. I went on to get a music education degree in college then taught school for a few years. The performance aspect has always been a part of my life. It’s always been a goal, a dream I’ve been working towards. I’ve been a full-time artist for about six years and I’ve been in Nashville four years.”
Q. How did you make the decision to move to Nashville?
A. “I’ve always wanted to move to Nashville, I thought I would get there right after college but I got a job instead and then I got married and moved to Canada with my ex-husband. I tried musical theater, but it didn’t work out. About three years after living in Canada I told my ex-husband I wanted to move to Nashville. This has been my dream since I was a little girl and it’s my turn to go after my dreams after supporting him through his. I had no plan when I moved to Nashville and I started doing open mics. I had to be brave and make a bold decision and think about myself first for once.”
Q. Who’s your biggest musical influence?
A. “I love singing everything; I trained in college to sing opera and classical music. I was brought up in Kentucky where there is bluegrass influence. My biggest influences were the female powerhouses of the 90’s like Reba McEntire, Martina McBride, Faith Hill and Jo Dee Messina. All those classic voices, when you hear a song on the radio you know who they are.”
Q. How would you describe your musical style?
A. “My music goes back to that 90’s early 2000’s sound with the vocal production. Then mixing in the new age production with different loops and instrumentation that fit into the contemporary country pop you hear. I don’t like my style to be put into a box. It’s 90’s powerhouse country meets new age country, it gives you nostalgia then pushes forward into what’s new.”
Q. What was the inspiration for your latest project? What does it mean to you?
“My music is driven to stir those emotions to move past whatever you are going through.” – Camille Rae
A. “My recent album is Come Find Me. It is fifteen songs that mostly focus on a relationship I went through where you really love someone and care for them, but they are not in the same place you are. They’re not ready to be as emotionally committed as you are. It takes a toll because you try and you want to be that person who turns it around and changes their mind. Sometimes it’s not in the cards, or it’s not you. It’s something they are going through. This album is a story from start to finish of the emotions and situations I dealt with throughout that relationship. I like to write songs that talk about something deeper, something we may not talk about and keep to ourselves. Things we need to have a good cry about or be mad about. Music is very powerful and magical in a way that it can communicate to so many different people in different situations. My music is driven to stir those emotions to move past whatever you are going through.”
Q. What do you enjoy or look forward to most about writing, recording or performing music? Tell me more about the process.
A. “When I write by myself, I usually have a great idea or an experience I’ve dealt with or a person close to me has dealt with. Every time I write a song myself, I go from start to finish and write it in about ten minutes. I look back on the song and think, how did I do that? It’s almost like something comes over me, this needs to be said and put out there. When I collaborate with other writers, it’s all about finding the right people you mesh well with and feel like you’re equally contributing. Piecing ideas together, maybe someone has a good hook and someone has a good chorus and figuring out how all the ideas can be put together into a song; to make it marketable, for radio and keeping it modern.”
“I like to write songs that talk about something deeper, something we may not talk about and keep to ourselves.” – Camille Rae
“As a songwriter, there’s a format different artists are looking for. Once I write a song, I don’t always choose it for me, but when I do and take it into the studio, it’s about figuring out what style you want and what instrumentation to use. There are so many studios in Nashville and they’ll have hired professional musicians and you can get a package deal. You get a six-piece band for a price; they can help you produce to figure out the sound you want. So far I’ve produced my own vocals, so I go in and do the lead vocal, then go back in and do background vocals since I’ve been trained to do that. On my first album a lot of my songs were an acoustic version. To have another set of ears and eyes come in to see how big we can make this, can transform a song. To see the musicianship and see them enjoy making something bigger. The studio is one of my favorite places to be. It’s all about creativity and communication.”
“I have a group of guys (musicians) I tour with regularly, but with studio musicians it’s almost two different worlds. You have musicians that are really good live; they have great showmanship, like being on the road and can change it up whenever they need to. Then you have your studio musicians that could probably do the live aspect of it, but they are more polished and go by criteria. They can get things recorded a lot faster, so when I do my studio work I usually go with the musicians they recommend or have on staff at the studio.”
“I can look back on my life and say I wish I had taken more risks or been bolder, but the one thing we do know is we have one life to live.” – Camille Rae
Q. What is a memorable experience for you in your music career and how has it impacted you?
A. “I went on a tour out west, Colorado and Wyoming that was fun getting to see that part of the country and were great shows. Then I had my first CMA performance last year with an artist pass and I got to sign autographs. Then my last single, ‘I Need Me’, talks about being brave and taking care of yourself, made it to 26 on music row charts.”
Q. What advice would you give to someone who may have a dream in music, but is struggling with taking the steps to make it a reality?
A. “I can look back on my life and say I wish I had taken more risks or been bolder, but the one thing we do know is we have one life to live. If you know you’re meant to do something or you have a passion for something and you have the ability and drive to do it, then why not? There’s always going to be people that will doubt or think you’re crazy. I quit my teaching job to move to Canada when I got married and people thought I was crazy. I’m a practically minded person, I like to have plan, but I’ve always known since I was a little girl that I’m supposed to do something bigger with my life. I have this gift of singing and writing and being able to easily communicate or connect with people on a personal level. I have to use the gifts I’ve been given to help people. As I get older and have been doing this for a long time, some days I think I should give it up. Then I remember this is what I’m supposed to do and timing is everything and it’s not always in my timing.”
“So my advice is if you know you are meant to do something with your life then you need to take care of yourself or you will be 80 years old and wake up and wonder where did your life go? Why didn’t I do that when I was 25 years old? If you take the risk, you may loose some people along the way, but you’ll know you tried. The people who really love you will support you and stick by you.”
Q. Can you tell me some of your exciting plans for 2018?
A. “I’m doing a lot of changes, with a new team, but do plan to work on new music to release. I need to make some changes professionally to make a new beginning in 2018. I’m focusing on girl power and moving forward seizing every opportunity.”
To follow Camille Rae’s music and tour schedule visit https://www.camillerae.com and visit her social media:
Photo Credit to Camille Rae Facebook